A riveting true account of gold rush fever in mid-nineteenth-century America, rich with the thrilling exploits of daring fortune seekers and dangerous outlaws
America was never the same after January 24, 1848. It was on that day that a carpenter named James Marshall discovered a tiny nugget of gold while building a sawmill at Sutter’s Fort, just east of Sacramento, California. Marshall’s find ignited a fever the nation had never known before, drawing people from all over the country to the West Coast with high hopes of getting rich quick. Over the next six years, three hundred thousand prospectors raced to the California gold fields to make their fortunes, leaving their lands and families behind in order to chase a dream of easy wealth, but all too often encountering a reality of lawlessness, disease, cruelty, and death.
A former columnist for the New York Times, author Fred Rosen takes readers back to the seminal moment when the American dream exploded. Chock full of fascinating details, unforgettable characters, and shocking real-life events, the captivating true story of the California gold rush brings an era of unparalleled change to breathtaking life. Rosen’s enthralling history of the gold rush of 1848 demonstrates how this golden ideal was supplanted by a culture of selfishness and greed that endures in America to this very day.
“One of the most readable books ever written about the California gold rush and its direct effect on the growth of this nation and the American culture . . . As captivating as any good novel . . . A gold mine of interesting historical facts and human-interest stories.”
“A fast-moving, satisfying production of popular history.” —Booklist
“True to Rosen’s crime-writing roots, with chapters devoted to the lawlessness that pervaded the mining camps and lurid tales of notorious gold rush criminals.”
A former columnist for the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times, Fred Rosen is an award-winning author of true crime and history books, including Gold!, Did They Really Do It?, and Lobster Boy. He can frequently be seen on the Investigation Discovery network’s Evil Kin and Evil Twins TV series, where he is a regular on-air commentator.