The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 10, 2008 - History - 592 pages
8 Reviews
The California Gold Rush inspired a new American dream—the “dream of instant wealth, won by audacity and good luck.” The discovery of gold on the American River in 1848 triggered the most astonishing mass movement of peoples since the Crusades. It drew fortune-seekers from the ends of the earth, accelerated America’s imperial expansion, and exacerbated the tensions that exploded in the Civil War. 

H.W. Brands tells his epic story from multiple perspectives: of adventurers John and Jessie Fremont, entrepreneur Leland Stanford, and the wry observer Samuel Clemens—side by side with prospectors, soldiers, and scoundrels. He imparts a visceral sense of the distances they traveled, the suffering they endured, and the fortunes they made and lost. Impressive in its scholarship and overflowing with life, The Age of Gold is history in the grand traditions of Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - SeriousGrace - LibraryThing

Age of Gold takes a thorough look at a slice of American history. Beginning in 1848 Brands introduces the reader to people from all walks of life, uncovering every story from land and sea across ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

I read the author's The Restless Decade on 7 Sept 2003 with real appreciation and so when given this book quickly decided to read it. It was published in 2002 and tells the story of the Gold Rushand ... Read full review


The Baron and the Carpenter
In the Footsteps of Father Serra
Across the Pacific
The Peaks of Darien
To the Bottom of the World and Back
To See the Elephant
Where Rivers
With a Washhowl on My Knee

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

H. W. BRANDS holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and Traitor to His Class.

Bibliographic information