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

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 10, 2008 - History - 592 pages
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“I have found it.” These words, uttered by the man who first discovered gold on the American River in 1848, triggered the most astonishing mass movement of peoples since the Crusades. California’s gold drew fortune-seekers from the ends of the earth. It accelerated America’s imperial expansion and exacerbated the tensions that exploded in the Civil War. And, as H. W. Brands makes clear in this spellbinding book, the Gold Rush inspired a new American dream—the “dream of instant wealth, won by audacity and good luck.”
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.

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The age of gold: the California Gold Rush and the new American dream

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The California gold rush of 1849 revolutionized expectations. It gave material promise to the American Dream and made gold the lubricant of the world economy. Brands (history, Texas A&M), the ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

H. W. Brands is Distinguished Professor and Melbern G. Glasscock Chair of American History at Texas A&M University. He is the author of many books, among them The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and T.R.: The Last Romantic, a critically acclaimed biography of Theodore Roosevelt. He lives in Austin, Texas.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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