The Age of Gold
The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream
Introduced by Kevin Starr
Utilising the stories of the men and women caught up in a period of extraordinary change, H. W. Brands has created an epic portrait of the Gold Rush, illustrated in this edition with rare contemporary photography.
On 24 January 1848, the carpenter James Marshall noticed some sparkling flecks in a dry riverbed at Coloma, California. Having discovered, to his excited disbelief, that the shining nuggets were malleable, but not breakable, he approached his colleagues and uttered four words which would go down in history: ‘I have found it’.
Marshall’s discovery of gold at Coloma on the American River, writes the distinguished historian H. W. Brands, was ‘one of those rare moments that divide human existence into before and after’. It triggered ‘the most astonishing mass movement of peoples since the Crusades’, as fortune-seekers from all over the world flocked to California; their journey ‘was the epic of the age, a saga of world history, an adventure on the largest scale’. The new state’s population boomed from 15,000 in 1848 to 250,000 four years later, while the Gold Rush inspired a new American dream: the ‘dream of instant wealth, won by audacity and good luck’.
The Age of Gold, writes the eminent historian Kevin Starr in his introduction, is ‘a sophisticated and rollicking book asking us to take another look at this pivotal event in the creation of American society, character, and personality.’ This edition features numerous contemporary photographs, many of them rarely seen.
‘Written by a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Age of Gold is the definitive account of an iconic moment in American, and world, history. Our great challenge was to illustrate the real life pioneers and their struggles, and we decided the only way to do that properly was by using original, contemporary photographs throughout. I think you’ll agree this is a wonderful story in a stunning new edition’
- James Rose, Editor
Bound in cloth blocked with a design by Raquel Leis Allion
Set in Miller
Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour and black & white plates
Printed map endpapers
9½˝ x 6¼˝