Rush for Riches

Rush for Riches

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In this vivid account of the birth of modern California, J.S. Holliday frames the gold rush years within the larger story of the state's transformation from the quietude of a Mexican hinterland in the 1840s to the forefront of entrepreneurial capitalism by the 1890s. No other state, no nation experienced such an adolescence of freedom and success. By 1883 California was hailed as "America, only more so."

Holliday's boldly interpretive narrative has the authority and immediacy of an eyewitness account. This eminent historian recreates the masculine world of mining camps and rough cities, where both business and pleasure were conducted far from hometown eyes and conventional inhibitions. He follows gold mining's swift evolution from treasure hunt to vast industry; traces the prodigal plunder of California's virgin rivers and abundant forests; and describes improvised feats of engineering, breathtaking in their scope and execution.