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After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley Paperback – May 19, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (May 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801892570
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801892578
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,050,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I was delighted, even slightly overwhelmed, by the extraordinary scholarship and elegant writing of this book. Because Vaught writes so well, his study reads like a novel in its rich detail and narrative pace. It offers us a unique insight into the environmental history of the Sacramento Valley, banking and credit in California in the mid-nineteenth century, the entrepreneurial spirit of the times, community on the California frontier, the legal culture of the times, and a number of other important topics. It will appeal to scholars of American history, of American social and agricultural history, of the newly developing field of American business history, and Californianists of every sort.

(Kevin Starr, University of Southern California, author of California: A History)

Tells a powerful story that merits greater attention.

(Abraham Hoffman Journal of the West)

In this work on California's agricultural history, Vaught also provides a social history of the development of the Putah Creek region in the wake of the California gold rush... Libraries with collections forcusing on California, the Pacific slope, the western US, and agricultural history will want this book.

(Choice)

An excellent history of farming in the Sacramento Valley in the late nineteenth century.

(Ralph Mann California History)

Vaught tells a riveting story of two generations of farmers who 'committed themselves not only to the market but to community life as well.' He argues that these twin commitments, born of their failures in the gold fields, were an essential part of the culture of American capitalism that emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century.

(Ryan J. Carey Business History Review)

A rich account of a rural world that has been overlooked by historians, and it is an important addition to recent work on rural life that has, to date, focused exclusively on the Midwest... very accessible to general and specialist readers alike.

(Jeff Bremer Southern California Quarterly)

Useful for those seeking to understand the relationship between California's gold rush and its agricultural communities.

(Eric Steiger Western Historical Quarterly)

Vaught set himself the goal of writing a 'new' rural history of California, examining the state's wheat farmers in their social and cultural contexts. In After the Gold Rush, he achieves his goal admirably.

(James J. Rawls Journal of American History)

An agricultural history that weaves together an unpredictable creek, a fluctuating market, and the perseverance of the American Dream.

(Melody M. Miyamoto Journal of Interdisciplinary History)

Ambitious, richly detailed.

(Gerald Ronning Enterprise and Society)

A detailed and focused study that advances our understanding of nineteenth-century California rural history.

(Andrew C. Isenberg American Historical Review)

In providing such a rich story within a unique context, After the Gold Rush does for Putah Creek what John Mack Faragher did for Sugar Creek and similarly will stand as an insightful and model work for years to come.

(Labor History)

Vaught has written an informative and very readable narrative study.

(Ken Owens Agricultural History)

From the Back Cover

In After the Gold Rush, David Vaught examines the hard-luck miners-turned-farmers—the Pierces, Greenes, Montgomerys, Careys, and others—who after failing to hit pay dirt during California’s gold rush, struggled to make a living in wheat, livestock, and fruit along Putah Creek in the lower Sacramento Valley. They refused to admit a second failure, faced flood and drought, endured monumental disputes and confusion over land policy, and struggled to come to grips with the vagaries of local, national, and world markets.

Their dramatic story exposes the underside of the American dream and the haunting consequences of trying to strike it rich.

"An excellent history of farming in the Sacramento Valley in the late nineteenth century."— California History

"Vaught tells a riveting story of two generations of farmers who 'committed themselves not only to the market but to community life as well.' He argues that these twin commitments, born of their failures in the gold fields, were an essential part of the culture of American capitalism that emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century."— Business History Review

"A rich account of a rural world that has been overlooked by historians, and it is an important addition to recent work on rural life that has, to date, focused exclusively on the Midwest... very accessible to general and specialist readers alike."— Southern California Quarterly

"Vaught set himself the goal of writing a 'new' rural history of California, examining the state's wheat farmers in their social and cultural contexts. In After the Gold Rush, he achieves his goal admirably."— Journal of American History

"An agricultural history that weaves together an unpredictable creek, a fluctuating market, and the perseverance of the American Dream."— Journal of Interdisciplinary History


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Written by Professor of History David Vaught, After the Gold Rush: Tarnished Dreams in the Sacramento Valley is the true accounting of what happened to the gold rush miners and prospectors who turned to farming in Sacramento Valley to make a living, after the gold rush petered out. These ex-miners toiled to raise wheat, livestock, and fruit despite floods, drought, severe disputes over a vague land policy, and the fluctuations of the market for their crops. A scholarly accounting that is nonetheless thoroughly accessible to anyone curious about the fallout of the gold rush, and a highly recommended addition to California history shelves.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Surprisingly interesting economic history of early Yolo County settlers, exhaustively researched. A wealth of good stories about pioneers, interspersed at times with more legal detail than I might have liked.
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