From Publishers Weekly
The California Gold Rush of 1848-1853 may have led prospectors more often to bankruptcy than to riches, but the lure of gold also provoked an explosion of settlement and economic growth that transformed what had been a sleepy Mexican province into one of the most dynamic and cosmopolitan states of a newly transcontinental Union. Walker (Pacific Destiny), drawing heavily on contemporary accounts, gives a panoramic account of this epic. He describes the gold fever that gripped the country, and the glitter and squalor of boomtown San Francisco and the mining camps. He crafts finely etched portraits of some of the tens of thousands of "Forty-niners" who braved the malarial jungles of Panama, the treacherous sea passage around Cape Horn, or the grueling trek across the Plains and Rockies to seek their fortunes in the gold fields. In California, Walker notes, the gold economy almost overwhelmed the real economy; prices soared and crops went unharvested as farmers left the land, workers left their trades and soldiers deserted their posts to go panning in mountain streams. But by1853, the romance was fading; corporate mining interests were pushing out the prospectors and bringing in industrial hoses capable of blasting away whole hillsides. It's a quintessential American story, and Walker's meticulous research and stylish storytelling bring it vividly to life.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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About the Author
Born in Illinois, the son of a career army sergeant, Dale L. Walker is a journalism graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso whose 20 books reflect his varied historical interests: military and Western history, 19th century "Golden Age" journalism, biography, and Jack London studies. Among his books are Januarius Macgahan: The Life and Times of an American War Correspondent; Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West; The Boys of '98; Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders; Bear Flag Rising: The Conquest of California; Pacific Destiny; and Eldorado: The California Gold Rush. He is a four-time winner of the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Owen Wister Award for life achievement in the history and literature of the American West, and many other awards, and is a member of the prestigious Texas Institute of Letters.
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Walker, who lives in El Paso, Texas, with his wife of 43 years, Alice McCord, has been involved in virtually every aspect of the book business. He has served as a university press director, newspaper book page editor, magazine editor, fiction editor for Forge Books, book columnist and reviewer, and has written historical books, magazine work, and fiction.