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Mud, Blood, and Gold: San Francisco in 1849 Hardcover – October 7, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1879367067 ISBN-10: 1879367068 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Heritage House; First Edition edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879367068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879367067
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At the beginning of 1848, the California village of Yerba Buena had less than 1,000 inhabitants and was technically still Mexican territory. On January 24, foreman James Marshall picked up some “glittering morsels” of gold from the nearby American River, and what was soon called our “national madness” quickly began. The gold rush transformed the nation, fueling the instantaneous growth of Yerba Buena, which quickly assumed the name of San Francisco; within several months, the population had mushroomed to approximately 25,000. Soon after, the so-called forty-niners poured into the gold fields from around the world, promoting even greater growth of the city. This is not a history of the gold rush itself; rather, Richards has written a concise and engrossing study of a year in the life of San Francisco, illustrating how it was shaped into a metropolis almost overnight. It is an exciting, often humorous, often sad story filled with colorful characters, boundless greed, and brilliant innovation. Some of the players, like William Tecumseh Sherman, would go on to greater fame; other, more obscure figures also played fundamental roles in a great human drama. This is a fine popular history. --Jay Freeman

About the Author

Rand Richards is a San Francisco-based historian, author, and lecturer. Two of his books are local bestsellers: Historic San Francisco: A Concise History and Guide and Historic Walks in San Francisco: 18 Trails Through the City's Past. He has lectured before many groups, including the California Historical Society, the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society, and the San Francisco History Association. The latter organization recently awarded him their Oscar Lewis Award for his contributions to knowledge of San Francisco history.

More About the Author

Rand Richards is an award-winning historian. The San Francisco-based author's first two books are local bestsellers: "Historic San Francisco: A Concise History and Guide" and "Historic Walks in San Francisco: 18 Trails Through the City's Past." His new book "Mud, Blood, and Gold: San Francisco in 1849," originally released in hardcover, has just come out in paperback.

Rand has lectured before many groups, including the California Historical Society, the San Francisco History Association, and the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. In November 2010 the latter organization gave him their Award of Merit at a gala $150 a plate luncheon at the Palace Hotel for his "distinguished contributions to the collection, preservation and interpretation of San Francisco history."

In 1995 Rand had the honor of being invited by Mikhail Gorbachev to the first State of the World Forum at the Fairmont Hotel. At the five-day conference for world leaders he gave a lecture on San Francisco history and led tours of some of the City's historic sites.

You can find out more about Rand and his books at his website at www.heritagehousesf.com.

Customer Reviews

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on January 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
It was the spring of 1848 when gold was discovered in central California and reported in the newspapers. Almost immediately, men and some women started heading for the gold fields in droves. Yet it's hard to believe how San Francisco grew from an ordinary West Coast port city to the bustling, polyglot center it did in the following year. Williams relates how this happened. In keeping with his popular style, he uses mostly primary sources of newspaper accounts, journals, letters, and the like.

Most goldseekers and ones aiming to provide services for them came to California via ship around South America or by breaking the sea travel up by crossing Panama in Central America to board a second ship for the final leg. So San Francisco naturally became the gateway to the gold fields throughout central California. The city was not only a brief stop for goldseekers heading inland, but also a center for the varied services they required. Some of these such as food and building materials moved from the port to the gold fields. The port grew; but so did the city with the supply stores, doctors, hotels, assayers, investors, and others needed to sustain large and changing numbers of individuals in the gold fields. Inevitably, too, such a large number of unattached men, many with large sums of money from finds, drew prostitutes and gamblers. The social situation in 1849 was so mercurial though that "lawyers, doctors, and other professionals without clients sometimes had to wait tables, wash dishes, and black boots to make ends meet." Richards quotes from a letter from the owner of a draying business that he had recently hired a lawyer to drive a mule team.

Public officials including politicians were another type active in 1849 San Francisco.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Mud Blood and Gold: San Francisco in 1849 is a historical chronicle of how the (in)famous Gold Rush affected the California city of San Francisco, especially at the peak of the gold frenzy. Drawing upon eyewitness accounts and official records, historian Rand Richards meticulously reconstructs San Francisco of over a century and a half ago, offering a vivid picture of what daily life must have been like. From the overriding ambition to get rich that drove all the comers, to how the most successful of San Francisco's wealthy actually amassed their gold (such as merchants who traded in coveted goods, and real estate speculators) to the corruption that ran rampant among city officials and the explosion of greed-fueled violence, gambling, and prostitution, Mud Blood and Gold is as colorfully descriptive as it is informative and analytical. A welcome contribution to San Francisco history shelves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Colbruno on September 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books that I've read on the Gold Rush days. I felt like I was living at the time, as the descriptions of the streets, bars, mining camps and City by the Bay are vivid.
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