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The Gold Crusades: A Social History of Gold Rushes, 1849-1929 Paperback – November 8, 1997

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division; Revised edition (November 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802080464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802080462
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'The gold rushes were among the most dynamic episodes in modern history, when people from many nations and every level of society converged, turning wilderness into colonies, crossroads into boom towns and boom towns into cities. The Gold Crusades conveys that excitement, while offering a broader perspective. Readers will find it meticulously researched, with a helpful and entertaining essays on sources appended for further reading. Anyone prospecting for a good book should find it a gem.'

(Eric Marks)


'Fetherling presents his international cast of characters with skill - Cecil Rhodes, Diamond Tooth Gertie, Levi Strauss, Mark Twain, Commodore Vanderbilt, anonymous coolies and war veterans and entrepreneurs. The anecodotes are vivid and readable, but the reason this book stands out above many other social histories is that he embeds his characters in the larger patterns at work ... His eyes are clear and his facts are in order.'

'What Pierre Berton did for the Klondike, Douglas Fetherling does for gold rushes everywhere. Approaching them as social history, he reaches beneath the inevitable wealth of anecdote these events supply. He examines them as a phenomenon fuelled not by gold and greed alone but by widespread freedom of movement and "the rootlessness born of optimism." Fetherling's book is well researched and lovingly written: a thorough treat.'

'This warm-hearted and wonderful description ... links all the major gold discoveries into a single chain so we may see them as a whole. Not only were they marked by similar characteristics, they had many of the same characters - men (and a few women) who were in California and in Australia and in South Africa.'

'Fetherling situates each gold rush in a broad historical context suggesting their formative roles in developing cities such as San Francisco, which exploded from a village into a metropolis in virtually months ... Fetherling has clearly dug as avidly as the miners themselves. The book is full of characters, from the larcenous profiteers to the tragic cases ending in squandered fortunes and suicide.'

'The Gold Crusades is an admirable piece of social history.'

'Thanks to Fetherling's thorough research and engaging style, The Gold Crusades is an entertaining look at a raffish chapter in international social and economic history. He provides an international frame-work for the various gold rushes.'

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Alan Tidwell on December 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Fetherling writes a fascinating account of 19th century gold rushes. What is particularly fascinating about this book is level of interconnectedness that he has unearthed. Americans in Australia, Australians in Canada and more - it is a web of social intercourse unsuspected by most. Yet the impact of that interconnectedness has been significant. Looking for a good read, this is it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a historic archaeologist this book is invaluable for the history of the gold rushes from California to the Klondike and beyond.
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