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California Gold Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
California, supposedly "the world's paradigm of hope and opportunity," is Jakes's ( North and South ) setting for this moderately satisfying novel about Mack Chance, an underdog whose ascent from poverty to affluence is a classic American success story. Like so many ambitious dreamers, Mack, an indigent Pennsylvanian, arrives in San Francisco in 1887 determined to make his fortune. To his dismay, he finds hardship, violence, bigotry, lawlessness and a city caught in the stranglehold of rapacious Southern Pacific railroad tycoons. Mack meets two bewitching women--rich, emotionally unstable Carla Hellman and dynamic Nellie Ross, a reporter for W. R. Hearst's San Francisco Examiner. After striking oil and becoming an orange grower, Mack prospers, but is left heartbroken when career-oriented Nellie won't marry him. He impulsively weds Carla, with disastrous results, while alienating many influential men by championing liberal causes. With strong commercial appeal, the novel potently conveys the raw, irrepressible vitality of California, but the historical backdrop (especially the 1906 earthquake) outshines the conventional rags-to-riches plot. Jakes's impressive research, plus his lively depictions of Hearst, Ambrose Bierce, Leland Stanford, Teddy Roosevelt and others, enriches the story considerably. Literary Guild main selection; Readers Digest Condensed Book main selection; major ad/promo.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From the Inside Flap
James Macklin Chase was a poor Pennsylvanian who dreamed of making it rich in California. But at the turn of the century, the money to be made was in oil, citrus, water rights, and the railroads. Mack would have it all, if he had his way. And along the way, the men and women he met, the passion he found, the enemies he made, and the great historical figures like William Randolph Hearts, Leland Stanford, and Theodore Roosevelt, he encountered, helped bring glory to the extraordinary century.
"Riveting...CALIFORNIA GOLD strikes pay dirt....This sweeping epic is a dynamite tribute to the sheer pluck of one man who scorns all obstacles. He instills vibrancy in all his characterizations."
A Literary Guild Main Selection
From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
This novel, however, is a little too long for my tastes. I enjoy descriptions of earlier times and places (here California just after the Gold Rush), but I don't need pages of such description without forwarding plot.
Characters are well rounded and elicit "some" sympathy from readers, but I found I was not totally interested in anyone's outcome by the end of the novel.
If you like Jakes and don 't mind 700 pages of somewhat slow activity, read it.
Anyone who enjoyed Jakes' other more well known novel series will like California Gold.
It was a book I always wanted to get back to, but as mentioned earlier, some parts were a bit dry.
If anyone has a historical novel about California to recommend, I would appreciate it.