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The Forty-Niners (Old West Time-Life Series) Hardcover – 1974

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Time-Life Books; First Edition edition (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809414708
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809414703
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steven Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 14, 2010
The gold discovery in California began a rush by prospectors to the streams and valleys in order to find gold. This book, one in the Time-Life series, "The Old West," begins by noting (Page 6): "It lasted barely a decade. But the California gold rush was a grand, gaudy adventure for a generation of brash young men, most of them citizens of a brash young nation."

The first chapter speaks a little of the history of gold as part of the context for the analysis of the Forty-Niners. The accidental discovery of gold occurred near land owned by a German-born Swiss, John Augustus Sutter. The news, at first, was not deemed of great import (there is a reproduction of an early announcement of the discovery appears on page 17). Word got out eventually and the stream of those wanting to get rich became a flood.

The book goes on to discuss the means by which Forty-Niners arrived at the area where gold had been found. Some came by sea; some arrived overland. The third chapter examines "the rough realities of grubbing for gold." Nice photos start the chapter off. Tools of the trade are depicted on pages 92-93. Chapter four considers the shantytowns, pretty rough settlements. Towns began with a store and a few roughly made buildings. As time went on, more order in a community's structure developed (e.g., roads). Of course, some collapsed as the gold played out. Some other communities, though, survived and flourished later on. The chapter also speaks of the huge disparity in numbers of women as compared with men and explores the ramifications of this. And on it goes, the city of San Francisco and the end of the gold rush.

Illustrations and photos add some immediacy to the text, giving a sense of the technology used to extract gold as well as the nature of settlements that sprang up.

In the final analysis, a nice solid introduction to the gold rush and its effects on California.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My husband had the entire set except for this one. I really didn't think we would find it since it had been over 25 years since
the publish date. Amazon had brand new ones. He was elated. Good job!
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Format: Hardcover
RECEIVED FREE COPY FROM LIBRARY

Excellent history of the 1849 California Gold Rush and how it changed the demographics of the nation. Written in informal style with nuggets of information that make the era interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A smart man set up the store that sold the things these men needed. The rest of them (probably 98%) went home broke !
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By Betty Jo on October 24, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great pictures, great stories. I have four books out of the set and plan to buy more.
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