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Publisher's Summary

When gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill on the American River, it completely transformed the territory of California. Hundreds of thousands of people sped to California by any means possible, and small cities sprung up to service their needs as they sought the precious metal. By 1850, California had become a state; it had also become a symbol of where the nation was going. Great fortunes were made by such memorable figures as John Fremont, Leland Stanford, and George Hearst; great fortunes were lost by those who are now along history's wayside. The Gold Rush had a profound effect on the way Americans viewed their destinies, as the new get-rich-quick ethos prevailed over the old Puritan mores of hard work. H.W. Brands' masterful narrative discloses the whole story.
©2002 H.W. Brands (P)2002 Books On Tape, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"With solid research and a sprightly narrative, Brands's portrait of the gold rush is an enlightening analysis of a transformative period for California and America." (Publishers Weekly) "Brands writes history as the art of storytelling that enthralls and informs the reader. Highly recommended." (Library Journal) "An important work of history." (Booklist) "Exuberant....Entertaining, lively....Brands [is] a wonderfully skilled narrative historian." (Los Angeles Times) "An engrossing, multifaceted history." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Claire on 01-15-04

Very Enjoyable

I'm now about a third of the way through "The Age of Gold" and I'm hooked. It's a very interesting social history of the gold rush, and has certainly managed to increase yet further my interest in this period of history.

HW Brands shares the stories of a diverse range of people affected by the rush, and explains how they became united by the discovery of gold in California.

I was enthralled by the original testimonies of many of the gold hunters. Brands frequently quotes diaries and letters and these have given me a much deeper insight into the period - although I had known that the trip to California was far from easy, I've been shocked at quite how bad it was at times!

I would certainly recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in the gold rush, or American history, society and culture. In my opinion, it's a fascinating story of a fascinating time and the only reason I haven't given it five stars is because this is my first Audible download, and so I don't yet have other books to which to compare it!

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25 of 25 people found this review helpful


By Robert on 10-01-04

Engrossing and informative

Again, the author brings history to life! A gripping telling of the stories behind the historical period.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By M.R. Bunce on 12-01-15

Far too long

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

There is an abridged version of this title, and while I found the book interesting I wish I'd gone for the shorter version.

What will your next listen be?

Probably The end of an affair, by Graham Greene

Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favourite?

This is a factual history rather than a novel, but my favourite character was the San Franciso store keep who publicized the gold rush so as to make his fortune selling equipment to the prospectors.

Could you see The Age of Gold being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Yes, though obviously there have been many documentaries made about the gold rush. This being the case it would be unlikely that named actors would be a requirement for the show

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this book but it was incredibly detailed to a point where the actual geological history of the gold's formation was discussed at some length. I have always been very interested in the subject of The Californian Gold rush but felt that this description took a lot of the exoticism out of the subject and was rather dry. Very interesting though for all that, and very engagingly read.

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