Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: California Gold Rush: Search for Treasure

This is a children's book written by Catherine E. Chambers and published by Troll Associates, 1984.  I have this book from when I was a history consultant.  This book is very good on describing the discovery of gold at the while making a channel for water to run a mill wheel.  The story in the book tells of the wealth of John Sutter.  It downplays the role of the workers in the discovery of gold, and focuses on John Marshall, the foreman.  Many of the workers were from the Mormon Batallion, which is not mentioned in the book. 

One thing it does do well is talk of how John Sutter hoped to keep the discovery of gold a secret.  He knew it would be hard to employ people in his workings, if they were all chasing gold.  Sam Brannon, a recent Mormon emigrant spoiled this as it was he who brought news to San Francisco, "There is gold on the American River."  He also put a notice in his paper and sent this East, which sparked the rush. 

California's economy was based on the gold mine.  It was only later that the gold of the soil was discovered, which became the backbone of California's economy.

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