Book Review - The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853 by Edward Dolnick
The Rush: America's Fevered Quest for Fortune, 1848-1853 by Edward Dolnick
Description: In the spring of 1848, rumors began to spread that gold had been discovered in a remote spot in the Sacramento Valley. A year later, newspaper headlines declared "Gold Fever!" as hundreds of thousands of men and women borrowed money, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves- for the first time ever-to imagine a future of ease and splendor. In THE RUSH, Edward Dolnick brilliantly recounts their treacherous westward journeys by wagon and on foot, and takes us to the frenzied gold fields and the rowdy cities that sprang from nothing to jam-packed chaos. With an enthralling cast of characters and scenes of unimaginable wealth and desperate ruin, THE RUSH is a fascinating-and rollicking-account of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever seen.
1848 - San Francisco population is about 812
1851 - San Francisco population is now 30,000
In 1840s, New York is the largest city in the US. Already Wall Street, Broadway, and Fifth Avenue are well-known.
Before gold was discovered in California, gold was mined from Siberia by prisoners who worked 14 hour days. This is why the Calfornia gold rush was even more popular - because people could actually mine/claim their own gold (and not just labor for the mine owner).
In 1848, gold miners could earn up to $150/day. Children panned for gold up to $25/day.
The book highlights some funny gimmicky contraptions that people sold to help miners "find gold".
Gold mining is an ancient labor. There are depictions even in ancient Egypt of slaves mining for gold.
Posted by Wendy Quest