Synopses & Reviews
Lured by and#8220;the astonishing accounts of the vast deposits of gold in California,and#8221; Alonzo Delano (1806and#8211;74) of Ottawa, Illinois, bid farewell to his wife and children and joined the rush to El Dorado. For the next five monthsand#8212;April to early September 1849and#8212;he persevered in writing his remarkably detailed diary, recounting his experiences among the more than thirty thousand goldseekers representing all thirty states who struggled across half of the continent to Californiaand#8217;s and#8220;gold fields.and#8221; With each entry the reader is drawn into the changing circumstances, from a hurried trailside burial of a comrade to a defense against an Indian attack; from suffering thirst in the desert to anger at a lazy campmate.and#160;Unlike most diarists who at the end of the epic journey gave up their demanding task, Delano continued his vivid account until the summer of 1851. He went on to report as a professional journalist, ranging far and wide across the scenes of life in the diggings and the cities, from prospecting along the Yuba River to witnessing lynch law in San Francisco.and#160;First published in 1854 as Life on the Plains and among the Diggings and deemed a California Gold Rush classic, this new edition will carry on the adventure for thousands of new readers.
and#8220;Whether or not the reader is as enamored of diaries and memoirs as I, there is so much detail, so much revelation about feelings, opinions, and beliefs of both the author and those he writes about, that this should be required reading in every high school and college reading list. It is a wonderful book.and#8221;and#8212;Roundup Magazine
and#8220;This new edition will serve as a fine introduction to the gold rush literature for new readers and as a welcome reminder to established scholars.and#8221;and#8212;David A. Walker, Journal of the West
"You can't miss with the Bison Books from the University of Nebraska Press. This sentiment is doubly true when one of its books bears an introduction by the outstanding interpreter of our California Gold Rush, J.S. Holliday."and#8212;California Territorial Quarterly
About the Author
J. S. Holliday is the director emeritus of the California Historical Society and the author of The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience and Rush for Riches: Gold Fever and the Making of California.