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The Age of Gold Audiobook

The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream

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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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (8 )
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4.9 (7 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Peter Fieldson 01/12/2015
    Peter Fieldson 01/12/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Claire
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    15/01/04
    Overall
    "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!

    24 of 24 people found this review helpful
  • Robert
    Maple Grove, MN, USA
    01/10/04
    Overall
    "Engrossing and informative"

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

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    03/07/10
    Overall
    "Gold Rush and beyond!"

    This is the most complete book I have ever read about the California Gold Rush! The book follows prospectors to California from all over the globe. How they fared and what happened after the Gold Rush of 49.

    Besides the rush for gold The Age of Gold also does a good job with the histories of John C. Fremont. Leland Stanford, M. Vallejo, A. Sutter, and many many more. Also mentioned, in this book, is how the gold effected Later Day Saints, The Civil War, Transcon. Railroad, Pony Express, just to mention a few.

    If you love history you will love this book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • J. Lee
    California
    10/04/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great slice of history"

    This is a another great slice of history that fills out the narrative of the American experience. H.W. Brands does an excellent job of tying together the east and west formation of our country. The age of gold is a world changing event that moved masses of people around the world and set an example the echoed through the ages. This book puts in context the human nature that drives humanity to seek at all costs the hope of sudden riches. It explanes much about our world and leaves the reader wiser for the time spent listening. Highly recommended. The reader is unobtrusive if not spectacular.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Freedom
    Fort Mohave Az
    07/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must listen to understand the West."

    This book is really a "page turner". Grover Gardiner as always does a masterful job narrating. The cast of characters that made up early California is a who's who of personalities you'll all recognize. Part of the fun is hearing the names of people you know from other historical events being tied to California and the gold rush.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jim me
    20/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very interesting but not riveting"

    I really enjoyed the information presented in this book. However, it was kind of a meandering narrative and didn't really suck you in. That being said I was disappointed when It was done because I really enjoyed the steady stream of trivia/history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • suldes
    NY
    08/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A global perspective of the gold rush."
    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Grover Garnder always does an excellent job.


    Any additional comments?

    A bit disappointed that this wasn't a more detailed focus on the California gold rush. It was more of a global perspective which would have been fine if represented as such. In fact it also spent very little time on the actual day to day operations of a gold mine, and not enough detail as to the mechanics. It was okay.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Les Stephens
    07/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fascinating"
    What made the experience of listening to The Age of Gold the most enjoyable?

    A broad scope coverage of the gold rush that becomes a riveting history of the settlement of the American west.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Age of Gold?

    The coverage of the suffering of those on the overland journey to California was quite good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • R. L. Hernandez
    Palo Alto, CA United States
    25/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great History of California!"

    The Author weaves the history of California into a wonderful tail! My kids love this story! Although they have to listen to it in small chunks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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