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What I'm Reading │ Historical Gold Rush Books

My dad gave me a book to read called The Age of Gold.  

The Age of Gold book cover by H.W. Brands

It's a fascinating book about the California gold rush and the new American dream. It follows many people from various backgrounds who traveled West chronicling their harrowing journeys. 

While I'm only halfway through the book, it's enlightening. Particularly how arduous the journey was getting to California whether they traveled by land or by sea, whether they were married or single, with or without children, born in America, or emigrated.

Many feel the gold rush ruined aspects of the states, particularly the region, destroying the natural habitats, and endangering native Indians and their land along with myriad other issues. And for the most part, there were issues.  

But without this event, the West wouldn't be what it is today. It was a rush to stake claims, and of course, there was a whole lot of greed involved. But whether I agree with the past or not is irrelevant. It happened. 

While it doesn't make it right, greed has propelled the human race from the beginning of time. Learning from our mistakes is part of the human process.

Living in a part of California that is directly involved with the gold rush (I live in Gold River on the American River) and getting to know my history has been illuminating. I'm getting to see how this area was established and why. And while the gold rush ruined many lives, it also catapulted a few into growth, wealth, and progress. 

Levi Strauss book by Lunn Downey
Simultaneous to this book, I also read a book called Levi Strauss: The Man Who Gave Blue Jeans to the World written by Lynn Downey.

As a Levi's fan times a million (eight of the ten pairs of jeans I wear regularly are Levi's), this book was beyond fascinating. I'm still in awe as to how a young man from Bavaria helped to create something we're still wearing - which still looks similar to the original Levi's jeans.

From how the jeans were created (and who really created them) to how the patents were acquired and how marketing them - and being at the right place at the right time - made Levi Strauss a worldwide phenomenon, this book delves into all aspects of his creations. 

One of the biggest ideas he brought forth was reimagining a fabric - typically worn as workwear - to the masses as clothing that could be worn anywhere (with the gold miners being his first steady customers.)

If you're looking for two books to read that actually go together, might I suggest these two.

Both are very well-written and detail the men and women who worked hard and risked everything to create a prospering future.

These two books are a great introduction to knowing more about why so many flocked to California... and stayed. 

California is a beautiful state. With weather to yearn for, and the prospect of creating a future that no one had yet made (think Hollywood as well as Silicon Valley), it's a state that created - and still creates - an avenue for the American dream.

Let me know if you've read these books. Comment below or if you get my blog via email, you can hit the reply button and the message will go straight to me.

Happy reading!