Read by LivelyHive

(3.8 stars; 13 reviews)

Henry Vizetelly, writing under the pseudonym J. Tyrwhitt Brooks, recalls an expedition to California he took between 1847-1848 . Originally, he planned to enlist as a surgeon for the US Army during the Mexican war, but conflicts had ended by the time he applied. In a quick change of plans, he joined a group of prospectors on their way to the newly found gold fields of California. While he might not find service in the military, his training as a physician made him a valuable addition to the ragtag team of explorers.

His training as a physician gives us an exacting perspective of the events and people who struck out from more sedate routines to prospect gold in the Californian wilderness. However, he is unprepared to find a cure for the gold fever that has depopulated the surrounding towns. Only one member of the group, an experienced fur-trapper, is able to resist the lustrous lure of nuggets, flakes and gold richly deposited in the dusty desert.

Like the others who have left jobs to prospect for gold, he learns how to live on the land and struggle through hardship away from the security of city life. His motley group of changing characters ride through sudden fortunes and disasters while meeting Mormons, Indians and not least of all a bountiful harvest of gold. Before he returns to his home in England, another quick change of fortune undoes his plans for a comfortable retirement and shows us the extent of greed that has sprung up in the mining camps. (5 hr 22 min)


01 - Preface and Ch. 1-3 29:23 Read by LivelyHive
02 - Ch. 4-5 22:09 Read by LivelyHive
03 - Ch. 6-8 34:49 Read by LivelyHive
04 - Ch. 9-11 43:47 Read by LivelyHive
05 - Ch. 12-14 37:35 Read by LivelyHive
06 - Ch. 15-16 31:30 Read by LivelyHive
07 - Ch. 17-19 36:21 Read by LivelyHive
08 - Ch. 20-22 44:45 Read by LivelyHive
09 - Ch. 23-25 42:30 Read by LivelyHive


Hoax! Author never visited California

(1 stars)

The book's descriptions of the California gold mines helped to start the gold rush to California. But the author of the book had never been to California and had never seen any gold mines. The author's real name was Henry Vizetelly, and he lived in England. In composing the book he had relied heavily on published sources such as John Fremont's Report. Vizetelly admitted the hoax in his 1893 autobiography, Glances Back Through Seventy Years.

A Good Overall Summary of the Gold Rush Experience

(3 stars)

Although written while comfortably ensconced in England, the author does a creditable job of compiling early media reports into this fictional narrative. Those familiar with true reports and diaries will recognize the vignettes created by the author.