When The World Rushed In was first published in 1981, the Washington Post predicted, “It seems unlikely that anyone will write a more comprehensive book about the Gold Rush.” Twenty years later, no one has emerged to contradict that judgment, and the book has gained recognition as a classic. As the San Francisco Examiner noted, “It is not often that a work of history can be said to supplant every book on the same subject that has gone before it.”

Through the diary and letters of William Swain--augmented by interpolations from more than five hundred other gold seekers and by letters sent to Swain from his wife and brother back home--the complete cycle of the gold rush is recreated: the overland migration of over thirty thousand men, the struggle to “strike it rich” in the mining camps of the Sierra Nevadas, and the return home through the jungles of the Isthmus of Panama.

In a new preface, the author reappraises our continuing fascination with the “gold rush experience” as a defining epoch in western--indeed, American--history.


About The Author

J. S. Holliday is former Executive Director of the California Historical Society and of the Oakland Museum of California and Associate Professor of History at California State University at San Francisco, he is also the author of rush for Riches: Gold Fever & the Making of California.

Book Information
40 b&w illus.
580 Pages
Paperback 978-0-8061-3464-2
Kindle 978-0-8061-8351-0
e-pub 978-0-8061-8352-7
Published March 2015
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