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This is deservedly a classic of Gold Rush literature I picked it up intending to merely skim it for a few facts I was seeking wound up reading it eagerly for hours at a time.The diaries and letters were pretty much a day by day account of the westward trail what an ordeal What tremendous quantities of hopefulness and endurance a person needed in order to keep on going over those rivers, deserts and mountains It s astounding to realize how many lives were wrecked or ended on the trail or in the fields Once arrived in the reality of the gold fields MORE hopefulness and endurance were demanded and perhaps some denial as well The glory days of the gold fields were well past by the time most of these men arrived in California.William Swain s journals and correspondence were the perfect choice because he wrote so faithfully and because he was faithful to his mission didn t fall prey to gambling or other distractions that were the ruin of many others The poignance of the loved ones at home having to wait for 6 months for any word to arrive by mail that comes through powerfully as well.BTW, contrary to one of the other reviews, Swain a letters were throughly edited and other correspondents comments are artfully spliced in to make for a very complete story of the adventure. This is a remarkable and well told account of one man s overland journey from Buffalo, NY to California in search of gold It is based on his diary, but also integrated with hundreds of other first hand sources to fill in gaps in the journal, and the inevitable gaps in a single man s experience of the gold rush Highly recommended The World Rushed In, according to PBS the definitive book on the California Gold Rush, follows a young Ohio farmer, William Swain, overland across the brutal plains to the Sierra Nevada, stays with him as he struggles to mine gold, and travels back home with him by way of disease ridden Panama Author J.S Holliday starts each chapter with a general history, follows with letters home by Swain, and concludes with letters from home wife Sabrina and brother George Gaps in the Swain narrative are filled with excerpts from letters of other miners who were undergoing the same experiences at the same time This scheme works very well, especially since farmer Swain and his family were surprisingly articulate I did not read the first half of the book the preparations and the overland journey I was interested in California and the mining Of course, to learn what became of Swain I was compelled to follow him on his cholera threatened journey home I once saw a documentary on the Klondike Gold Rush, and the following numbers stuck in my mind 40,000 people rushed to the mines 4,000 brought out at least some money only 400 got really rich Though Holliday didn t specify the ratios for California, it sounds as though they were about the same Much like the lottery there are enough real winners to keep many hopefuls playing, even when the odds are poor signified in California by every river and every creek crawling with broke miners, mostly greenhorns, from all over the world Before leaving for California, Swain set himself a financial goal come back with 10,000 After a year and a half of mining, he left with under 1,000 and had to spend some of that on the trip home He was probably successful than most Many died Many left California in debt, others simply went broke A good many got away like Swain with some money, and a very few got rich not on gold, mostly, but by servicing the frantic miners 147 tons of ice from Boston sold for 80 cents a pound With the hope of controlling a massive rat population, cats from Mexico sold for 8 12 apiece A simple carpenter from Connecticut made 60,000 to 70,000 just driving piles for San Francisco wharves that were being built at breakneck speed Miners needed food, they needed utensils, they needed clothing their need for rugged overalls launched, among others, Levi Strauss of San Francisco , they needed tents, they needed pickaxes and shovels and firearms, they needed medicines, they needed booze, they needed entertainment, they needed boatmen and muleteers to haul their supplies and they needed Expressmen to carry their mail the U.S Post Office, both overwhelmed and apparently, in its San Francisco office, incompetent, simply couldn t get the job done Traders in these items made than most of the miners although many traders, who advanced their wares on credit, also went belly up when their customers failed to strike it rich Some of the biggest successes were women Miners needed housekeepers and tailors and boardinghouses and other services usually provided by women not to mention personal services during the long and lonely nights In Gold Rush country there were something like 25 or 30 men for every woman In 1850, 35,333 men came in through San Francisco, and only 1,248 women Lowly French streetwalkers pulled in an ounce of gold just to sit with someone for the evening and 200 400 for a night big money in those days One celebrated prostitute said she had made 50,000 and regretted that she had not double the capacity for increasing her gains A young man in Nevada City wrote Got nearer to a female this evening than I have been for six months Came near fainting Famous entertainers like Lola Montez and Lotta Crabtree the latter grew up in mining country were in great demand and got rich Lotta was the first American entertainer to become a millionaire And gamblers worked the miners even harder and successfully than the miners worked their mines When the Gold Rush started California was not yet a state Most property, including mineral rights, was owned by the United States government The government provided no law and order The miners did their own thing While mining 500 million in gold from government owned land by 1857, miners not only paid nothing for the mineral rights, they paid zero taxes And in the period from discovery of gold in 1848 until statehood in 1851, the miners provided their own extremely effective law and order You could leave your tent or cabin unattended all day while you worked your claim without fear of theft even with all your gold dust stored there Theft was virtually unknown, for this reason the miners were in California to get rich to do so they had to work hard at their claims therefore they didn t have time to be messing around with miscreants when someone committed a crime, the miners passed sentence immediately and if a man had to have his ears cropped or be hanged, the miners took care of it right away so they could hustle back to work So ironically, even with gold dust lying around and many commodities in very short supply, the crime rate was extremely low After statehood it rose, presumably because justice, now administered by the state, was no longer either swift or sure Morals were something else again Without the constraints of family or community, many miners went berzerk, boozing and gambling and whoring every chance they got Saloons and whorehouses sprang up everywhere, as did gambling tents whiskey peddlers and monte dealers followed the miners into even the remotest mountain camps Some miners gambled away all their money from sheer inability to control themselves others, disappointed in the results of their mining, gambled in hopes of winning at cards the riches they had failed to find under the rivermud Debauchery ruled in the camps, in the small towns that sprang up throughout the Sierra Nevada, and in the cities that supported the madness Marysville, Sacramento City, San Francisco, where those who had struck it rich could amuse themselves in ostentatious palaces of entertainment During the day most of the miners worked very hard They soon realized that gold could be found mainly in the rivers, under sand and mud and rock They had to dig it out Some of the ingenious teamed up to build flumes and sluices and various mining contrivances many tried to divert the water in order to expose the riverbeds for digging during the dry season In a very short time every river in gold country was crawling with eager and sometimes desperate miners They came overland from the east, and by ship from all over from the East, from Europe mainly Britain, France and Germany , from Mexico, from Chile and from China During the 1850s 30,000 came from Europe alone, and as early as 1852 there were already 25,000 Chinese They lived in cabins, tents, shanties, holes in the ground wherever a miserable existence during the protracted rainy season, when they couldn t go out for days on end Shortly after arriving most wished they d never come to the Great California Lottery The Gold Rush made Northern California In early 1849 only 2,000 people lived in San Francisco It was Nowheresville In less than two years it boomed to between 25,000 and 30,000 Hundreds of boats, abandoned in the harbor as passengers, crews and captains rushed to the hills to get rich on gold, were instantly converted by enterprising San Franciscans into floating shops and warehouses Inland, small towns that sprang up wherever miners settled boomed and then busted when the miners moved on to promising they hoped claims Cities sprang up on the logistics trail to the Sierra Nevada places like Sacramento City as it was then called , Yuba City and Marysville are significant only because of the Gold Rush Developers created other cities overnight, sectioning land into plots and selling the plots to newcomers at exorbitant prices and then going on to the next scam much as in the Florida land boom of the 1920s The Gold Rush not only put Northern California on the map, it installed California itself El Dorado firmly in the national psyche as a loose place of incredible promise, where anything can happen and usually does Many who came for gold stayed on to farm or trade or practice medicine or law Some of the adventurous, even though not successful in mining gold, returned East and brought their families back with them to settle in what they considered the land of the future.As for most Gold Rushers, never have so many created so much so fast for so little profit.And William Swain Survived Chagres Fever on his trip through Panama, recovered in New York, resumed farming in Ohio, and told Gold Rush stories throughout a long life that did not end until 1904. A very thorough, detailed, well researched book that relies on the diaries of 49ers Yet, who knew how boring uneventful traveling by wagon from Missouri to California and mining could be I guess the exciting overlanders didn t have time to journal. The protagonist in J.S Holliday s book, The World Rushed In The California Gold Experience, is William Swain Swain is a complex and layered character who is described in detail throughout the book The complexity of Holliday s character is due to the fact that he is a real man who we get to know through his personal diary and correspondence with his family Swain believed it was his duty to document his travels in detail out of obligation to his family He read his Bible and wrote in his diary religiously Holliday adds history and details to these diary entries and letters to give a complete and enriched detail of Swain s character I am first struck by Swain s duty and love of his family as a reason for going to California in the first place He heard reports of the riches to be had, and he felt a moral obligation to provide for his wife, Sabrina, and daughter, Eliza While many who went to California were seeking adventure, Swain was a very religious family man who went to strike it rich and return as quickly as possible with rocks in his pockets It is easy to see the love and regard William has for his family as well as theirs for him when reading the letters In one letter William urges his brother to never come due to the hardships and difficult life in the mines He tells his brother, George, that he will bring enough riches home for them both, and that he should stay home In a return letter from George, he tells William that they all just want him to come home regardless of his success You can also tell he is an intelligent and good man of character by his quality and respectful writing He is obviously aware of the mistreatment the Native people by white men in the area, and he writes that it is enough to make humanity weep The author, Holliday s, purpose for writing this book may have started out as an interest in California s Gold Rush history, but over several decades, it became a labor of love and determination Holliday himself said that the completion of this book became his Chasing of the Elephant What he explains this to mean is that after moving to California to mine the libraries for history relating to the gold rush, he gets his PhD, marries, and makes a life in California As the decades pass and life moved on he was always working on this book It became an emotional journey for him as he learned to know the Swain family and wanted to add the humanity of their story to the history of the gold rush as the first global migration Holliday has succeeded in writing what has been touted as the most thorough and balanced book about the history of the California Gold Rush It is a well written historical narrative It is evident from the details in the book as well as the way he has a compiled resources and facts, that Holliday spent the years 1948 1981 crafting a fantastic book that captures the humanity and history of the years that the world rushed in to California. The main character is William Swain and he is religious, dedicated, hard working, motivated, and a family man He is religious because he carries and reads his bible even though he is far from home He also mentions God every time he writes to his brother George, wife Sabrina and mother Patience He also equates swearing, gambling, drinking and prostitution to the devil s influence on weak men He is motivated and hard working because he never gave up on his mission to reach California His party faced hunger, hot cold weather, disease such as cholera, yet they kept marching towards El Dorado He is a family man because he always mentions his brother George, wife Sabrina, his daughter Eliza, mother Patience, and Little Sis in all his letters They keep him strong as he struggled to reach California He also mentions family friends and sends his regards when he writes his letters Overall, I think he is a good man because he also felt that slavery needed to be abolished and he seemed tolerant towards the Indians, Panamanians and the minorities that he encountered along his trip His wife Sabrina is also very religious and thoroughly devoted to her family She takes care of her daughter Eliza and William s mother Patience Sabrina is a loving wife and she misses her husband every day She has a spinal problem and she seemed to always be in pain She is also very religious and never forgets to remind William about reading his bible and how through God s might he will be successful in his endeavor George is William s older brother He is hard working, religious and takes care of the family while William travels to California He is hard working because he took care of the family while William went off to California He helped take care of Sabrina, Eliza, Little Sis and his mother Patience He also managed their farm while William was away He is religious like the rest of his family and constantly reminds William to read his bible and to not deviate from the teachings of God He is also very supportive because he told William to comeback even if he didn t find any gold.Patience is a godly woman She tells William to always read his bible and to always look to God for guidance and hope She is also a family woman and she feels that family is the most important part of a man s life The author wrote this book because giving the reader a first hand account of a William s struggles as he traveled to California is invaluable William s party faced numerous obstacles as they marched west The most terrifying one was cholera Even so, they marched west and they helped each other The author also wrote this book because he wanted to make sure that family is very important William wrote his family members basically every day even though he was exhausted from work He never broke his promise to stay in touch with his family His family s concern regarding his health and wanting him to be with them was also another reason the author wrote this book The family cared about William s health than him being rich and dying quick The author did achieve his goal Everyone wants to get rich quickly Few will accomplish it What matters is that your family loves you and that you are at peace with yourself. I didn t finish this book, but I really appreciate the historical significance The ambition of the author is to be greatly admired because taking on a project of this breadth is truly daunting Would recommend to anyone interested in a good historical account of the gold rush. Listened to audiobook The voiceover wasn t the best. {Free E-pub} å The World Rushed in: The California Gold Rush Experience è Holliday, JS The World Rushed In The California Gold Rush Experience An Eyewitness Account Of A Nation Heading West New York, A Touchstone Book, Cm X Cm Pages With Several Black And White Pictures And Illustrations Original Softcover Good Condition Front Bottom Cover Has Slight Folded Corner Exlibris Of Owner On Front Pastedown As Well As Written Name Includes For Example The Following Essays Opening Page Of Swain S Diary, April Steamer Arrow Chimney Rock Rabbbit Hole Wells Etc Etc Jaquelin Smith Holliday II Indianapolis, Indiana, June Carmel, California, August Was An American Historian Holliday Wrote A Masterly History Of The California Gold Rush That Capped Three Decades Of Painstaking Research On The Era Holliday S The World Rushed In The California Gold Rush Experience, First Published In , Is Noteworthy For Its Innovative Narrative Style That Blends Scholarly Commentary And Analysis With Words Of The Miners Themselves And Their Families Kevin Starr, A California Historian And Former State Librarian, Describes Holliday As A Pioneer Of The Docudrama Narrative Documentarian Ken Burns Featured Holliday In His PBS Series The West, And Once Said No One Writes Better About California S Irresistible Past Holliday S Narrative Drew Heavily From The Diaries And Correspondence Of William Swain, A Farmer In Youngstown, New York Who Made A Seven Month Trek To California In Swain Penned Detailed Accounts Of His Transcontinental Journey Holliday Was Introduced To Swain S Writings During His Final Year At Yale University Ed Eberstadt, A Dealer In Rare Books, Showed Holliday Swain S Diary, Which Was Part Of The Yale Collection Eberstadt Emphasized That It Was The Most Important Diary Of The Gold Rush, But Holliday Initially Wasn T Impressed With Swain S Journals After Reading Diaries Left By Other Ers, Holliday Realized The Very good book Human side of the Gold Rush.