Saturday, March 28, 2009

How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush

Want to have fun and learn something at the same time? I highly recommend the following book, whose title is so long it deserves its own paragraph.

How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush: An Adventurer’s Guide to the Fabulous Riches Discovered in 1848 was written by Tod Olson and illustrated by Scott Allred, with an afterword by Marc Aronson.

This book is hilarious! And it’s presented in a scrapbook style that never bores or bogs you down. You just switch your attention, limited as it may be, to whatever grabs it on a given page.

The tale is supposedly based on a manuscript written by one Thomas Hartley, who leaves New England and goes California’s gold fields to make his fortune. In Chapter 2, Home Sweet Home, Hartley offers comments, opposed and in favor of his plan, by friends and family members. And he observes, under the title, “O’ New England,” that “It is widely agreed in these parts that farming is an honorable pursuit, for it requires long hours of backbreaking labor with little chance that wealth or comfort will ever corrupt one’s soul.”

In future chapters he offers various bits of essential advice, such as a list of what to bring along, and the cost, how to get there, warnings (“Do not be shocked to see crates of food and other supplies rotting at the docks. The city lacks storage.”), a list of supplies for gold prospectors, directions on mining for gold, and a lot more.
If you read this book, you’ll learn just as much as you would in reading a ordinary nonfiction book about the California gold rush, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more!

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