Mary Hill Gold: The California Story

ISBN 13: 9780520215474

Gold: The California Story

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9780520215474: Gold: The California Story
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The discovery of gold in 1848 catapulted California into statehood and triggered environmental, social, political, and economic events whose repercussions are still felt today. Mary Hill combines her scientific training with a flair for storytelling to present the history of gold in California from the distant geological past through the wild days of the Gold Rush to the present.

The early days of gold fever drew would-be miners from around the world, many enduring great hardships to reach California. Once here, they found mining to be backbreaking work and devised machines to help recover gold. These machines pawed gravel from river bottoms and tore apart mountainsides, wreaking environmental havoc that silted rivers, ruined farmlands, and provoked the world's first environmental conflict settled in the courts. Native Americans were nearly wiped out by invading miners or their diseases, and many Spanish-speaking settlers—Californios—were pushed aside.

Hill writes of gold's uses in today's world for everything from coins to coffins, gourmet foods to spacecraft. Her comprehensive overview of gold's impact on California includes illustrated explanations of geology and mining in nontechnical language as well as numerous illustrations, maps, and photographs.

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From the Inside Flap:

"This is a very readable account of gold mining in California from the earliest days to the present and of its economic, social, cultural, and literary consequences. It should provide many evenings of enjoyable and informative reading."—Paul C. Bateman, U.S. Geological Survey, retired

"Mary Hill's first-rate narrative is a remarkable synthesis. She skillfully weaves together the geology, history, and romance of the gold story in a lively and informative style. Anyone interested in California history, especially the Gold Rush, will relish this book."—Martin Ridge, Huntington Library

About the Author:

Mary Hill is the author of Geology of the Sierra Nevada (1975) and California Landscape: Origin and Evolution (1984), both available in paperback from the University of California Press. She is coauthor of Volcanic Eruptions of 1980 at Mount St. Helens: The First 100 Days (1982). Longtime editor of the magazine California Geology, she was later Western Region Information Officer for the U.S. Geological Survey and Adjunct Professor of Geosciences at San Francisco State University.

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