I Witness: Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: A Tale of the Old West
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I Witness: Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: A Tale of the Old West

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3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Early Whitcomb's family needs a miracle. Their Iowa farm has been in the family for generations, but a long drought has withered their savings and left them in debt. Meanwhile, the great Chicago and Northwestern Railroad wants their land, and if the Whitcombs can't pay their loans, the local banker, Judge Fuslin, will foreclose and sell the farm as his own. Early's uncle (...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Disney-Hyperion
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Chris
I received this as a free download from Audiojukebox.

Avi does a wonderful job of bringing to life the midwest of the late 1850s. It's also an interesting tale of the Colorado Gold Rush (Pike's Peak or Bust!) that most of us never learned a lot about.

Early Whitcomb is a 14-year-old farm boy living with his mother, father, older brother, and an uncle, Jessie, who is only a few years older than he is. A railroad wants the land the Whitcomb farm is on and seems willing to try anything to force the...more
Dawson Miller
I love reading history, so I picked up this book. When I finished reading this book, I decided it was one of the better ones I have read in a while. The 1859 gold rush was a period in U.S. history I did not know much about, and this book made me want to read more about it. When I read this book, I didn't realize the characters were fictional, because I didn't read the author's letter at the start of the book. The farther I got into this book, the more I wanted to find out if Early would find Jes...more
laurenpie
A readable and informative novel for middle-grades, with interesting historical illustrations.

I really liked the tone of this novel. The protagonist, thirteen-year-old "Early," was thoughtful and likeable, and his struggles seemed fairly realistic to me.

The author didn't shy away from harder aspects of life in that era. For instance, though Early does have parents, he must also, as a matter of course, constantly obey his self-centered older brother. Early works very hard on the farm, knowing all...more
Amber
Early was a boy on a mission. This story of a young boy going across the country to find his Uncle Jesse was a well-written book. It is a very easy book for children to read and since Avi, who wrote “City of Orphans”, wrote it I can see his style of writing very clearly. How it is written is probably it’s best aspect to the book along with the main character and his journey to Cherry Creek.
“Hard Gold” is written mostly in a journal style of writing, which I thought made it a very child friendl...more
Libby Ames
In late winter 1858, Early Whitcomb and his family were struggling to save their farm. After a dry year and poor harvest, their savings were barely enough to pay the mortgage. Threats from the bank were becoming more severe and financial ruin seemed inevitable. About this time, the farmers began to hear rumors of gold found out West at Pike’s Peak. Early’s Uncle Jesse is caught up in the gold fever and is sure that digging for gold will solve all their problems.

When Jesse disappears, Early joins...more
Susan Williams
An deft narrative in journal entry form of an adolescent boy's journey to the Colorado gold fields. Early's family is in dire financial trouble, their farm about to be seized by the lender. His uncle Jesse has left to find his fortune and rescue the family by looking for gold in Colorado.
Jesse is accused of killing a man before he left, and Early is determined to find him and clear his name, as well as help save the family from financial ruin.
Concise and well written, this is an interesting read...more
Boyd Dart
This is the story of Early, who set out with a wagon train to get to his uncle in the Colorado gold mines. Troubles, dangers, and suspicion follow Early all the way west. Informative, fun, and great descriptive lead characters, this an enjoyable work of historical fiction.
Catherine Woodman
A great first person account of a boy who ventures Westward in order to help his family save their Iowa farm into gold country. What it is like, through the eyes of a teenager, how you needed to keep your wits about you, and how the boy grows into the man he is about to become, making the choices of a good woman over his family, to avoid the temptations of gold and succomb to the allure of natural beauty, and other wise pearls.
Julie
This book definitely has the feel of one written to be a part of a series, the "I Witness" History Series in particular. It didn't seem as richly imagined as some of Avi's other works. That said, it's an approachable way of introducing the subject of 1 of the 19th-c American gold rushes to children approximately 10-12 years old. I can't say that I loved the book, but it was a pleasant, interesting read.
Christy
Early Whitcomb's family needs a miracle. Their Iowa farm has been in the family for generations, but a long drought has withered their savings and left them in debt. Meanwhile, the great Chicago and Northwestern Railroad wants their land, and if the Whitcombs can't pay their loans, the local banker, Judge Fuslin, will foreclose and sell the farm as his own. Early's uncle (...more
Josh
I really like the storyline of this book. It is about a family that is in debt and this is happening when a gold rush is going on in Colorado. So first his uncle goes out to Colorado to get gold to pay off the debt. But then his Nephew followed him to Colorado. Then thats when the real story begins and i did not want to put it down after he followed his brother there.
Kari
This was more of a 2.5 for me. I read this with a 4th grade reading group I helped with.
Jeremy
Another one of those historical fiction books that completely shocked me! The difficult journey that many people took to discover gold is unbelievable. The book includes a gripping story that has the suspense that draws you through, but also the real life story of a family that is broken by its need for money for survival.
Susan
This is a cute book about the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859. Early's family is in trouble because of the drought, so his uncle (age 19, who has been raised as his brother) decides to go to Colorado and get enough gold to pay the mortgage. Early follows him out there. The book has a good moral and is really interesting.
Gina
This is a book for children - one of the "I Witness" books where the story is told in first person narrative from the perspective of a youth, in this case a 14-year-old boy. I enjoyed the book, only took one evening to read, and I will look forward to having my children read it when they're a little bit older.
Librarygarden Librarygarden
Early leaves the only home he's ever known in Iowa to follow his uncle Jesse who left in search of gold in Colorado save the family farm. On his journey he has to escape death, keep his secret, and plan how he's going to find Jesse...all while working on a wagon train and surviving on the trail.
Mary Louise Sanchez
You are there each day as fourteen-year-old Early Wittcomb joins a wagon train headed to Colorado where his young uncle has found gold. The gold will help pay the mortgage on the family's Iowa farm. The primary sources, maps, and photographs make this time period come alive.
Hope
Apr 05, 2010 Hope rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 5th grade and higher
Recommended to Hope by: teacher
i think that this book is a very meaning book and you can learn alot about the 1859 gold rush of colorado
I read this for literture in school and i thought it was pretty meaningful to have a young boy go out and find his uncle like he did.
Briana
Early ends up headed for gold digging area looking for his uncle. Instead he finds an unlikely friend & has some adventures. Rich with text features & clever quick story line makes it a nice read!
Betsy
This was a nice quick read about a young boy who runs away from home to help his best friend/uncle. I really enjoyed the story and how Avi weaved the facts into it seamlessly.
Megan
Jul 04, 2012 Megan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th-8th grade, fans of "Dear America" series
Early Whitcomb heads to Colorado to find his Uncle Jesse who left several months earlier to strike it rich. Good historical fiction for young readers.
Emily
An educational and interesting account of the hopeful pioneers and the crazy gold-rush adventures. Leaves me wondering what kind of pioneer would I make...
Karen
Even though written for a YA audience, I found this book most enjoyable. Easy to read with interesting characters and descriptions.
Audra
Ending wrapped up a little to quick, but it was interesting. I think my 9 y/o would like it.
Matthew
it was a amazing book it has lots of true facts about the colorado gold rush amazing
Janet
Not my favorite AVI book, but it had some good elements (illustrations and glossary).
Megan
This was a REALLY bad book. I don't recommend it. It was for a book report
Somer
This book was ok, but I think I would have been bored by it as a kid.
Betsy Brainerd
Avi's contribution to the "I Witness" series written in journal form.
Chloe Clark
Thank you Rita for this awesome book. I really love it so far.
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10105
Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use."
Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and The Crispin series. His work is very much desired by readers young and old.
More about Avi...
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Crispin #1) Nothing But the Truth Poppy (Tales of Dimwood Forest, #1) The Seer of Shadows

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