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The Diary of a Forty-Niner

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  18 reviews
On January 24, 1848, gold was found at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California.

A year later tens of thousands of 49ers had made the journey across America in the hope of finding their fortune.

Alfred T. Jackson, the author of this diary, that was subsequently found and edited by Chauncey L. Canfield, was just one of these men who dreamt of becoming rich.

Jackson documents th
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Kindle Edition
Published July 18th 2019 by Searce Texts (first published October 30th 1906)
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  202 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Kim  Dennis
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with how to rate this book. When I bought it, it looked for all the world like a primary source. Even the preface gave that viewpoint. I read it believing that hook, line, and sinker, and I loved it. It gave me such a different perspective of the Gold Rush than a book I had read several years ago called "6 Months in the Gold Mines". I was sharing things I "learned" with my students. Part way through, I came across some things and did some research and found out that it is a work of f ...more
Julie
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting fun read!
Amy Dickson
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful, simple, poignant book. I feel like it was a true and accurate snapshot of the life of a California foothill miner. Having grown up in the area, all I had was the remnants in old and dusty museums: pick axes, partial sluice boxes, tin cans. Sometimes we'd find these relics in our yard. This book gave me the quotidian story, as lived by two men, the dog they saved from a dog fight, and the braying jackass that was as regular (and annoying) as a crowing rooster. I loved it. It was ...more
Karolie Dufek
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better than expected

I was captivated, and wanted to read more. Historical, and entertaining at the same time. I would recommend to anyone interested in an actual first hand account of the California gold rush.
Sep
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is so old . . .
How old is it?
The San Francisco Earthquake delayed its publishing.

I, too, planned to read only a few pages of this book and could not put it down. According to the introduction by Oscar Lewis, Canfield was brought to California from New England at the age of seven. Later, (c.1900) he had an opportunity to share an office with Lewis Hanchett who had been a forty-niner (Not the football team but one of the guys who immigrated to California in search of gold. Mr. Hanchett a
...more
Russell G Edwards
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A fine account of life in those harrowing days when gold was

First discovered in California, and of the endless variety of men and nations who responded with fever pitch to gold fever, in hopes of bettering their families lives with their own.
Eric
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is more like historical fiction than a true history. It is evident that this is written by someone acquainted with the region and with some knowledge of mining but it’s also evident that this is not really a diary. Entertaining but semi-fictional.
Dan Ward
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entrancing

A marvelous glimpse into the life and times of a 49er. Left me wondering how the rest of his life went.
Keely
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I got this book out of the library with the intention of just reading a few passages here & there and ended up reading and completely enjoying every word. With the exception of the epilogue, it's written in a straighforward and rather charming manner, with satisfying details about the food, personal habits, etiquette, and mind-set of the day plus just enough technical information about how gold mining changed and evolved during the three years the author was there.

There's some speculation o
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Michał Gajewski
Although I am not convinced it's a genuine diary of a forty-niner, I rate it five stars. It's a good, heart-warming narrative in the form of a diary of a young noble miner who makes his ways from rags to reaches in the high of the gold rush in California. At the same time, it's a story of getting mature, friendship and love. The characters' attachement to nature makes it truly unique. The book is a great read and I'm glad I spent 1,22 dollar on that!
Su
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diary of a straight-shooter: no alcohol, no gambling, no taste for prostitution, no violence. A refreshing perspective on life in the Gold Rush era and a particularly touching epilogue by the editor to boot. Read this book!
Katherine Mitchell
Best book I ever read. This will always be my favorite book due to the candid description of everyday life through the eyes of this miner. We are reading his diary, his thoughts. Just such an excellent book. Peter Jackson should make a movie out of it.
Jason
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a 49's story

An enjoyable insight into a gold rush miner. Well but simply written. The book gave me an interesting look into the lives of these men.
Tiffany Cusick-Bristol
I read this book for work research and it was a fantastic read! I think the book would make a great movie.
Kate Kligman
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
Fantastic and engagingly positive account of the gold rush in California.
Joe
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
Great quick read.
Shawna
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun, interesting read, especially if you grew up in the Nevada city area like i did. Really cool envisioning the area back in the gold mining days
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“I would like to have enough capital so that I would not have to slave from sunrise till dark as I did on dad's farm. I don't know as the work was any harder than what we do here, but there is a difference. There all we got was just about a bare living, at the best a few hundred dollars put away for a year's work, but here one don't know what the next stroke of the pick, or the next rocker full of dirt, may bring forth—an ounce or twenty ounces it may be. That is the excitement and fascination that makes one endure the hardships, working up to one's knees in cold water, breaking one's back in gouging and crevicing, the chance that the next panful will indicate the finding of a big deposit.” 0 likes
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