Forty-Niner
While the seminal California Gold Rush of 1849 produced numerous firsthand diaries and accounts, Joseph Goldsborough Bruff’s—widely regarded as the best and most accurate—provides the basis of this narrative reimagining of a quintessential American legend. Ken Lizzio traces the pioneer’s thrilling adventure from the first rumors of gold, through his crossing of the frontier, all the way to his incredible survival and escape to a prosperous life back east. This is the first book to create a narrative of Bruff’s journey from his meticulously written and preserved diary. And with more than fifty of Bruff’s original pencil sketches and paintings, Forty-Niner provides a new, immersive vision of one of America’s most fabled eras.The American Grit series brings you true tales of endurance, survival, and ingenuity from the annals of American history. These books focus on the trials of remarkable individuals with an emphasis on rich primary source material and artwork.

Forty-Niner Details

TitleForty-Niner
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMay 9th, 2017
PublisherCountryman Press
ISBN1682680509
ISBN-139781682680506
Number of pages288 pages
Rating
GenreHistory, Biography

Forty-Niner Review

  • James Fisher
    May 16, 2017
    While many North Americans are familiar with the term "Gold Rush of 1849", they likely have a romantic idea of picturesque covered wagons slowly heading west over the prairie, of bearded miners panning for gold (as the cover depicts), and so on. The reality is quite different, as "Forty-Niner: THE EXTRAORDINARY GOLD RUSH ODYSSEY OF JOSEPH GOLDSBOROUGH BRUFF" by Ken Lizzio informs us.Drawing on the detailed journal and sketches by J.G.Bruff, we learn that the trail west was littered not only with While many North Americans are familiar with the term "Gold Rush of 1849", they likely have a romantic idea of picturesque covered wagons slowly heading west over the prairie, of bearded miners panning for gold (as the cover depicts), and so on. The reality is quite different, as "Forty-Niner: THE EXTRAORDINARY GOLD RUSH ODYSSEY OF JOSEPH GOLDSBOROUGH BRUFF" by Ken Lizzio informs us.Drawing on the detailed journal and sketches by J.G.Bruff, we learn that the trail west was littered not only with broken dreams but abandoned excess goods, broken wagons, livestock, and graves as well. There were hostile natives to contend with (their land and hunting grounds were being invaded by a steady stream of thousands of whites), disease, adverse weather, and the formidable Rockies themselves. "Captain" Bruff of the Washington City Company recorded it all, and his meticulously kept journal (despite all odds) remains one of the best accounts of the events of 1849 and its sad aftermath.I read this book with great enthusiasm, as I was learning about a portion of North American history I was heretofore unfamiliar with. I was startled to learn of the hardships endured by thousands in their quest for riches. Today we have extravagant lotteries that promise the hope of riches and a superior lifestyle. In 1849, it was the "Great California Lottery" (as it has been referred to) that promised the same if one could only get there fast enough. Myriads of people from all walks of life, professional and layman alike, sold everything they had in their blind quest for a better life. Why, one only had to pick the stuff up in riverbeds, streams, and beaches in California, no hard labor required, it was said. The reality was that few made any money.Read the rest of my review here: http://ow.ly/CGOd30bMfaM
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  • Margaret Sankey
    December 18, 2016
    This is a really interesting new series from Norton--choose a lesser-known primary source, in this case, the drawings and journals of Joseph Bruff (two years at West Point, trained sailor, draftsman and mapmaker), and have a skilled historian use that to build a readable and vivid account backed by secondary and experiential sources. This allows for the reconstruction of an organized "company" migration to the 1849 California Gold rush, their miscalculation of Sierra Nevada winters, Bruff's sens This is a really interesting new series from Norton--choose a lesser-known primary source, in this case, the drawings and journals of Joseph Bruff (two years at West Point, trained sailor, draftsman and mapmaker), and have a skilled historian use that to build a readable and vivid account backed by secondary and experiential sources. This allows for the reconstruction of an organized "company" migration to the 1849 California Gold rush, their miscalculation of Sierra Nevada winters, Bruff's sense of obligation as a US Government employee to help other stranded people to his own disadvantage, the economic realities of the mining rush, and the decision-making of man who realized that his professional skills and commitment to science and bureaucracy made him a much better fit in DC than in a get rich quick scheme of such precarious odds.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    June 11, 2017
    I received a free Kindle copy of Forty-NinerForty-Niner by Ken LizzioKen Lizzio courtesy of Net Galley and W.W. Norton & Company, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a great deal about the history of the american west and the description presented a different approa I received a free Kindle copy of Forty-NinerForty-Niner by Ken LizzioKen Lizzio courtesy of Net Galley and W.W. Norton & Company, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a great deal about the history of the american west and the description presented a different approach from others that I have read about the gold rush.  This is the first book by Ken Lizzio that I have read.This book is well researched and engaging. It is a different approach in that it primarly based on the journals of Joseph Bruff as he traveled to the gold fields and what he discovered once he was there and the return home. The book moves along at a risk pace revealing many facets of the gold rush that have been either glossed over or not covered by other books written about the same time period in our country's history.I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the history of the american west and the California golf rush of 1849 in particular.
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