Book by H.W. Brands published in 2003
The book spans around 1848 to around the beginning of the civil war 1861, dubbing this time the 'golden age.' It's focused on California's gold discovery in 1848 and the mass immigration as a result. Detailed accounts of the arduous routes from the East Coast to the West: around Cape Horn (south of South America), by ship to Panama, crawling across the isthmus' jungle (and risk yellow fever) and then with ship up the pacific, or cross the plains and risk being raided by Indian tribes. The Gold Fever was so ubiquitous that sailors abandoned their ships as soon as it hit ports. Most of the people who got rich weren't the gold miners, but rather those who took an opportunity to serve an inefficient market with produce, clothes, and services.
I found it an enjoyable read, but nothing remarkably special. Due to the writing style, it was hard to put yourself in the place of the people described. This knocks off a few stars, despite the good content.