How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush: An Adventurer's Guide to the Fabulous Riches Discovered in 1848

Overview

How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush follows the adventures of the charming, witty, fictitious Thomas Hartley as a way of offering a fascinating and fully historical portrait of life in the California gold fields. Archival imagery pairs with delightful and humorous artwork to produce a visual feast for the eyes. The inimitable Mr. Hartley’s guide is a unique snapshot of a key period in the economic development of our country—and a fun ...
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Overview

How to Get Rich in the California Gold Rush follows the adventures of the charming, witty, fictitious Thomas Hartley as a way of offering a fascinating and fully historical portrait of life in the California gold fields. Archival imagery pairs with delightful and humorous artwork to produce a visual feast for the eyes. The inimitable Mr. Hartley’s guide is a unique snapshot of a key period in the economic development of our country—and a fun romp through time.

National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information. 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Purporting to be written by gold-crazed prospector Thomas Hartley, this tongue-in-cheek how-to book provides a comical, but historically accurate portrait of the hordes of fortune-seekers who flocked to California in the Gold Rush of 1848. Most found not gold, but financial ruin, vile diseases, criminal betrayals and shattered dreams; those who did make their fortune tended to gain their wealth not from the fabled shiny stuff, but from offering less glamorous services to their fellow adventurers not yet cured of gold fever. Olson does a delightful job of capturing the breathless enthusiasm of Hartley, "The Author (henceforward plainly referred to as ‘I')", who secures a second-class passage to Panama and then onward to San Francisco in the company of his two best friends: ebullient Jim ("How will we spend the first million?") and Eeyorish Lansford ("Oh, I guess I'll go. But isn't there gold in Connecticut? Connecticut is considerably closer than California.") Allred's detailed watercolor illustrations complement lithographs, engravings, daguerreotypes, newspaper clippings and assorted memorabilia to make every page worth poring over. Each spread also includes a facsimile sheet from Hartley's ledger, recording the humorously vacillating balance in his account. Aronson's afterword explains that while "No record of Thomas Harley . . . has survived the years," his story is nonetheless "entirely believable." Believable, yes, as well as offering the perfect blend of education and entertainment, history and hilarity. Includes a list of online resources, suggestions for further reading, and brief encyclopedia of Gold Rush figures, places and vocabulary. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
VOYA - Kathie Fitch
This book purports to be the journal kept by Thomas Hartley, a young man who went to California with two of his friends ias quick as a jack rabbit,i despite opposition from his family and sweetheart, to make his fortune in the Gold Rush; however, the editor relates that the existence of Hartley himself cannot be verified. Be it fact or fiction, it is a delightful, whimsical romp thru the California Gold Rush of 1848. Thomas describes the trip from Massachusetts to the mining fields by sea, the city of San Francisco, the buying of tools, and their arrival at their claim in enthusiastic detail. The life of a miner was difficult, however. Illness, dishonest miners, thefts, gambling, and alcohol took their toll on the three friends, and they parted ways. Thomas eventually was successful but as a merchant rather than a miner. The book is chock full of humorous, colorful illustrations depicting the era. Thomas keeps a ledger of his earnings and expenditures, which adds to the story. The text is witty, informative, and accurate, resulting in a painless way to learn about an unprecedented even in American history. Reviewer: Kathie Fitch
School Library Journal

Gr 4-7

This fictionalized account of a young prospector and entrepreneur's gold rush adventures is presented as if it were an actual historical document recorded between 1849 and 1851. Both an editor's note at the outset and an afterword by Marc Aronson stress the fact that Thomas Hartley's existence cannot be verified. That said, Hartley's journey takes himself and two companions from Connecticut to the California gold fields via the Panama land passage and, ultimately, two years later, back again (wealthier and wiser) to reunite with his family and sweetheart. An antique-looking ledger sheet records his income and expenses on each page as he earns and loses money in various exploits, which include meeting greedy con men, gold strikes, and gambling losses in San Francisco. Old-fashioned language and tongue-in-cheek humor are used throughout. An excellent list of further reading and online resources accompanies the "Encyclopedia of the Gold Rush," in which unusual words and historical figures are defined and described. Richly illustrated with a mix of historically authentic lithographs and "Thomas Hartley's" drawings, this book is a colorful and lively introduction to the period for young history buffs.-Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426303159
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: NC990L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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