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Hard Gold (I Witness): The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: a Tale of the Old West

Hard Gold (I Witness): The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: a Tale of the Old West

4.5 11
by Avi, Alston Brown (Narrated by)

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
With the family's farm in danger of foreclosure, Early Whitcomb's young Uncle Jesse sets off for Pike's Peak and the promise of gold. The family is against his making the journey, but Jesse sneaks off in the middle of the night, right after a suspicious bank robbery. He sends word later that he has struck it big with gold, but he has also found trouble, so Early, the narrator and chronicler, joins a wagon train to head west and help him. The rest of the journey is comprised of travel hardships and news that the Gold Rush was a hoax, but Early knows he must find his uncle before more nefarious characters do. The journal style of the book causes the listener to feel removed from the action because Early is retelling events after they have occurred. The narration is fair, featuring a clear voice, good pacing, and some inflection, although it could have benefited from a more lively interpretation. Since the audio edition of this book is being released four years after the hardcover, it may be difficult to attract readers to this title. However, libraries that are in need of more historical fiction audio books may be interested in this edition. Part of the "I Witness" series. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 5�8—Early Whitcomb's family is in danger of losing their farm. They're behind in their payments, and a local banker is working with the railroad company to force them into selling. Early's young uncle, Jesse, thinks he has the answer. Handbills from the West indicate that gold has been found in Pike's Peak, Nebraska Territory, and it's there for the taking. Early's parents and older brother discount the reports, but Jesse and Early have the itch. Jesse soon sneaks off (under a cloud of suspicion due to a coincidentally timed bank robbery) to strike gold and save the farm. Early's family forbids him to follow, but when word arrives that Jesse has found gold and is in danger, he strikes out alone, joining a wagon train as a hired hand for a barber, his ailing wife, and feisty daughter. The grueling journey, a budding romance, and the possible ill intentions of fellow travelers add suspense and intrigue as Early learns how desperation and circumstances can change the course of one's life. The historical focus of Avi's novel (Hyperion, 2008) is broad. The endless wagon trains are likened to advancing lines of tiny white ants, but individual hardships are presented with considerably less detail. Dialogue and behaviors ring true, and the narration by Alston Brown is clear and pleasing. The diary style is well-suited for audio format. Similar to the "My Name Is America" series, Hard Gold brings history alive, particularly for boys.—Lisa Taylor, Ocean County Library, NJ

Product Details

Audio Bookshelf
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
December 23, 1937
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964

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Hard Gold: The Colorado Gold Rush of 1859: A Tale of the Old West 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loooooove this book so much. My class is reading it. It's a great book with great chracters. It's about the Colorado Gold Rush and has very exciting events in it. This is worth your money. PLEASE BUY!!!!
MudJM More than 1 year ago
This book provides a good background history of the old West. It focuses on the goldrush period and tells a story filled with relevant history. It tells how they lived in every day life. It's appropriate for grades 5-7.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard gold is a wonderful book i love how early is so sad when he cant wait to see if he finds jesse. Thanks fo making a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You really get a feel for what it was like back when the gold rush happened this everyone should read
Douglas Guenther More than 1 year ago
Very very few flaws
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jadaykennedy More than 1 year ago
This is only the second book I've read by this author. I admire the writing style. His books are absorbing and highly entertaining. The character of Early, a fourteen year old boy is accurate and effortless. The young girl, Lizzy is precocious and bucks against the constraints of being a woman and acting "ladylike." The description of the prairie and barren heat sodden dessert enhance the feeling you are there beside Early. I love a good historical fiction novel. T he gaggle of people travelling is rooted in the mid 1800's and steeped in the get rich dreams of the Gold Rush. The rush of people from the east settling the west in their drive for riches shows the price that was paid. From burying loved ones on the way, to having hard won gold stolen, to a buffalo stampede and people facing the possibility of losing their farms due to greed and progress (the railroad) are all portrayed and plunk readers down in the era of westward expansion and the Colorado Gold Rush. Early experiences a heck of an adventure. Travelling in a wagon train to Colorado he gts his first sweetheart and learns how to fend for himself without his parents. The book is packed full of fiction adventure and historical fact. The only drawback was I listened to an audio version and was deprived of artwork that could have added to the educational and entertainment of reading about the well told fictional history. Read for entertainment or to had to a section of history taught in a classroom.. the book is highly recommended. ???? ½
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a school librarian, Avi has created another great book a reader just can't put down! The story takes you on a journey with Early and Lizzy to the gold hills of Colorado from the Iowa plains. From this you learn about a very important part of our history as a country and the settling of the west. Boomtowns and how present cities like Denver came to be and grew from the migration of many hopeful eastern emigrants hoping to get rich quick.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago