With a documentary technique recently exploited by movies and radio, the author has created a vivid, fast-moving cavalcade of one of the wildest, and most flamboyant periods in our history -- the race for gold in California in the 1840's. From the first triumphant exclamation of a foreman's wife after testing the little lump of metal Jim Marshall had given her at Sutter's Fort, through the cries of ""riches, fame, fortune!"" from towns and cities all over the world, through the height of the fever as ships rounded the horn and wagons rattled across the desert, to the growth of towns and vanished dreams, the emphasis in this story is on people -- their dreams, hardships, luck, play, songs and communities. There are tales of men who really lived- Sam Brannon, breaking the raids of the notorious ""Hounds"" who marched through the mining towns terrorizing and burning; Julius Pratt who sailed in another Mayflower and lived through the brutal, tropic journey through the Isthmus; Jcaquin Murrieta,-the terrible Mexican bandit, finally captured by the Rangers; Studebaker, Hopkins and Amour -- later successful in fields other than mining; and the beautiful dancer, Lotta Crabtree, darling of the mining towns. And there was San Francisco as the tides of gold seekers surged in -- over-crowded, lawless, with swindles and robbery part and parcel of the life of camarader common hardships engendered. First- rate informative, energetic presentation of ""living history"".