If this had been titled ""Gold in them thar hills"" the title would have set the key to the text. For Phil Stong apparently thinks the subject of the California Gold Rush and its aftermath needs the crutch of smart aleck humor, cheap stories, and crude English. The book shows that he has accumulated a great deal of information, but that he has little sense of selectivity in placing gossip and legend alongside of fact, and giving it all equal value. Sometimes he labors to destroy a myth, long accepted, only to put another with questionable validity in its place. I'm not setting myself up as an authority on this phase of California's history, but this melange of fact and fiction, statistics and innuendo I found meretricious and dull and certainly not worthy of Phil Stong's unquestionable talents.