Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience. By J. S. Holliday. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. Illustrations. Maps. Bibliography. Index. 559 pages. $17.50.
Drawing upon a thirty-year career in California history, Holliday has written an exciting and unique book on the California Gold Rush. Holliday started with the extensive diary of argonaut William Swain, but he supplemented it with additional Swain family letters plus the accounts of hundreds of others who shared the experience. Interspersing these eyewitness pieces into his narrative framework, the author has woven a rich account not only of travel by the northern route to California, life in the mining camps in 1849, and the return home, but also of the interaction with life back home in the East. Nothing in the Gold Rush literature quite compares to the book. It is a fitting capstone to the former director of the California Historical Society’s career, and a significant contribution to western history.