Gold: The Marvellous History of General John Augustus Sutter (Peter Owen Modern Classics)

by Blaise Cendrars


In January 1848, John Augustus Sutter, "the first American millionaire," was ruined by one blow of a pickaxe. That blow revealed gold in one of the streams in Sutter's Californian estate, triggering the Gold Rush that brought hordes of greedy miners from every corner of the world to Sutter's vast domain. This is the story of this bankrupt Swiss paper maker who abandoned his family and made his way to America to seek his fortune. From New York he pushed westward, eventually acquiring a huge tract of land of which he was virtually an independent ruler and which was on the point of making him "the richest man in the world" when the Gold Rush brought disaster. For the last 30 years of his life, Sutter tried vainly to get compensation from the U.S. government. He died in 1880, a broken old man. This is a work of breathless pace, fantastic humor, and soaring invention: an extraordinary story extraordinarily told.

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