The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949

Book Reviews


piece. But there is nothing inside the covers to cause a scholar
to revise or extend his remarks or researches.
Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas
California Gold. By Rodman W. Paul. Cambridge (Harvard Uni-
versity Press), 1947. Pp. xii+384. $4.50.
Books and articles in great number have been written on Cali-
fornia's gold rush period, but, as stated by Mr. Paul, most of this
has been on the romance and search for gold and little about the
actual life and work of the miners. He undertakes to meet this
need for the period of 1848 to 1873. Throughout chief attention
is given to importance of the men at work, problems confronting
them and their own solutions, application of knowledge gained
by men from other parts of the world (European experience and
mining men, Georgians, Carolinans, Sofiorans, and South Amer-
icans), living conditions in the mining areas, lack of machinery,
and consequent use of the known and tried methods of other
The shift from accessible, surface sands to quartz and deep
sands necessitated introduction of machinery. Water was an im-
portant factor from the beginning, and, with the exhaustion of
surface sands, grew steadily in importance. Diversion of streams
in rich sand areas could be done by individuals, singly or in
small groups, but, as deposits declined in value or had to be
sought at greater depths, water in quantities was necessary. This
often required long sluices and eventually canals and tunnels,
with water impounded in order to maintain steady flow during
seasons of activity. Eventually men of wealth attempted to control
the water, and friction with the miners frequently resulted. Mr.
Paul discusses improvements of all methods of mining and shows
that in the early years these improvements came from the in-
genuity of the miners themselves. Skilled geologists and engineers
were scarce, and machinery was either crude, unavailable, or too
expensive. The matter of finances and promotion is considered,
and Mr. Paul points out that there was less outside capital sup-
port during most of the period under study in California than

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed September 22, 2014.