The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 102
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
brings forth a great deal of information, hitherto unpublished;
it gives valuable information in terms of human interest. The
description of the discovery of gold, the slow spread of this news
into many parts of the world, and the rise of gold fever is expertly
covered. Several chapters, of more than usual interest, tell of the
routes and means employed by the thousands who made their
way to California, and to the diggings. There follows a chapter
entitled "The Byways," which traces the paths of other groups
who came by various routes other than those generally known.
Much material of historical value and interest is presented in a
simple, forceful manner and so entertainingly that the reader's
attention is unfaltering.
Repeatedly, the author makes it clear that gold was the "cata-
lyst" which "got California off to a good start on the road to be-
coming what it is today." While the theme occurs and recurs
frequently, it never bores. The author considers both in detail
and then more broadly all of the factors that influence the his-
tory of the state; the exposition and the wide range of human
affairs in business, industry, agriculture, banking, law, and gov-
ernment are all so presented as to hold the reader throughout.
Professor Caughey dips into the cultural history of the area
and treats of the earlier Spanish civilization and the additions
to it by the early American settlers in the region. Noteworthy
among the latter was the establishment of the first public school
in California. The author is not only interested in the cultural
history, but also the by-products of culture which receive as
much, if not more, attention. In particular, he shows the life in
the miners' diggings and in the cities and towns which supplied
their needs, and how the Americans as "architects, built upon a
cornerstone of gold." Of this gold which did so much good and
brought about so much bad, he writes, "Whereas gold dealt
roughly with the rudimentary beginnings in journalism, educa-
tion, religion, and the arts, it very soon redressed the damage."
And again: "The golden alchemy that caused stage and steamer
lines, banks and business houses, farms and factories, courts and
legislatures to blossom where there had been a desert, performed
like miracles in the realm of things cultural."
The scope of the book is indeed wide; it covers both the good
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/122/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.