American Experience: The Gold Rush (376)

An excerpt from the transcript:

James Rawls, Historian: In Gold Rush California, men from the United States who had lived lives presumably as upright citizens, came to California with great avarice. They were coming here to get rich quick. And they were frustrated men, because they were not getting rich quick, and they’re looking for someone to blame. What is the cause of my own failure? It’s not me. It’s someone else’s fault.

Narrator: Ever since the first American miners had arrived in California, they had been trying to expel foreigners from the gold fields. But for every one driven out, it seemed, another had come to seek his fortune.

Now, in 1850, there were more than 80,000 Anglo American miners in California, competition was at a fever pitch and anti-foreign sentiment was on the rise.

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Summer Reading 22 (2)

Andres Barba, A Luminous Republic

This short moral fable concerns the sudden appearance of a group of semi-feral children in a small South American town.

Rafael Sabatini, The Sea-Hawk

An adventure romance from one of the best writers of that genre about an English petty aristocrat who becomes a Barbary corsair.

Ottessa Moshfegh, Lapvona

An exceedingly dark story set in the medieval village of Lapvona about a greedy lord and a stunted peasant boy.

Summer Reading 22 (1)

Here’s what I’ve read so far:

Jane Austen, Emma

This may be the greatest English novel ever written because of its absolute formal control and incisively drawn storyworld. Every paragraph seems perfectly balanced. Bridgerton— which clearly draws from Austen’s masterwork–  appears garish and jejune in comparison.

Christopher Priest, The Glamour

I wish I’d encountered Priest earlier in my life. In this psychological thriller he reaches to the roots of the concept of glamour as a form of magic– a hidden aspect of the term’s contemporary usage we would do well to understand.

Patrick Hoffman, The White Van

This is a cracking debut crime novel that exhibits a deep familiarity with San Francisco’s geography.