Gold Rush Stories with Gary Noy
Wednesday, May 24, 7:30pm
PEGASUS BOOKS DOWNTOWN
Gary Noy presents Gold Rush Stories: 49 Tales of Seekers, Scoundrels, Loss, and Luck
In less than ten years, more than 300,000 people made the journey to California, some from as far away as Chile and China. Many were dreamers seeking a better life, like Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, who eventually became the first African-American judge, but others were eccentrics—perhaps none more so than San Francisco’s self-styled king, Norton I, Emperor of the United States. As Gold Rush Stories relates the social tumult of the world rushing in, so too does it unearth the environmental consequences of the influx, including the destructive flood of yellow ooze (known as “slickens”) produced by the widespread and relentless practice of hydraulic mining. In the hands of Gary Noy, a son of the Sierra, these stories and dozens more reveal the surprising and untold complexities of the Gold Rush.
The follow-up to the award-winning Sierra Stories.
“Gary Noy’s collection of standalone, standout nonfiction stories of the Gold Rush underscores once again the continuing role of this epoch as a catalyst for good writing. Again and again, we Californians return to this era to rediscover the breeder-reactor of literary energy set in motion by the first decade of American California. Noy has the ability to make old stories seem new and new stories seem like they have always been part of the Gold Rush canon.”
—Kevin Starr, professor of history at the University of Southern California; California State Librarian emeritus; and author of the multivolume Americans and the California Dream
“What a remarkable collection! An original and lively look at all the usual suspects, plus bears, weather, women, Joaquín, disappointment and dissipation, a veritable glory hole of highly polished nuggets from life on the frontier. Exhaustively researched and highly entertaining.”
—JoAnn Levy, author of They Saw the Elephant: Women in the California Gold Rush
“This fascinating book offers readers something new. Gary Noy brings together, appropriately enough, 49 tales drawn from familiar and unfamiliar sources, each rich with something compelling and memorable.... A satisfying representation of California’s Gold Rush, complex, unruly, appalling, uplifting, and, as we come to understand, ultimately never quite what we thought it was.”
—Terry Beers, Professor of English and American Literature, Santa Clara University
About the Author
A Sierra Nevada native and current resident, Gary Noy taught history at Sierra College from 1987 until 2012. He founded the Sierra College Center for Sierra Nevada Studies and served as its director until his retirement. His previous titles include Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues (Heyday, 2014), which won the Gold Medal for Best Regional Nonfiction from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, The Illuminated Landscape: A Sierra Nevada Anthology (Heyday, 2010), which he coedited, and Distant Horizon: Documents from the 19th Century American West (University of Nebraska Press, 1999). Visit his website at www.garynoy.com.