Friday, September 11, 2015

Book Notes: "The Forty-Niners", by William Weber Johnson (from Time-Life's Old West series)

"The Forty-Niners", by William Weber Johnson, is part of Time-Lifer's Old West series.

I treasure this series, as I've noted before, because they're full of stories culled from letters and journal entries and other ephemera of the times. It's one thing to get a dry recitation of facts and dates, and another to hear about the flavor of the times from the people who actually lived in them.

I especially enjoyed this volume because it was full of stories of my home state, California. I love knowing more about the place where I live.

I've been to places that are mentioned in this book. I've seen what they look like almost two hundred years past the time this book chronicles.

I've been to Downieville, a beautiful little mining town up in the Sierra Nevada, and reading about how it started as a rude collection of tents and shanties, populated by men who desperately hoped to make their fortunes . . . it fires my imagination. I can picture it, I can see it.

I've been to San Francisco, and reading about how once upon a time its harbor was full of abandoned ships, their masts piercing the skies, no one to sail them home, because all the sailors had jumped ship and run to the gold fields up in the mountains . . . it put that hilly, foggy, beautiful city in a completely new light for me.

I don't know how a historian would view this series of books because I'm not a historian. But as a simple reader, I loved them. I love hearing the stories of people who lived very long ago . . . but not so far away.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link; if you purchase a book from this link, I receive a small percentage of the purchase price.  (See full disclosure on sidebar of my blog.)

No comments: