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Diamonds - The Rush of '72 Paperback – 11 Aug 2004
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When two Kentucky prospectors, John Slack and Philip Arnold arrived penniless and near starving in San Francisco to deposit raw 'American' diamonds in the Bank of California, it caused quite a stir. Rumors flew across the city. This was going to be bigger than Kimberley and everyone wanted a piece of the action. But Slack and Arnold would be hard men to woo. This is a true story. What begins as a trickle in the Colorado mountains would grow into the great rush of 1872 and ruin the lives of almost everyone it touched.
From the Inside Flap
John Slack and Philip Arnold left home to get rich, never once entertaining the idea that they might end up poor. No one who left home young to seek their fortune in California set out with the intention of starving to death from a lack of funds or an absence of luck. It is true that most of the dreamers who crossed the mountains in search of gold didn't find any, and if they did, the publican or the bandit grew fat off them long before they began any digging. The idea that California was paved with gold was more compelling than the reality that California was the place where a man could lose everything he had, as well as his health and sanity. The editor of the San Francisco Alta knew well what drew men to his city. 'Bright visions of big lumps of gold and large quantities of them, to be gathered without any severe labor, haunt them night and day before they reach here. Here they hope to find a land where the inevitable law of God that 'man shall live by the sweat of his brow''has been repealed.' It was hope that had brought them out west in the beginning. It was hope that had sustained them in all the years they had not found hardly anything worthwhile. Once folks quit Elizabethtown it was rare they would ever return. Certainly no one ever expected Philip Arnold to return. The fact that he came back a rich man was astonishing to all. People never tired of talking about it, or of speculating on how he had done it, or why he had returned without John Slack. We all knew someone who had gone over the divide in search of a fortune, but almost no one could recall anyone ever coming back.
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13 September 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Reading this book for a second time, having given my first copy to a friend. I think it is great! The two main characters are likeable rogues, and the plot is packed with adventures and escapades. It's like Ocean's Eleven set in the Wild West in the 1870s. Well structured, well paced, and hard to put down.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 1 reviews
27 April 2006 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful.
Sam North's novel, though written in a light hearted style, explores the dark heart of the American Dream. Its main characters are all real historical actors and the story which unfolds actually happened and is a great example of rigorous research. Not wishing to give the story away I should only really say that my first immpressions of Slack and Arnold (the two prospectors and main characters) began to change as their tale unfolds because so much of what happens in their world is not what it seems and as the plot twists and turns so their characters develop and change too. What I really liked about this novel was the way that North explores the period, its greed, shortsightedness, and crass lust for riches at all costs, without being judgemental. The gaudy property of the fabulously rich is subltly juxtaposed with the harshness of extreme poverty and want. In my view, this novel goes a long way to reveal the gaping flaw at the heart of God's own democracy, the fact that its built on the bones of a crushed and disregarded native culture, the survivors of which (like other non-white citizens) are treated by the white, Anglo-Saxon characters, not so much with contempt but with indifference, as though they are invisible. I enjoyed this story very much and the fact that it's a true story makes it even more interesting. American History brought to true life.