Gold Fever: Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush



Publication date:
16th April 2015

Foreign rights controlled by:

As heard on BBC Radio 4, Book of the Week.

Gold. For centuries people have been entranced by the riches it promises; thousands have gone wild in their search for it and surely there will be many more. After the Financial Crisis, the price of gold reached peaks never seen in history. All over the world, particularly in the United States, people with no experience of prospecting began shopping for shovels, pickaxes, gold pans, tents, generators, and all manner of equipment they had no idea how to use. And off they went mining.

In 2013, Steve Boggan decided he wanted a piece of the action, flying to San Francisco to join the 21st century’s gold rush in a quest to understand the allure of the metal – and maybe find some for himself, too. Meeting a selection of colourful characters dreaming of striking it rich, he gets a crash course in small-scale prospecting while learning about the history and economics of gold. He also takes us back in time to the original gold rush, two centuries ago, tracing the path of the first intrepid ’49ers’ who trekked thousands of miles, risking death for the chance of unimaginable wealth. Written with Boggan’s characteristic charm, Gold Fever is a hugely entertaining travelogue and a moving insight into a key period in the creation of modern America.


'A well-crafted quest story with heady fast-forward momentum. A doggedinvestigator's obsessive quest for Californian gold, and the backstoryof the gold fields, is alchemised into narrative treasure.' Iain Sinclair
‘Gold Fever is a wonderful mix of history, journalism and good old-fashioned adventure. It is this last aspect that really lends the book a unique appeal; Boggan is not afraid to get his hands dirty, and he shares his experiences and findings with great depth, humour and charisma.' Leon McCarron, author of The Road Headed West: A Cycling Journey Through North America 
Steve Boggan conveys the expectation of the prospecting, the excitement of the panning, the thrill of the find.He conveys powerfully the extent to which gold transformed America. - Telegraph
'[GOLD FEVER] is a beautiful book - funny, poignant, and well-written.' - Rudy Maxa, host of Rudy Maxa's World, America’s #1 travel radio show.'An excellent book ... superb, entertaining reading.' - San Francisco Book Review.‘Steve Boggan is an amazing writer who always brings to vivid life everyday people doing interesting and extraordinary things. He is somehow able to make people forget that he is a journalist and relate to him as an ordinary guy. The result in Gold Fever is a series of adventures, his own and those of others, both present and throughout the past history of gold rushes. This book is no 'fool's gold', but the real thing.’ - Luke Rhinehart, author of The Dice Man‘A lively narrative history… Boggan is a hugely likeable companion… this book is a romp’ - Spectator.'Terrific. Pack your bag, grab your pick, and set out with master storyteller, Steve Boggan, for a trip in this highly original travelogue.' - Daniel Klein, Sunday Times bestselling author of Travels with Epicurus.'A perfect mixture of travelogue, history and down and dirty experience, leavened by rich veins of humour and pathos. A gem, or should I say a nugget.' - Mick Conefrey – author of Everest 1953.'It is Boggan's wry, self-deprecating wit that makes [Gold Fever] so entertaining and enjoyable.' - Daily Mail‘[Boggan] has a wonderful time, respectful of men prepared to give up everything in return for very little, but roguish enough to drop the wink on their ornery, old-fashioned optimism.’ - Saga‘Steve Boggan takes the reader on an exciting adventure and proves that prospecting is as much about digging for humor and hope as it is finding gold.’ - Jennifer Pharr Davis, author of Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail.
Sun book of the week: 'Carefully reseached, funny and inspiring, I loved reading about the adventure and reckon you will too'

Other publications by Steve Boggan

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