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Handbook to the new Gold-fields   By: (1825-1894)

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In "Handbook to the New Gold-fields" by Robert Michael Ballantyne, readers are taken on a captivating journey into the heart of the gold rush era. Ballantyne, known for his detailed and engaging narratives, effortlessly brings to life the excitement, challenges, and opportunities that awaited prospectors during this historical period.

The book starts strong with a comprehensive overview of the gold rush phenomenon, delving into the historical context, social dynamics, and economic implications of this phenomenon. Ballantyne's meticulous research is evident in the rich descriptions of various gold fields around the world, including Australia, California, and South Africa.

What sets this handbook apart from others is its practical approach. Ballantyne brilliantly combines expert advice, tips, and resources for aspiring prospectors. From tools and equipment to mining techniques, the author covers an array of invaluable information essential for anyone hoping to strike it rich. Drawing on his own experiences, Ballantyne provides detailed instructions and precautions that lend credibility to his work.

Moreover, the author's engaging writing style ensures that readers remain hooked from start to finish. The narrative is filled with captivating anecdotes and personal accounts of adventurers who left their mark on the gold fields. This not only adds depth to the book but also allows readers to gain a firsthand understanding of the trials and triumphs faced by those who pursued the elusive gold.

While the book shines in its historical and practical aspects, it might be overwhelming for casual readers seeking a more casual exploration of the subject matter. Ballantyne's meticulous attention to detail, although commendable, may prove cumbersome for those not already deeply interested in the gold rush era.

Despite this minor drawback, "Handbook to the New Gold-fields" is an indispensable resource for history enthusiasts, researchers, and aspiring prospectors alike. Ballantyne’s expertise and passion for the subject matter elevate this handbook, making it an engaging and informative read. Whether one seeks to understand the allure of the gold rush or embark on their own prospecting adventure, this book offers invaluable knowledge and insight into one of history's most captivating eras.

First Page:

Handbook to the New Gold Fields, by R.M. Ballantyne.

This book was one of several books written by Ballantyne in or about 1858, for Nelson, the publishers. From a literary point of view it does not rank very high, because it was a "pot boiler", and not one of Ballantyne's dashing and spirited books for teenagers. There were three other books in this category, and we do not rate very high our chances of finding any of them and adding it to our collection.

Much of the book consists of long quotes from the Times correspondent. I am not sure, but I think that should really be read as "the New York Times correspondent". There are also long letters from the Governor of the area (a British colony), to the British Government, and their answers. Of course there were long intervals between these letters and their replies, because they had to cross the North American continent, and then the Atlantic by sailing vessel.

This book turned up in the Early Canadiana Online collection of early books about Canada, and the scans of the pages to be found on the Canadiana website were acquired using the very new (2005) screen grabbing tool created by ABBYY. Canadiana publish their scans at five different scales, of which we used the middle one, except for the Appendix, where we used the largest size, and OCRed it in the usual manner... Continue reading book >>

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