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Gold Diggers [PDF / EPUB] Gold Diggers Between 1896 and 1899 thousands of people lured by gold braved a grueling journey into the remote wilderness of North America Within two years Dawson City in the Canadian Yukon grew from a mining camp Between and thousands of people lured by gold braved a grueling journey into the remote wilderness of North America Within two years Dawson City in the Canadian Yukon grew from a mining camp of four hundred to a raucous town of over thirty thousand people The stampede to the Klondike was the last great gold rush in historyScurvy dysentery frostbite and starvation stalked all who dared to be in Dawson And yet the possibilities attracted people from all walks of life—not only prospectors but also newspapermen bankers prostitutes priests and lawmen Gold Diggers follows six stampeders—Bill Haskell a farm boy who hungered for striking gold; Father Judge a Jesuit priest who aimed to save souls and lives; Belinda Mulrooney a twenty four year old who became the richest businesswoman in town; Flora Shaw a journalist who transformed the town’s governance; Sam Steele the officer who finally established order in the lawless town; and most famously Jack London who left without gold but with the stories that would make him a legendDrawing on letters memoirs newspaper articles and stories Charlotte Gray delivers an enthralling tale of the gold madness that swept through a continent and changed a landscape and its people forever.


About the Author: Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best known writers and author of eight acclaimed books of literary non fiction Born in Sheffield England and educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics she began her writing career in England as a magazine editor and newspaper columnist After coming to Canada in she worked as a political commentator book reviewer and magazine col.



10 thoughts on “Gold Diggers

  1. says:

    The back cover blurb reads Mounties miners ministers and dance hall girls — they all came to Dawson City in the Yukon as the world went mad for gold Respected biographer Charlotte Gray has chosen six different individuals to profile in this book from among thousands who flocked to the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1890s There's the miner William Haskell whose partner Joe Meeker is tragically swept away under the ice by the swift current in the Yukon River; the selfless Jesuit priest Father Judge; British journalist Flora Shaw; shrewd businesswoman and entrepreneur Belinda Mulrooney;legendary law man Mountie Sam Steele; and my favourite a young American writer by the name of Jack London Each one of the interwoven stories is fascinating as the subjects struggle to make new lives for themselves in the far north at times barely surviving the harsh environment This is a well researched volume and I found it highly readable and vastly interesting


  2. says:

    Having read a lot about Dawson and the Klondike this book did not really add anything for me In fact I think Pierre Berton did a better job of organizing the chaos into a readable narrative in his famous volume Gray was in Dawson just a few months after I was there I do have a uibble with the copy editing which seems to have slacked off by the end of this volume the peak population of Dawson is given as 300000 rather than 30000; the amount of gold shipped out at the end of a particular year is said to have been 15 million TONS with a value of 9 million There is even a typo in the Dawson City librarian's name This book is perhaps best suited for those who are only just discovering the Klondike gold rush


  3. says:

    This book was great By blending the stories of various individuals from the period the author tells the story of the Klondike gold rush of the 1890s The reader learns about the hardships of the Northern landscape the risks involved in the journey and the chances that prospectors took to strike it rich The author tells the story of the Klondike with such vividness that it makes the reader feel as if they were there among the prospectors and other colourful characters of the Yukon


  4. says:

    Recently I was telling a family member who had worked and lived in Dawson City for many years about a book that I enjoyed reading called “The Yukon Grieves for No One” by Lynn Berk Being an avid fan of the Yukon Lore he proceeded to tell me about “Gold Diggers – Striking It Rich In The Yukon” by Charlotte Gray SoI went out and got a copyNo event in our history is legendary than the Yukon Gold Rush of 1896 With the discovery of rich gold deposits in Bonanza Creek 100000 prospectors headed for the Yukon within a few months People from all walks of life — Canadians Americans British even Australians — landed in the newly created Dawson City in search of instant wealth Hungry miners hoped for the one big strike; others for prosperity in this instant boom town; some for the adventure of a lifetimeThis is the story of the Gold Rush through the intimate lives of six extraordinary people the saintly priest Father Judge; the feisty entrepreneur Belinda Mulrooney; the struggling writer Jack London; the imperious British journalist Flora Shaw; the legendary Sam Steele of the Mounties; and the prospector William Haskell Brilliantly interweaving their stories Gray creates a fascinating panorama of a frontier town where desperados saloon keepers gamblers dance hall girls churchmen and law makers were thrown together in a volatile timeBeautifully illustrated with period photographs and documents of the Gold Rush Gold Diggers is a colourful and entertaining journey into a world gone mad for wealth Pierre Burton wrote that the Klondike experience was about “man search for himself as much as for goldIn reading this book you come to admire the brave souls who risked everything to go to the Yukon in search of this precious metal Like soldiers returning from war or mountaineers who have scaled Everest they probably came to realize that they were part of something bigger than themselves They accepted all the risks to get rich uick and pitted themselves against all the harsh cruel elements and somehow managed to survive They packed a lifetime of experiences in the briefest of spans and see sights that they will never see again – who out there claim that?I got a kick out of the author’s postscript about the spell of the Yukon and when a burlesue dancer told her that the men still outnumbered the women and that “the odds are good but the goods are odd” The odds are good that you will enjoy reading about the adventures of these colourful characters in the land of the midnight sun


  5. says:

    I love Charlotte Gray's writing style and for that reason she gets four starsThe book for me really only deserved a 35 rating but so be it This book illustrated five people who were willing to accept the challenges of digging Gold in the Yukon Gold Rush They were challenging times to say the lest from moving through over the Chilkoot Pass to adapting to the weather conditions which were so different from many were use to Gray choice William Haskell Belinda Mulrooney Jack London Flora Shaw Sam Steele and Father Judge These individuals all had their uirks and place in the history of Dawson Creek If nothing else they were influential powerful individuals during the early yearsI gravitated toward Belinda Mulrooney and could easily see how she was taken in by her husband As my family always said you should date someone like the Count even have an affair with him but one should never ever marry someone like the Count Belinda was fascinating in her own right and I will seek out her biography to read about herI loved Bill Haskell and Father Judge they were stand up decent people I could easily see how Sam Steele's arrival in Dawson City got people into a structured lawful society I didn't care for Flora Shaw but really she was only doing what she was told to do As for Jack London I got a whole new perception of him I also learned about scurvy which Gray illustrated beautifully in her writingThis book would be a great source if one was researching areas of the Klondike and didn't want to read the whole book It was certainly repetitive and could have used a good editor Especially an editor who READ the information prior to printing instead of just accepting spellcheck This was a real turn off as far as I am concerned as there were sentence structure issues


  6. says:

    Well told historical tales The only thing that would have been better is if they were fictionalized to be even closer to the reader That's just my preference Gray did a solid job of weaving six different character's lives together and to bringing the significance and feel of the arctic at the turn of the century into our modern day imagination by able comparison


  7. says:

    This awesome book is not about this kind of gold digging Nathaniel wondered? Though Jamie Foxx and Kanye West in the Klondike in 1896 probably would have been awesome At the very least the gambling halls bars and hookers would have been even rich from their patronageSonot about but totally about In seriousness though Gray did a great job with the book Gold Diggers covers the gold rush period from 1896 till 1899 viewed through the narratives of prospector William Haskell business woman Belinda Mulrooney Jesuit missionary Father William Judge author Jack London journalist Flora Shaw of the London Times and Superintendent Sam Steele of the North West Mounted Police Reflecting the demographics of the gold rush four of the characters are American; one is British and one CanadianFrom the Globe and MailThere are of course scores of books about particular aspects of the Klondike Gold Rush but perhaps only three authors can be said to have written thoughtful and truly enlightening narratives of the whole gaudy affairTappan Adney the famed canoeist joined the rush on behalf of Harper’s Weekly out reporting all the famous journalists and producing The Klondike Stampede in 1900 when the ashes of the event were still warmFifty one years later came The Big Pan Out which added an understanding of economics to the story Strangely it has never been reprinted and its author Kathryn Winslow seemed to have published almost nothing else but is remembered as the patron of American novelist Henry MillerAnd of course there is Pierre Berton’s Klondike 1958 Charlotte Gray who has steadily become Canada’s most important and certainly most careful and most readable producer of popular narrative history notes that her famed predecessor “reverberated with exuberance and sweaty machismo”She herself does not thank Darwin or God or FSM or whomever you would like to thank hereIn Gold Diggers Striking It Rich in the Klondike Gray sets out to revivify “the experience of a few characters in this large historical drama and to jigsaw together real stories to illuminate over a century later life in Dawson City” when it was booming with a deafening report All but one of the handful of individuals she has chosen are already uite familiar but they will never appear uite the same again once the readers have seen how she has made use of themRev William Judge SJ the so called Saint of Dawson was “a strange character – ascetic deeply religious guileless but not naive Those who met him recognized the uality of the man” He had no interest whatever in gold and being in his late 40s “was twice the age of most men there” such as Jack London 21 London spent a year in the Yukon soaking up material for future short stories but left with a mere in 450 in gold and only one tooth in his young head having lost the others to scurvy Then there is the heroic yet vaguely Gilbert and Sullivan ish character of Samuel Steele of the North West Mounted Police a well meaning martinet not completely untouched by the rampant corruption that Gray unravels so wellGray is one of those great authors who writes with eually sympathetic understanding of both men and women free of judgmental assumptions or home team boosterism As a result Steele comes across as the other half of his fellow imperialist tub thumper Flora Shaw special correspondent of The Times of London A female colleague described Shaw as being “as clever as they make them capable of any immense amount of work as hard as nails and talking like a Times leader all the time” When supping with a group of Mounties and three Tlingit prisoners soon to be hanged Shaw “behaved as graciously as if she was joining her friend the Duchess of Devonshire for dinner” Gray goes on to mention that Shaw was active in the anti women’s suffrage movement a fact that could use some elaborationThe two Dawsonites who seem closest to Gray’s heart are Belinda Mulrooney and Bill Haskell The former lived until 1967 nine years longer than even Robert W Service the last and least of Gray’s picks She was a working class Irishwoman who “could handle any amount of deprivation as long as she was making money” And she made a huge pile of it as a hotelier and deal maker only to fall prey to a professional con man posing as a French count As for Haskell he was one of the Yukon veterans who on hearing of the big strike on the Klondike River lit out from the community of Fortymile the proto Dawson some distance downstream near the Alaska border He was a working stiff and one of what Gray calls the “obsessive reckless individuals” drawn to such commotions Soon after leaving Dawson heartbroken by the death of his mining buddy and business partner he published a vivid but now obscure memoir and then disappeared completely from the historical recordA deep researcher and skilled explainer Gray is also shrewd calm and confident in the way she creates her book’s complex architecture She is likewise an engaging stylist Describing one of the catastrophic fires to which Dawson a place made of canvas and green lumber was prone she writes “People rushed out of the dance halls and bars as the roar of the flames competed with the fiddles and laughter”And she keeps her subtext subtle Like Berton she compares charmingly chaotic Dawson held in check by cops and soldiers with wide open Skagway on the US side ruled by crooks and murderers But she allows readers to discover for themselves the important underlying paradox It is this Exotic colonies though authoritarian by nature are also often the freest of places as they’re so remote from the seats of centralized power Hannah Arendt the great political philosopher once suggested that the best form of government is the temporary kind that pops up organically immediately after the revolution and dies as soon as a new constitution gets written For one noisy moment in 1898 Dawson must have been such a spot


  8. says:

    I decided not to rate this because I was admittedly distracted by the protests and riots happening in Minneapolis as I tried to read this And reading this was meant to be a distraction from all the emotional and physical fatigue of my neighborhood burning downAnyrate that has nothing to do with the bookThis is an interesting book covering a very specific slice of north american history Gray produces colorful characters from many walks of life who all converged at the Klondike to find gold or collect the gold from those finding it through ridiculous price gouging for food housing prostitution and entertainmentWe meet a young Jack London who would in many ways define the far north for most of the English speaking world An interesting near deathly chapter of his life that would define his literary career So though he failed at prospecting he turned his experiences in the north into millions We meet Father Judge who seems to have been the most respected and beloved man in the Yukon Then there's Belinda Mulrooney who would shape economic social and political life in the town she helped build out of the scrapping Sourdoughs There are a few other highlighted but these have the most interesting storiesBut yeah it's a very specific bit of history Covers just a few years as Dawson went from having almost no population to nearly 100000 and then back down to just a few thousand It's a story of crime violence especially against the indigenous people of the region greed lust loneliness desperation and flash in the pan wealthIn short it's a fascinating and relatively unknown bit of history


  9. says:

    I very much enjoyed this interesting read about the Yukon gold rush In it the author weaves the stories of 6 people who sought their fortunes in very different ways in the Klondike during that time I particularly enjoyed reading about Jack London as his novella Call of the Wild was a favourite childhood read I also liked learning about Belinda Mulrooney and Flora Shaw pioneering women who were instrumental in the development of Dawson City All in all Gray's book is an informative read about an integral part of Canada's history


  10. says:

    Gold Diggers is an extremely interesting read By the careful crafting of intertwining the stories of several figures in Klondike history as taken from their memoirs the reader gets a true feel for this time and place and the challenges cold loneliness starvation faced in their search for gold We of this modern age cannot imagine pursuing the dream while enduring such hardships often with no success


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