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H.W. Brands biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Read-Alikes

H.W. Brands

H.W. Brands

H.W. Brands Biography

H.W. Brands holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History at the University of Texas at Austin. A New York Times bestselling author, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American and Traitor to His Class.

H.W. Brands's website

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Interview

H.W. Brands explains why he chose to write about the California gold rush and why it marked the decline of America's 'long Puritan hangover'.

Bold Type: What prompted you to take up the story of the California gold rush?

H.W. Brands: It was really a subject I returned to. I grew up on the West Coast in Portland, Oregon and had learned about the gold rush when I was in school. It may get more attention in schools on the West Coast than in the East, or at least it did when I was growing up. Now I see history textbooks where the whole period gets one paragraph. Later when I was living in California I would go out on weekends to visit the gold rush country. I'm a twentieth century historian who has written a lot about the 18th century. Another of the reasons I wanted to write about the 19th century was that it's familiar even though it's not. A lot of the institutions and actors are known to the readers: the Congress, the debate over slavery, the Indian wars and the railroad. Unlike in earlier books, I don't have to spend a lot of backstory on British court politics, for example.

BT: Your earlier book The First American used the life of Benjamin Franklin to trace the birth and growth of a distinct American identity. The evolution of that identity is also a theme in The Age of Gold, but the means ...

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Books by this Author

Books by H.W. Brands at BookBrowse
Founding Partisans jacket Our First Civil War jacket American Colossus jacket Traitor to His Class jacket
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Read-Alikes

All the books below are recommended as read-alikes for H.W. Brands but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose read-alikes

  • Isabel Allende

    Isabel Allende

    Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Isabel Allende is the author of a number of bestselling and critically acclaimed books, including The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Eva Luna, Paula, and In the Midst of Winter. ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Age of Gold

    Try:
    Daughter of Fortune
    by Isabel Allende

  • Author Image Not Available

    Rinker Buck

    Rinker Buck began his career in journalism at the Berkshire Eagle and was a longtime staff writer for the Hartford Courant. He has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Life, and many other publications, and his work has won the... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Age of Gold

    Try:
    The Oregon Trail
    by Rinker Buck

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