The best gold rush books 📚

Browse the best books on the gold rush as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Klondike Gold Rush: Photographs from 1896-1899

The Klondike Gold Rush: Photographs from 1896-1899

By Graham B. Wilson

Why this book?

Although photography was in its infancy at the time of the Klondike gold rush, the event’s high-profile nature attracted many intrepid photographers, both amateurs and professionals. Graham Wilson’s carefully curated collection of 125 historical photos showcases their talents and offers a unique glimpse into the past. These are pictures to savor, as you study the faces, take in the landscapes and scrutinize the details of everything from clothing to mining equipment.

From the list:

The best books for understanding the Klondike Gold Rush

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Book cover of Bo at Ballard Creek

Bo at Ballard Creek

By Kirkpatrick Hill, LeUyen Pham

Why this book?

I first discovered this little gem of a book while researching a historical fiction novel of my own. Set in the 1920s, it’s about a little orphan girl named Bo who's being raised by two rough and tumble gold miners—both men. It’s a fun and exciting adventure story, while at the same time providing an insightful and authentic look at life after the famous Alaska gold rush. A perfect read for ages 8-12. 

From the list:

The best realistic fiction books for kids in tough family situations

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Book cover of I Shall Be Near to You

I Shall Be Near to You

By Erin Lindsay McCabe

Why this book?

You’ve just been married when civil war breaks out and your husband goes off to fight. What do you do? Remain at home, waiting? Rosette cuts her hair, dons men’s clothing, and goes off to fight alongside her husband. If this sounds far-fetched, you’ll be intrigued to discover that the novel is based on a firsthand account, which the author discovered on the shelves of a university library while in search of something else entirely.

I’d come across a handful of true accounts of women dressed as men while researching my own gold rush novel. I didn’t know, until I…

From the list:

The best historical novels about badass 19th century American women

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Book cover of Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush

Klondike: The Last Great Gold Rush

By Pierre Berton

Why this book?

Pierre Berton’s Klondike, published in 1958, was the first comprehensive account of the Klondike gold rush and quickly became a bestseller. But look for the 1972 revised edition, which added a lengthy preface, a listing of major characters (there are a lot to keep track of!), more maps, and an expanded main text. Not only is Berton a master storyteller, but he was also intimately acquainted with this history. Born in 1920, he was the son of a Klondike stampeder and a teacher who arrived in Dawson as things were settling down. Berton spent his early years growing up…

From the list:

The best books for understanding the Klondike Gold Rush

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Book cover of The Klondike Stampede

The Klondike Stampede

By Tappan Adney

Why this book?

This is the go-to book to learn about the Klondike Gold Rush. Tappan Adney was a journalist sent by a magazine to chronicle what was going on, and he did a good job. In 1897, he took a steamship to Skagway, then made the long trek into Canada over Chilkoot Pass, to Dawson, and on to the Klondike River. Because Adney was a trained newswriter, it doesn’t have quite the warmth of a personal diary, but there’s all kinds of good stuff. Especially, detailed descriptions of the hard journey on foot, daily disillusionment of the average stampeder, descriptions of gold…

From the list:

The best books about the Old West from people who actually lived in the Old West

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