Catalogue


John Sutter : a life on the North American frontier /
Albert L. Hurtado.
imprint
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, c2006.
description
xvii, 412 p., [12] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 27 cm.
ISBN
080613772X (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, c2006.
isbn
080613772X (alk. paper)
catalogue key
6055579
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [385]-400) and index.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Spur Awards, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2007-03-01:
Question: which name glitters brighter, John Sutter or Albert Hurtado? Answer: either one! A new book by Hurtado (Univ. of Oklahoma) is always welcome, and a new biography of Sutter has been long awaited and desperately needed. Gold, indeed! Hurtado brings a lively narrative and an insightful look at one of the West's most curious men--a man who discovered gold and set off one of the epic movements in US history, but who spent most of his life broke, always planning for the next bonanza. Unlike previous biographers, Hurtado has used sources either ignored, underused, or unavailable. The result is a great read indeed. Beyond the biography is the larger story of Sutter's contemporaries, who either exploited or were themselves exploited by the California and the West they helped develop. Unlike other authors, Hurtado does not create a straw man to knock down, or draw the times so simply as to level out the rough, interesting parts. Instead, Hurtado's Sutter is complex and maddeningly human, and the times in which he lived not quite so simple. Another prize-winning contribution from Albert Hurtado, no doubt. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. L. Graves South Plains College
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-09-01:
This welcome biography of Sutter, known as the father of the 1848-49 California gold rush, updates Richard Dillon's Fools Gold: The Decline and Fall of Captain John Sutter of California. Hurtado (history, Univ. of Oklahoma; Intimate Frontiers: Sex, Gender, and Culture in Old California) taps into newly opened archival collections, writing new chapters in Sutter's life. A Swiss immigrant, Sutter has become infamous for his routine enslavement and killing of American Indians while trying to create his New Helvetia empire in the Sacramento Valley of Mexican California a decade before the discovery of gold at his mill. Hurtado expands on ideas he explored in Indian Survival on the California Frontier, showing how absolutely dependent Sutter was on Indian labor while building his agrarian business and settlement. Sutter's rise and his fall from grace after the gold rush-he fought for the right to the profits from gold on his land- are fully treated. This readable and well-written biography expertly places its subject in historical context. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.-Nathan E. Bender, Univ. of Idaho, Moscow (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
PW Annex Reviews, July 2006
Library Journal, September 2006
Reference & Research Book News, November 2006
Choice, March 2007
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
The definitive biography of California's renowned gold-rush entrepreneur.
Long Description
In the history of the American frontier, John Sutter (1803-1880) looms large. A Swiss expatriate who attempted to create a personal empire in California's Sacramento Valley, he founded New Helvetia, a cosmopolitan settlement whose economy depended on Indian slaves and free laborers. New Helvetia drew overland immigrants to California in the 1840s and then--after gold was discovered by Sutter's employees--a flood of fortune seekers. Sutter was poised to become one of the richest men in the West, but rapacious settlers and his own poor business sense sent his dreams crashing. Albert L. Hurtado has written the definitive biography of Sutter, mining a wealth of sources to create the first fully documented account of the man and his times.
Main Description
In the history of the American frontier, John Sutter (1803-1880) looms large. A Swiss expatriate who attempted to create a personal empire in California's Sacramento Valley, he founded New Helvetia, a cosmopolitan settlement whose economy depended on Indian slaves and free laborers. New Helvetia drew overland immigrants to California in the 1840s and then--after gold was discovered by Sutter's employees--a flood of fortune seekers. Sutter was poised to become one of the richest men in the West, but rapacious settlers and his own poor business sense sent his dreams crashing. Albert L. Hurtado has written the definitive biography of Sutter, mining a wealth of sources to create the first fully documented account of the man and his times. John Sutterexplores Sutter's life in the broader context of America's rush for westward expansion while plumbing the inner dynamics of this erstwhile empire-builder. Sutter was a quintessential outsider driven by anxiety over status--a man of talent, vision, and heroic ambitions who nevertheless became the victim of his own inadequacies as a businessman and his inability to adjust to a rapidly changing frontier. Sutter was full of contradictions. While building a reputation as a humanitarian friend of destitute immigrants, he callously exploited Indians. Nevertheless, this penniless dreamer became one of the most important men in California and a major player in the American conquest of the West.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
A Man and His Timep. 3
Opportunity on the American Frontierp. 16
A Tour of Western Enterprisesp. 30
Crossroads of the Pacificp. 43
Into the Valleyp. 52
An Entrepreneur in Indian Countryp. 67
A Merchant-Adventurer in Mexicop. 81
Foreign Intriguep. 92
Domain and Dominionp. 108
Misguided Diplomacyp. 125
Misfortunes of Warp. 136
The Indian Business Againp. 152
Signs and Portentsp. 164
American Conquestp. 189
A Restoration of Sortsp. 204
The Gold Rush Comethp. 219
Sacramento and Solvencyp. 235
A New State and Its Founderp. 251
Land Troublesp. 268
Hock Farm Homesteadp. 286
General Sutter and the Filibustersp. 297
The Final Fallp. 310
A Hero among the Moraviansp. 322
Epilogue: Settlement of Old Debtsp. 341
Abbreviationsp. 347
Notesp. 349
Bibliographyp. 385
Indexp. 401
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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