Author Ken Lizzio’s Forty-Niner: The Extraordinary Gold Rush Odyssey of Joseph Goldsborough Bruff (The Countryman Press, $24.95) is a sparkling and fast-paced narrative of Bruff’s adventures way out West.
This new book should be on the shelf of all readers interested in the Gold Rush, for Bruff was one of its most perceptive participants and observers. Bruff was an ex-West Pointer, a conscientious diarist, cartographer, cartoonist and sketch artist.
The captain of a company of “Gold Rushers” from Washington D.C., Bruff sketched his overland trek and the goldfields once he got there, creating priceless moments, frozen in time, from a period for which photographs are either rare or nonexistent. He drew his fellow miners, Indians, bear confrontations, even a San Francisco lynching.
—Brian Dervin Dillon, Ph.D. is an archaeologist with more than 25 years of historic and prehistoric research throughout California’s Gold Country.