Challenging yourself to read more is one of the best (and easiest) resolutions you can make for the new year! Whether you’re into fact, fiction, adventure, comedy, or fantasy, reading now is a great way to establish a hobby that will last you throughout the year.

We asked Fort Docent Joan Cochrane to share some of her top choices for books that cover Westward Migration and Early California history. Here is one of her favorites for adults:

  • The World Rushed In: The California Gold Rush Experience is “a collection of diaries, letters, and maps that tells the story of the Gold Rush. Some adventurers succeeded, some failed, but all had a fascinating story of life during the rush. Adults will love the authenticity of the letters and diaries. It engages the reader with everything from the maps of the journey west to letters addressed to William Swain at Sutter’s Fort.”

And one for kids (or those that are kids at heart):

  • By The Great Horn Spoon! is “one of the best read-a-louds for fourth graders. It is a wild story about a young boy and his steadfast butler that travel around Cape Horn to make a fortune in the Gold Rush. Their adventures and eventual arrival in California make a suspenseful, funny, and satisfying read!”

Our talented staff also have their own great selection of books to share:

  • 1500 California Place Names “For trivia fans who ever wondered how a place got it’s name in California, highly enjoyable for all ages and a great book to bring along on road trips.” — Chris
  • John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier “Hurtado’s comprehensive biography of Sutter doesn’t have the final word on his legacy but instead inspires others to further investigate this complicated man on their own.” — Colin
  • John Sutter and the California Gold Rush“This graphic novel provides children with a compelling and exciting way to dive into California History. It shows the effects—most far from positive—of the Gold Rush and how John Sutter was personally ruined by the influx of miners. I highly recommend!” — Jacob
  • The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner – “Interesting details support a gripping narrative that easily pulled me through this book. A quick but satisfying read.” — Jeff
  • Before the Gold Rush: The Sinclairs of Rancho del Paso 1840 to 1849 “While much has been written about John Sutter and his colony of New Helvetia, this fascinating read sheds some light on his lesser-known neighbors to the north (John and Mary Sinclair) and their reaction to their changing surroundings during the California Gold Rush.” — Kyle
  • Desperate Passage: The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West “I thought I knew all there was about the Donner Party. This fascinating book proved me wrong. I’ll never take for granted my ability to quickly drive over the Sierras again!” — Linsey

We encourage you to read these and let us know how you like them! All can be purchased both in-person and online by visiting our Sutter’s Fort Museum Store.

Members receive a special discount on all purchases. Not a member? Take advantage of March Museum Membership Month by joining Friends of Sutter’s Fort today!