The California Gold Rush was a shot of adrenaline in the settlement of the American West. While settlors had been trickling into California and Oregon prior to the discovery of gold by James Marshall in 1848, news of the his gold find energized people around the world to travel to the gold fields. In The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream, H.W. Brands vividly tells the story of not only the immediate effects of Marshall’s discovery, but also the broader effects of the California gold rush on the United States.
Operation Overflight: The U-2 Pilot Tells His Story for the First Time
Francis Gary Powers with Curt Gentry
Holt, Rinehart & Winston – 1970
On May 1, 1960, Francis Gary Powers took off from an air force base in Pakistan on an overflight of the Soviet Union in a U-2 spy plane. Detected by Soviet radar over Sverdlovsk, Powers’ aircraft was targeted by many missiles and interceptor aircraft. Ultimately, Powers’ plane was struck by a near miss and he was forced to bail out over the Soviet Union. Standing trial in Moscow, Powers’ was sentenced to ten years of captivity and labor.
Powers spent 18 months in Soviet prisons after his capture. Upon his release to the United States, he received a luke-warm welcome and was criticized for his failure to destroy the aircraft and his failure to utilize a poisoned pin to kill himself and avoid capture. Powers was ultimately exonerated by the Central Intelligence Agency and commended for his performance. Years after his release, he was awarded the Intelligence Star.