310 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88833-153-3




Reviewed by Barry M. Gough

Barry M. Gough is a history professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and
author of The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and
Discoveries to 1812.


The narrative line is the historians greatest gift, and Richard Thomas Wright has it in abundance. This is a fine book in many ways: it is based on a great deal of factual data (faithfully footnoted) and it builds on the pioneering works of other scholars. Wright’s reading public is of the general sort, but he never disappoints the student who needs to know the sources of information or where to go for additional information.

The theme of this book is gold in British and (later) Canadian far western territories. Wright skirts the whole question of policy and imperial frontier that has consumed others. He gets to the details of who went where and why. The photos in this book form a veritable rogues’ gallery. The list of all known “overlanders” is phenomenally important, not only to students of B.C.’s pioneer history but to genealogists besides.

Wright weaves the stories of his women and men into the general fabric of Canadian and American history. This is admirable and correct, for the gold rush was an international and even intercontinental phenomenon. The routes of the overlanders are described, and maps allow the armchair reader to see where the gold seekers forded the stream, got wet, dried out, camped, and swatted mosquitoes. No finer book has ever been written on this great human story. Wright’s book is a welcome addition to social history, and it deserves a wide audience.


Wright, Richard Thomas, “Overlanders,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/36284.