The Path to Civil War / 1853-1860


by Ken Salter

Paperback / $19.95 / isbn: 978-1-58790-359-5 / 394 pages / 6 x 9”

e-book / $9.99 / isbn: 978-1-58790-360-1


Historical Fiction / California Gold Rush / French Immigration in the California Gold Rush



GOLD FEVER Part Three – The Path To Civil War is the third volume of a three-part trilogy. While part of an on-going series, the books stand alone and can be satisfactorily read individually.

In GOLD FEVER Part Three  the Committee of Vigilance of 1851 has disbanded and violent crime is on the rise again in San Francisco. By 1854 the city averages nearly two murders a day with only a handful of convictions; armed criminals, cutthroats and the low life rule the streets at night. Efforts to outlaw gambling and prostitution have failed despite laws to prohibit these practices and public clamor to enforce them. By 1855, San Francisco has 537 saloons, one for ever fifteen men, women and children.

Placer gold deposits are nearly exhausted, yet gold seekers continue to arrive in droves. Competition for the meager gold remaining along the rivers fuels intolerance and animosity against foreigners, especially Mexicans, South Americans and the Chinese; even French and Italian miners are threatened. The San Francisco economy tumbles into recession which foments growing economic and political tensions. Southerners seeking to carve out a slave-holding state in Southern California gain control of California’s government and highest courts. California appears headed, like the nation, to a civil war over slavery. Will Manon’s restaurant be a target of the pro-slavery factions because she rescues and employs two former Chinese sex slaves? Will the economic downturn doom the restaurant and Pierre’s entrepreneurial enterprises? Can one raise a family and survive in this corrupt, lawless, and ruthless town as hotheads incite violence and chaos and push the city to the brink of civil war?



Ken Salter is a professor emeritus in Communication Studies at San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, where he taught critical thinking and  persuasive writing courses and directed pre-legal studies. He is also an international attorney specialized in international real estate and mining. He directed a placer gold mining company for 15 years based in Mexico and Chile. He is  author of several books about famous legal trials, including the Trial of Dan White, who killed San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. He and his French wife live in Berkeley, CA and in the Auvergne, France.



To purchase book, click on book cover.