Boggan, an author and Englishman, set off on a quest to the United States to try to understand the allure of gold. Living as a "prospector" for several months, he learned to pan for gold in the streams of California. Along the way, he learned, and recounts in the book, about the history of the original "49'ers" gold rush of the mid-1800's, the economics of gold, and the modern-day quests for gold. He also met a wide variety of characters, and vividly describes his interactions with them. As he tries to understand what gold "fever" was, he continuously examines his own feelings, finding that he, too, can feel himself drifting off into the "fever".
Excellently written, you cannot help but feel the pull of the search for gold yourself. The book is very thoughtfully written, yet entertaining and great fun. Highly recommended!