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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Cultural Heritage
  • Language:English
  • Series title:McBride Series
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:300
  • eBook ISBN:9781098304492
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098304485

Equal And Alike

by J. Michael Kirkland

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A young man leaves his father's farm to make his way, venturing West, in the mid 19th Century. Supported by a much older mentor, Joshua McBride is caught on a path that exposes him to diverse cultures, ethnicities, and religions. Contact with political operatives compounds his dilemma. All these circumstances shape his life. Not all these encounters are joyous and entertaining.

He experiences poignant events, sometimes passionate, sometimes disappointing, sometimes touching and on occasion, he suffers personal pain and suffering, as well as that of loved ones. All of which reveal the stuff of life that forces his maturity and contribute to his resolve to pursue of happiness.


A young man leaves his father's farm to make his way. He gravitates to Independence, Missouri, in mid 19th Century. It is not long before Argonauts form wagon trains to depart the city to make the trip across the continent to seek their fortune in search of gold in the California wilderness. Joshua McBride is curious.

He happens upon a meeting designed to recruit members to a company of gold seekers bent on making a fast trip to the goldfields. The man responsible for the meeting is Luther Chambers, a retired Army Captain whose accomplishments and demeanor demonstrate some prowess at providing safe and sound passage. Joshua is hooked.

At the appointed time, all one hundred twenty souls hell-bent on getting to California begin a journey that will forever affect the participants. All sorts of men from all sorts of cultures and lifestyles trust Captain Chambers to get them to the Mother Lode in one piece. These pilgrims have one objective; a quick and safe trek to the gold.

The relationship between Joshua and Luther flourishes. Joshua learns a great deal from Captain Chambers on the arduous journey. The mentor is careful not to reveal the identity or purpose of six members of the company who mingle as little as possible with the remainder of Pilgrims. The leader of this small band will play a pivotal role in the lives of Joshua and the Captain.

A plethora of experiences, good and bad, befall the young man and his mentor. Once in San Francisco, they part company and go each their own way. Joshua is content with his solitude. Events change his circumstances and he is thrown into a string of trials he has difficulty grasping. Multicultural relationships, diverse cultures, and ethnicities leave deep impressions on Joshua's soul. Bias manifests itself in virtually all those he comes in contact with.

Joshua's attraction to gambling frustrates Chambers who, although not in contact with Joshua that frequently, maintains vigilance on his young friend. Luther wants Joshua to seek a more stable life, however, Joshua is skillful enough to make substantial money at the tables in the gaudy casinos in Portsmouth Square. His success breeds a strong attraction.

Joshua believes he has chosen his own path, however the circumstances he is subjected to dictate his trajectory into a lifestyle far beyond his imagination when he began the journey from Independence, Missouri.

About the author

Mike can call himself a Native Californian. He was born in Taft, near the center of the State. Within a few months, his family moved, after his father was discharged from the Air force at the end of World War II.

They settled in Monterrey Park, California for a time. Ultimately, they moved to Temple City and then to Arcadia, both in California. He enjoyed sports and relished classroom experience, always interested in creative writing.

Stories of the Old West came to him naturally. Michael sat for hours listening to family stories about the early days from his grandfather, who was born near Phoenix, Arizona, in 1880. Members of the Kirkland family were early settlers in the Arizona Territory and have witnessed incredible change for over one hundred fifty years.

Michael's paternal great-grandfather participated in the Gold Rush, and family legend has it that he was "Shanghaied" by unscrupulous sailors who abducted him for a three-year sailing voyage to various ends of the Earth. He considered those three years part of his education and spent the remainder of his life as if every day would be his last. William Hudson Kirkland told his children a plethora of his adventures. Michael's grandfather had a sharp memory and recited tale after tale about his father's life, aa well as his own.

Life takes strange turns. Michale graduated from California State College, Los Angeles, with a degree in Accounting. He operated his own Certified Public Accounting practice for more than 40 years. His heart was in the annals of history, however, so he gathered family stories and stories of others, as his hobby.

Thirty years ago, Michael drafted his first book. The working title was Joshua. It seemed he never had time to complete the manuscript.

Once retired, he was compelled to complete the task. He enjoyed the process immensely. His first book, Equal and Alike is loosely fashioned after his great-grandfather's experiences in California. The second book, soon to be released, Taken At The Flood, takes place in what would become the State of Arizona.

Michael lives with his wife of many decades in Palm Desert, California. They have two children and five grandchildren.