The Gold Prospector's Handbook is one of our favorites. Some of it is pretty advanced with regards to reading a stream, geology etc, but it's also loaded with information of use to the absolute beginner. This book will have a place on your shelf for years to come.
Covers geology, stream dynamics (where gold is likely to deposit in a watercourse), how to pan for gold, tools, etc. This is a non-technical but somewhat advanced prospecting book that will help you in your search for gold. Black, 176 pages, ISBN 0-935182-32-2
Table Of Contents:
I. What is gold?
II. Is There Any Left?
III. Elementary Geology
IV. Elementary Mineralogy
V. Geological Agents
VI. Stream Geology
VII. Introduction to Placers
VIII. Stream Placer Prospecting
IX. An Introduction to Dredging
X. Setting Up and Testing Your Dredge
XI. The Initial Launch
XII. Dredging Principles
XIII. Principles of Lode Prospecting
XIV. Sampling Theory
XV. Other Valuable Minerals
XVI. Tools of the Prospector
XVII. Final Concentration Methods