[]
[]

Desperate Passage

The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West
Rarick, Ethan (Book - 2008 )
Desperate Passage
Print

Item Details

In late October 1846, the last wagon train of that year's westward migration stopped overnight before resuming its arduous climb over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, unaware that a fearsome storm was gathering force. After months of grueling travel, the 81 men, women and children would be trapped for a brutal winter with little food and only primitive shelter. The conclusion is known: by spring of the next year, the Donner Party was synonymous with the most harrowing extremes of human survival. But until now, the full story of what happened, what it tells us about human nature and about America's westward expansion, remained shrouded in myth. Drawing on fresh archaeological evidence, recent research on topics ranging from survival rates to snowfall totals, and heartbreaking letters and diaries made public by descendants a century-and-a-half after the tragedy, Ethan Rarick offers an intimate portrait of the Donner party and their unimaginable ordeal: a mother who must divide her family, a little girl who shines with courage, a devoted wife who refuses to abandon her husband, a man who risks his life merely to keep his word. But Rarick resists both the gruesomely sensationalist accounts of the Donner party as well as later attempts to turn the survivors into archetypal pioneer heroes. "The Donner Party," Rarick writes, "is a story of hard decisions that were neither heroic nor villainous. Often, the emigrants displayed a more realistic and typically human mixture of generosity and selfishness, an alloy born of necessity." A fast-paced, heart-wrenching, clear-eyed narrative history, A Desperate Hope casts new light on one of America's most horrific encounters between the dream of a better life and the harsh realities such dreams so often must confront.
Authors: Rarick, Ethan, 1964-
Title: Desperate passage
the Donner Party's perilous journey West
Published: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2008.
Characteristics: 288 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., map ;,25 cm.
Local Note: 1
ISBN: 9780195305029
0195305027
Branch Call Number: 979.437 RAR
Statement of Responsibility: Ethan Rarick
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. [273]-279) and index.
Subject Headings: Donner Party. Overland journeys to the Pacific.
Topical Term: Donner Party.
Overland journeys to the Pacific.
LCCN: 2007023761
MARC Display»

From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Videos

Add a Video

There are no videos for this title yet.

Find it at DBRL

  Loading...

Explore Further


Browse the Shelf
Find Series Titles and Other Books Like This With NoveList

Subject Headings


Recommendations

  Loading...

Powered by BiblioCommons.
Version red_eye (red_eye) Last updated 2014/08/29 10:58