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"In a class by itself. The novel takes one of the most ghoulish, garish parts of our national myth and transforms it into a dignified, powerful narrative of our shared American destiny."—The Washington Post Book World
"Houston doesn't try to cram us with history; he opens doors to it and invites us in. The result is an eloquent tribute to human endurance."—San Jose Mercury News
"A clear-eyed view of humanity's heart of darkness."—The Atlantic Monthly
"This is one of the essential stories of the American westward movement, and seldom has it been told with such exemplary passion and pathos. Houston has made another significant contribution to the genre's revival."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[Houston] is able to take on the territory of legend and make it his own."
-San Francisco Chronicle
Posted December 9, 2008
In 1846, the families leaving Illinois for the West Coast feel ecstatic about the success of their journey even though they have heard some harrowing tales. For instance, the Reed family consisting of a father and mother and four children headed by James expects to achieve a golden life in California. <P>However, problems occur in Nevada as jealousy and politics surface. James is forced to leave by himself with his family staying with the remainder of the Donner Party. Soon storms batter the group in the Sierra Nevadas while James tries to find help to save his family. <P> SNOW MOUNTAIN PASSAGE is an intriguing novelization of the disastrous Donner Party. The story line alternates viewpoints between James¿s desperate efforts to rescue his beloved family and through the six-decade-old memory of one of his daughters looking back to the disaster. The characters come alive as well as readers get a deep inside look at the human condition when tragedy strikes. James D. Houston provides a harrowing tale filled with passion and anger while making his present and future flashback techniques not only work, but prove he is quite an author of historical fiction. <P>Harriet Klausner
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Posted October 31, 2012
The mountains loom over the forest, casting shadows upon the land. Snow falls on the topmost peaks, and many cats think of this as a very bleak and lonely place to live. But the cats of MountainClan have found refuge in the peaks. Halfway up the mountain is a large stone clearing, a perfect place for cats to live. The dens are etched in the sides of the camp, and a tall gray boulder stands in the center. The slippery snow makes it hard for enemy warriors to attack, but it is easy for the sure-footed warriors that live here to defend their home. This is a perfect home for the loyal cats of MountainClan! ~ FangstarWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 4, 2009
I was overwhemed by this 8 year old young girls story of survival while stranded for four months in the California wilderness trail over the Sierra Nevada Mountians we now know as the Donner pass. The author captures this true life account displaying a beatiful style and a compelling account of the Reed family's suvival despite a starvtion substance and literally buried in thirty foot snow drifts over a brutal winter. While we are familiar with the Donnor family name this story is about Jim and Margrets youngest daughter and her recollection of what really a happened to thier family. The story shocked in the world in the 1850s and leaves the reader today pondering how this family's love keep them alive. AS a parent I wonder if I could have done what these parents did to to save Patty and her siblings life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 18, 2009
As a middle school social studies teacher, I am always looking for books for my students. This is one that I could easily give to my 7th and 8th graders who would not be intimidated by the length of the book. It was amazing how the little girl in the book could start the chapter narrating as her 80 year old self and segue into being back on the trail as a child. After completing the book, I checked the historical accurateness of some of the characters and the book was right on. I enjoyed the story as well as the history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2001
Posted December 8, 2010
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Posted January 29, 2010
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