Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West

Desperate Passage: The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West

by Ethan Rarick

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195383317
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 07/08/2009
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 243,576
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Ethan Rarick has written about politics, crime, business and sports throughout the West. His work has appeared in many publications, including the Los Angles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, and he is the author of California Rising: The Life and Times of Pat Brown. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Table of Contents

List of Characters
Prologue
Journey
Tribulation
Salvation
Author's Note
Acknowledgments
Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

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Desperate Passage 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a true documentary of this event, I would highly recommend this as both extremely interesting as well as based on facts.
AuthorByNight More than 1 year ago
I have read several books why researching events surrounding the Donner Party saga and this one is the best by far. Extremely well written and will keep your interest throughout. This is not a casual book that you will knock out in an evening because it contains so much valuable information and demands your attention. The characters will become more than acquaintances, they will become family. Bravo to the author! Get this book. You will not be sorry.
The-Write-Words More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot about the Donner Party and this is the definitive book on their journey. I especially liked the 'realistic' comparisons as to what these folk went through. Brougt it all home to a reader of this century. Every American should read this book. DebraE
Laura Stevenson More than 1 year ago
This is a great all around book! Wonderfully written with accounts of those who traveled the trail, great book for anyone wanting to learn the truth about the Donner Party and life on the California Trail! Great Book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading several Donner Party books, this is the best so far. Sticks as close to the known facts as possible relying on every source available. Wonderful reading non-fiction for American history buffs.
noblechicken on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Good account of the Donner party. I learned a lot about the subject that was otherwise just a generalization to me. Despite what happened, many people survived, but WOW, the trial by extreme nature is really intense. Snow 15 plus feet deep, and imagine trying to live in that condition, with whole families. Incredible odds and heroism displayed throughout, as well as survival. What I also find coincidentally fascinating is that the same year that the Donner party were stranded in the Sierra Nevada, the Franklin Expedition was going through a similar, even worse situation in the Arctic trying to find the NW Passage. I recommend this book for anyone interested.
SuzyK222 on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Well-researched, based mostly on primary and secondary sources, this book brings new archaelogical evidence to bear on the often sensationalized westward venture. The book presents a vivid picture of the tough decisions, not to mention the rugged country faced by the last group to head west over the Sierra Madres in 1846 without the lurid detail or moralizing. As the author says, "the members of the Donner Party did the best they could, which is a form of Everyman's valor."
queencersei on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This is a painstakingly researched novel about the ill fated Donner party. The novel is filled with many little details that are skipped over in many other accounts. Why did the party start out so late to begin with? Why did they choose to take a short cut over the longer, but better known and safer route? Who died versus who survived? What were the living conditions really like at the camp and how could anyone survive it? This novel answers all of those questions.
egonzaba on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Well researched and wonderfully written history of a tragedy of the American frontier. A page turner.
mstrust on LibraryThing 26 days ago
This book starts off slowly, just as the wagon party forms and begins its journey from Independence, Mo. Rarick takes the reader through the prairie as the Donner Party endures the heat, the loss of livestock, the deaths along the way. Once the party became stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the coldest winter on record, the many deaths occurred one after another, leaving many of the families with just one or two members alive.This is a well-researched book that has the advantage over older versions of this tragedy because of recent testings of bones found at the campsite. Rarick also goes beyond the events that made the party famous and gives accounts of what happened to the survivors years and even decades after.
coolmama on LibraryThing 26 days ago
Really well written, quite straight forward and matter of fact history of the Donner Reed Family.I was initially attracted to it as it stated that it was based on new archeaological evidence, but I did not find too much that I had not read about - except the bones at the campsites.Well researched and well written.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story itself holds the readers interest. The author expresses opinions about white emigrants and America during the 19th century that are intertwined with the facts. I only read history. I can spot opinion over fact easier than most probably, and believe placing opinion next to facts undermines an authors work and credibility as a historian.
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mstrust More than 1 year ago
This book starts off slowly, just as the wagon party forms and begins its journey from Independence, Mo. Rarick takes the reader through the prairie as the Donner Party endures the heat, the loss of livestock, the deaths along the way. Once the party became stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains during the coldest winter on record, the many deaths occurred one after another, leaving many of the families with just one or two members alive. This is a well-researched book that has the advantage over older versions of this tragedy because of recent testings of bones found at the campsite. Rarick also goes beyond the events that made the party famous and gives accounts of what happened to the survivors years and even decades after.
Lilo02 More than 1 year ago
I've learned very little about the Donner Party through out my school years. In fact all I knew about it was that they were a large wagon party that split somewhere in the Midwest and the half that went more the southern straight route were struck by cannibalism. Most people when hearing about the Donner Party and the fate that struck them think the most barbarious things that usually are involved with cannibalism. I never thought like that because I had a clear memory of what little it was that I learned about that party and its fate in school. Rarick does a great job, in so many ways, disecting cannibalism through out human history and how and why it grasped the hold of the Donner Party, or likely why they fell to such a fate, how the human psychology deals with it as it did with the survivors of the Donner Party. I highly recommand this book to all those who love U.S. History (and who have strong stomachs) to read this book.