Snow Mountain Passage

Snow Mountain Passage

by James D Houston

Paperback(First Edition)

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Snow Mountain Passage is a powerful retelling of our most dramatic pioneer story—the ordeal of the Donner Party. Through the eyes of James Frazier Reed, one of the group's leaders, and the imagined "Trail Notes" of his daughter Patty, we journey along with the ill-fated group determined, at all costs, to make it to the California territory.
James Reed is a proud, headstrong, yet devoted husband and father. As he and his family travel in the "Palace Car," a huge, specially built—and ultimately cumbersome—covered wagon, they thrill to new sights and cope with conflict and constant danger. Yet when a fight between Reed and another driver ends in death, Reed is exiled from the group and heads over the mountains alone. The fate of the other families, including Reed's wife and four children, is sealed when they set out across a new, untested route through the Sierra—their final mountain pass. Arriving at the foothills just as the snows start to fall, they are left stranded for months—starving, freezing, and battling to survive—while Reed journeys across northern California, trying desperately to find means and men for a rescue party.
An extraordinary tale of pride and redemption, Snow Mountain Passage is a brilliantly imagined and grippingly told story straight from American history.

*National Bestseller

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156011433
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 03/25/2002
Series: Harvest Book Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,075,812
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

James D. Houston (1933–2009) was the author of several novels and nonfiction works exploring the history and cultures of the western United States and the Asia/Pacific region. His works include Snow Mountain Passage, Continental Drift, In the Ring of Fire: A Pacific Basin Journey, and The Last Paradise, which received a 1999 American Book Award for fiction. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, Jim received a National Endowment for the Arts writing grant, a Library of Congress Story Award, and traveled to Asia lecturing for the U.S.I.S. Arts America program.

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Snow Mountain Passage 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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.

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.

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.

Harriet Klausner

GCPLreader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you've watched documentaries about the Donner Party (canabalism!), then you'll want to read this book. I especially liked the narrative of the surviving daughter. how I admire these pioneers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
remsmith More than 1 year ago
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.
patsyjo More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an incredible book!