The Donner Party's Perilous Journey West
by Ethan Rarick
The Donner Party has been synonymous with the most harrowing extremes of human survival. But until now, the full story of what happened—and what it tells us about human nature and about America’s westward expansion—remained shrouded in myth. Drawing on fresh archeological evidence, recent research on topics ranging from survival rates to snowfall totals, and heartbreaking letter 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.
A fast-paced, heart-wrenching narrative history, Desperate Passage casts new light on one of America’s most horrific encounters between the dream of a better life and the harsh realities such dreams must often confront.
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