The Indifferent Stars Above

Author: Daniel James Brown
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780061877254
Release Date: 2009-04-28
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

From the #1 bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable epic of family, tragedy, and survival on the American frontier “An ideal pairing of talent and material.… Engrossing.… A deft and ambitious storyteller.” – Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of pioneers led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes, and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors. In this gripping narrative, New York Times bestselling author Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most legendary events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah’s journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.

The Indifferent Stars Above

Author: Daniel Brown
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 9780061348105
Release Date: 2009-04-28
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

A chronicle of the mid-nineteenth-century wagon train tragedy draws on the perspectives of one of its survivors, Sarah Graves, recounting how her new husband and she joined the Donner party on their California-bound journey and encountered violent perils, in an account that also offers insight into the scientific reasons that some died while others survived. 20,000 first printing.

Desperate Passage

Author: Ethan Rarick
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780195383317
Release Date: 2009-07-08
Genre: History

Drawing on fresh archeological 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--ninety pioneers who became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter of 1846-47-- and their unimaginable ordeal.

The Best Land Under Heaven The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny

Author: Michael Wallis
Publisher: Liveright Publishing
ISBN: 9780871407702
Release Date: 2017-06-06
Genre: History

Cutting through 160 years of mythmaking, best-selling historian Michael Wallis presents the ultimate cautionary tale of America’s westward expansion. "WESTWARD HO! FOR OREGON AND CALIFORNIA!" In the eerily warm spring of 1846, George Donner placed this advertisement in a local newspaper as he and a restless caravan prepared for what they hoped would be the most rewarding journey of a lifetime. But in eagerly pursuing what would a century later become known as the "American dream," this optimistic-yet-motley crew of emigrants was met with a chilling nightmare; in the following months, their jingoistic excitement would be replaced by desperate cries for help that would fall silent in the deadly snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada. We know these early pioneers as the Donner Party, a name that has elicited horror since the late 1840s. Now, celebrated historian Michael Wallis—beloved for his myth-busting portraits of legendary American figures—continues his life’s work of parsing fact from fiction to tell the true story of one of the most embroidered sagas in Western history. Wallis begins the story in 1846, a momentous "year of decision" for the nation, when incredible territorial strides were being made in Texas, New Mexico, and California. Against this dramatic backdrop, an unlikely band of travelers appeared, stratified in age, wealth, education and ethnicity. At the forefront were the Donners: brothers George and Jacob, true sons of the soil determined to tame the wild land of California; and the Reeds, headed by adventurous, business-savvy patriarch James. In total, the Donner-Reed group would reach eighty-seven men, women, and children, and though personal motives varied—bachelors thirsting for adventure, parents wanting greater futures for their children—everyone was linked by the same unwavering belief that California was theirs for the taking. Skeptical of previous accounts of how the group ended up in peril, Wallis has spent years retracing its ill-fated journey, uncovering hundreds of new documents that illuminate how a combination of greed, backbiting, and recklessness led the group to become hopelessly snowbound at the infamous Donner Pass in present-day California. Climaxing with the grim stories of how the party’s paltry rations soon gave way to unimaginable hunger, Wallis not only details the cannibalism that has in perpetuity haunted their legacy but also the heroic rescue parties that managed to reach the stranded, only to discover that just forty-eight had survived the ordeal. An unflinching and historically invaluable account of the darkest side of Manifest Destiny, The Best Land Under Heaven offers a brilliant, revisionist examination of one of America's most calamitous and sensationalized catastrophes.

Under a Flaming Sky

Author: Daniel Brown
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781493022014
Release Date: 2016-02-01
Genre: History

On September 1, 1894 two forest fires converged on the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, trapping over 2,000 people. Daniel J. Brown recounts the events surrounding the fire in the first and only book on to chronicle the dramatic story that unfolded. Whereas Oregon's famous "Biscuit" fire in 2002 burned 350,000 acres in one week, the Hinckley fire did the same damage in five hours. The fire created its own weather, including hurricane-strength winds, bubbles of plasma-like glowing gas, and 200-foot-tall flames. In some instances, "fire whirls," or tornadoes of fire, danced out from the main body of the fire to knock down buildings and carry flaming debris into the sky. Temperatures reached 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit--the melting point of steel. As the fire surrounded the town, two railroads became the only means of escape. Two trains ran the gauntlet of fire. One train caught on fire from one end to the other. The heroic young African-American porter ran up and down the length of the train, reassuring the passengers even as the flames tore at their clothes. On the other train, the engineer refused to back his locomotive out of town until the last possible minute of escape. In all, more than 400 people died, leading to a revolution in forestry management practices and federal agencies that monitor and fight wildfires today. Author Daniel Brown has woven together numerous survivors' stories, historical sources, and interviews with forest fire experts in a gripping narrative that tells the fascinating story of one of North America's most devastating fires and how it changed the nation.

Ordeal by Hunger

Author: George R. Stewart
Publisher: HMH
ISBN: 9780547525600
Release Date: 2013-09-30
Genre: History

“Compulsive reading—a wonderful account, both scholarly and gripping, of a horrifying episode in the history of the west.” —Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. The tragedy of the Donner party constitutes one of the most amazing stories of the American West. In 1846 eighty-seven people—men, women, and children—set out for California, persuaded to attempt a new overland route. After struggling across the desert, losing many oxen, and nearly dying of thirst, they reached the very summit of the Sierras, only to be trapped by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished; some survived by resorting to cannibalism; all were subjected to unbearable suffering. Incorporating the diaries of the survivors and other contemporary documents, George Stewart wrote the definitive history of that ill-fated band of pioneers; an astonishing account of what human beings may endure and achieve in the final press of circumstance.

The Donner Party Chronicles

Author: Frank Mullen
Publisher:
ISBN: 1890591017
Release Date: 1997
Genre: History

The Donner Party has become a tragic icon of the American march west. From Independence, Missouri, to Sutter's Fort, California, the party endured almost unimaginable hardship and suffering. Author Frank Mullen Jr. gives us a day by day account of their struggle for survival as they journey across the trail west. The Reno Gazette-Journal and the Nevada Humanities Committee present Frank Mullen's account of the Donner Party, accompanied by hundreds of historical illustrations and Marilyn Newton's photographs of the trail today.

To Stay Alive

Author: Skila Brown
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763678111
Release Date: 2016
Genre: JUVENILE FICTION

In this novel-in-verse, a young survivor of the tragic Donner Party of 1846 describes how her family and others became victims of freezing temperatures and starvation.

Survival

Author: K. C. McKenna
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0515114057
Release Date: 1994
Genre: Fiction

Describes the desperate struggle for survival of a wagon train of courageous pioneers, who become trapped by harsh weather in a rugged mountain pass

All We Left Behind

Author: Nancy Herman
Publisher: BookBaby
ISBN: 9781483565910
Release Date: 2013-11-07
Genre: History

A Coming of Age Story Like No Other It is 1846, and thirteen-year-old Virginia Reed is pioneering two-thousand miles from Illinois to California with her parents, younger sister and brother, and the Donner family. She's proud to ride ahead of the wagon train each day beside her beloved father, James. But enthusiasm turns to alarm when her father and other party leaders make decisions that put the families dangerously behind schedule. Provisions dwindle. Hardships mount. Anger erupts. In a frantic effort to reach California before winter, the Donner Party takes an untried shortcut, with heartbreaking results. Virginia painfully realizes the fallibility of the adults in her life and begins to rely on her own judgment. When the party becomes trapped in the Sierra by early snows, she must find the courage to defy her father in order to save the rest of her family.

The Boys in the Boat

Author: Daniel James Brown
Publisher: Large Print Press
ISBN: 159413779X
Release Date: 2014-06-03
Genre: History

Traces the story of an American rowing team from the University of Washington that defeated elite rivals at Hitler's 1936 Berlin Olympics, sharing the experiences of such contributors as their enigmatic coach, a visionary boat builder and a homeless teen rower. By the author of Under a Flaming Sky. (sports & recreation). Simultaneous.

The Boys in the Boat

Author: Daniel James Brown
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780451475923
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Juvenile Nonfiction

Describes the American rowing team's triumphant and unlikely win during the 1936 Olympics.

Happy Like Murderers

Author: Gordon Burn
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571265060
Release Date: 2011-09-01
Genre: True Crime

An account of two people - Fred and Rose West - who lived together, raised (and killed) children, provided sexual services for anyone interested, and pretended to provide social services for single women. Investigated and told by one of the greatest journalists and writers of the last twenty years, this is the most powerful and upsetting true crime book you will ever read.