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The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate
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The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  10 reviews
George and Tamsen Donner and their children, among the very first to leave from Illinois, joined emigrants headed to California in the spring of 1846. Beyond Fort Bridger, Captain Donner led a large party through a much-advertised shortcut. Delays and difficulties caused them to be snowbound in the High Sierras, facing the grim specter of starvation and extreme suffering.T ...more
Paperback, 425 pages
Published October 28th 1997 by University of Nebraska Press
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The memoir written by Eliza Donner, the youngest of the Donner children who lost their parents in the mountains. Eliza was four when her wealthy family set out from their comfortable home in Illinois to seek the new wealth in California. She remembers things in great detail, especially the time after they were rescued, and she and her sister Georgia were taken in by a German family, the Brunners, where they spent their childhood.

This memoir is less about the Donner Party, since the author was so
I'll admit that I am not a Pioneer scholar and living in California for my whole life, I have heard the Donner Party mentioned in numerous ways over the years without fully understanding their actual story. Although others will contest that Eliza Donner and her sisters were too young to fully comprehend what was happening along their journey, I think this book is still a fair overview and gives plenty of insight into the failed expedition.

Essentially, the "Donner Party" has come to represent ca
Kashmir White
What a grim and harrowing ordeal the Donner party and their companions went through. In spite of that, I really enjoyed this memoir from one of the surviving Donner children. The writing itself is very good; I found it to be very simple and straightforward and above all intriguing, especially considering the time period it was written in. I have found memoirs from this same period to be a bit difficult to access; this one is actually a gripping page-turner that allows you to empathize with the v ...more
Kelly Davio
A highly enjoyable read, but more a memoir of Eliza Donner's life that just happens to begin with the mountain tragedy. Worth reading if you are interested in the lives of the children after they reached the fort.
Anneliese Bennion
What a sad part of history! It was really engaging. Once I had started I had a rough time putting it down.

If you just want an overview of the story read the appendix. There are several different accounts with the author's commentary.
Decent but not what I expected.
This story is fascinating, and the description of such an intense suffering and determination is deeply touching. This first-hand account is written well by Eliza Donner, the youngest child of the Donner family.
Shannon Long
Grim story. Difficult to understand the greed and selfishness alongside the parental sacrifice that is recounted. I found on several occasions that I couldn't stop reading this book.
While it is an interesting story, the writing left much to be desired. I cannot imagine having to endure what they did and I am glad to know the story.
Heart and gut wrenching story of early travel to California.
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