Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate” as Want to Read:
The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  232 Ratings  ·  14 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.  ...more
Paperback, 425 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by University of Nebraska Press (first published 1911)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Be the first to ask a question about The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Karen
Jul 29, 2012 Karen rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Giddy Girlie
Oct 02, 2014 Giddy Girlie rated it really liked it
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
...more
nicholas kreiling
Worth the long read

Somewhat long, but FULL of interesting facts. This book is well worth the time it takes to read in its entirety.
Kashmir White
Mar 26, 2014 Kashmir White rated it it was amazing
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
Tammy Burger
Listened to this on Libra Vox. I think this account reflects many people's experiences during the Westward movement. I was pleased to learn that the canniblism so associated with this expedition has been greatly exaggerated. It was an interesting look at the events through the eyes of a child, but also confirmed by documents and eye witness accounts by adults. Only about half the book is devoted to the actual travels, the other half is about what happens to this child once California is reached.
Richard Bennett
Dec 12, 2014 Richard Bennett rated it really liked it
A tragic account of the lost Donner Party, written by Mr. Donner's daughter in 1910. Not only was she there, she lived through it and later researched it thoroughly to give an accurate first-hand account. Written in a different style, but once you get used to it, the book becomes quite interesting. Not for everybody, but this is for the curious who wished to know what really happened to a group of traveling settlers, who got lost and stranded while making their way to California in 1846.
Kelly
Jul 07, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it
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.
Jamie
Jul 15, 2012 Jamie rated it it was amazing
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.
Anneliese Bennion
Nov 02, 2014 Anneliese Bennion rated it really liked it
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.
Megan
Jul 21, 2016 Megan rated it liked it
While the first portion of this book was about the Donner Party tragedy, most of the book was more about what happened in the lives of some of the survivors after the tragedy.
Lynsie
Jun 20, 2011 Lynsie rated it liked it
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.
Shannon Long
Nov 13, 2013 Shannon Long rated it liked it
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.
Elsie
Elsie rated it liked it
Nov 15, 2016
Judy
Judy rated it really liked it
Jan 11, 2017
Joyce I. Josey
Joyce I. Josey rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2015
Ray
Ray rated it liked it
Oct 05, 2014
Sheila Myers
Sheila Myers rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2016
Cathleen
Cathleen rated it liked it
Jun 30, 2015
Jackie Corbeil
Jackie Corbeil rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2014
Kathy
Kathy rated it really liked it
Mar 08, 2013
Donna Renee
Donna Renee rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2015
Abigail
Abigail rated it it was ok
Aug 03, 2013
Chame1eon
Chame1eon rated it it was amazing
Jun 06, 2012
Kimberly
Kimberly rated it liked it
Aug 24, 2014
Aimi
Aimi rated it really liked it
Jul 29, 2011
Kim
Kim rated it did not like it
Oct 14, 2014
Maria
Maria rated it really liked it
Jan 30, 2017
Bearded_Brewer
Bearded_Brewer rated it liked it
Aug 15, 2013
Benjamin
Benjamin rated it it was amazing
Dec 31, 2013
Karen Faunce
Karen Faunce rated it really liked it
Sep 06, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • History of the Donner Party, a Tragedy of the Sierra
  • The Stammering Century
  • Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party
  • The Human Predator: A Historical Chronicle of Serial Murder and Forensic Investigation
  • Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico: The Diary of Susan Shelby Magoffin, 1846-1847
  • Topgun Days: Dogfighting, Cheating Death, and Hollywood Glory as One of America's Best Fighter Jocks
  • Shadow of the Titanic: A Survivor's Story, a Biography of Miss Eva Hart
  • Dangerous Work: Diary of an Arctic Adventure
  • Which Way to the Wild West?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About Westward Expansion
  • Object: Matrimony: The Risky Business Of Mail-Order Matchmaking On The Western Frontier
  • The Circular Study (Mr. Gryce #10)
  • The Question
  • Left by the Indians: Story of My Life
  • Doctor on Everest: Emergency Medicine at the Top of the World - A Personal Account of the 1996 Disaster
  • The West
  • White Trash Cooking
  • Left for Dead: The Untold Story of the Greatest Disaster in Modern Sailing History
  • Defeat: Napoleon's Russian Campaign

Share This Book