The Indifferent Stars Above
In April of 1846, Sarah Graves was twenty-one and in love with a young man who played the violin. But she was torn. Her mother, father, and eight siblings were about to disappear over the western horizon forever, bound for California. Sarah could not bear to see them go out of her life, and so days before the planned departure she married the young man with the violin, and...more
“The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride” tells the story of the Donner Par ...more
This account is a little different in that it does not focus on the Donners, but another family that was traveling in the party. Franklin and Elizabeth Graves, their married daughter Sarah, her husband, and their eight children left Illinois on their fateful journey. The story r ...more
I don't know how many of you played the computer game Oregon Trail, but it was all the rage when I was in elementary school. You'd pick your family members, head off with a wagon, a number of oxen, yokes, supplies, etc. Then, you'd head off on the Oregon Trail, praying for balmy conditions as you travel ...more
The horrific tale of the 87-member Donner Party and their tragic 1846-47 trek to California is one of the most effective "whine coolers" a chronic complainer can read. All in all, this account is riveting, although the title is misleading. The "Donner Party bride" is no more or less a significant figure than others who played roles in the "saga."
And what a saga. Crossing half a continent to get as far as Truckee Lake was onerous and harrowing enough. But the real horror began with a sudden ...more
The Indifferent Stars Above is the harrowing story of the ill-fated Donner party. During the vicious winter of 1846, the Cal ...more
Using old records and letters found in archives, census records, and published accounts, Brown tells a heck of a story. You keep hoping the end will turn out better for these people, yet you see them making awful mistakes (the first being not leaving St. Joseph Missouri by Mayday, and the second being the ta ...more
Well, (spoiler) they were right. But I felt this book was well written and very carefully researched. It you ever thought the idea of pioneering was romantic, you probably should read this book. That'll set you straight.
This was a comprehensive book about the Donner Party, the pioneers which in 1846 set out from Illinois to California and the hardships/horrors that they faced. I only knew a few basics about this story before reading this book. At times the "voice" of this book varied from being one of the pioneers; an interested observer; or a present day narrator. The subtitle is a bit misleading - although the Donner Party Bride (Sarah Graves) may have been the ...more
Page 133 I enjoyed the author's use of factual studies conducted about hunger and desperation. He sites a University of Minnesota study in 1945 which used young, healthy men who were, "subjected to severe calo ...more
I learned a lot about the ability of the human body to endure hardship for extended periods. I was amazed at how long these people were able to ha ...more
The story begins in Illinois, where in the 1830's there were catastrophic reasons why someone might leave the security of a know livelihood for a chance for a new beginning. The near collapse ...more
The author follows the entire ill-fated Donner P ...more
While it would be ...more
It was like the novel version of that old Oregon Trail game. Except more people eating. And a whole lot of tangents involving info on daily life, politics, family dynamic, etc., of 1840s America. Great book.