In late October 1846, the last wagon train of that year's westward migration stopped overnight before resuming its arduous climb over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, unaware that a fearsome storm was gathering force. After months of grueling travel, the 81 men, women and children would be trapped for a brutal winter with little food and only primitive shelter. The conclusion...more
The author does, of course, discuss the cannibalism that was necessary for survival, but he does so without any sensationalism or gory det ...more
Searching on my nook later at the hotel, I came across Desperate Passage.
I really like the way Ethan Rarick researched the whole story, the book starts at the beginning of the Donnor Party journey and tells the whole story. Many things lead to the end result, delays, poor advice followed, pride and lack of know ...more
I couldn't put it down. It truly brought history to life. And I found a couple of wonderful heroes to look up to.
The first half of the book takes you into the lives of people on the westward trail. You learn about individuals who were drawn to take their families to a new land out west. Then you see what life was like upon the wagon trail and the decisions they had to make along the way. It's a very engaging account.
I found myself wondering how *I* wo ...more
This may be overly picky of me, but I hate it when nonfiction books get into "reasonable speculation" (as the author of this book calls it in the Author's Note). This book has a lot of relevant but unimportant speculative "details" about, for example, how a certain person loved riding horses and feeling the wind whip through her hair. Unless there's something from a primary source to back up that sort of detail, I really don't care.
At any rate, th ...more
I thought this was an excellent introduction to the events that unfolded in the winter of 1846 in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Much more emphasis is placed on the journey itself and the people in the party than on the atrocious events that occurred that winter. While the subject matter isn't for the squeamish, this book ...more
But if you've never read anything about the Donner party, this is a good place to start. It covers all of the general bases and does have a few additional pieces of information regarding our current und ...more
Author Ethan Rarick discusses this journey in his book Desperate Passage, how the Donners, Reeds, and other parties ended up in this situation, what they did to survive, and how ultimately the fortunate were rescued. This book is a fascinating read because it r ...more
"Desperate Passage" by Ethan Rarick is a tragic adventure story that tells the tale of a caravan of more than 150 people moving west in search of a new life but are halted by the harsh conditions of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Rarick did a fantastic job on writing this novel. One reason this is said is because he incorporated the use of imagery in his book to help readers experience the horrifying story that occurred in the mid to late 1800's. He used different adjectives to help the readers'...more
Today, I marvel at our remarkable ease, and my mind boggles at the plight of the pioneers who attempted that crossing some century and a half before my own journey.
We all know cursory information about the Donner Party: pioneers got stuc ...more