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History of the Donner Party: A Tragedy of the Sierras

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224 pages4 hours

Summary

Of all the westward expeditions in American history, the ill-fated Donner Party's ranks among the most notorious. The band of California-bound pioneers set out in the spring of 1846 with high hopes that were ultimately dashed by the brutal realities of unfamiliar territory and unforgiving weather. The party's decision to take an untried shortcut sealed their doom, leaving them stranded in the frigid Sierras, where inadequate shelter and a rapidly dwindling food supply ended their quest in starvation, cannibalism, and death.
Newspaperman Charles F. McGlashan, who interviewed survivors and studied the diaries of Donner Party members, declared their story "more thrilling than romance, more terrible than fiction." Published in 1880, McGlashan's was the first reputable report of the unimaginable ordeal. More than a century after its debut, his account continues to shed light on the dark saga, revealing not only a stark tale of desperation but also inspiring acts of heroism. This valuable history will captivate anyone with an interest in exploration, adventure, and American history.

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