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Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique Western Migration, 1856-1860 Paperback – April 1, 1992


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Handcarts to Zion: The Story of a Unique Western Migration, 1856-1860 + Recollections of a Handcart Pioneer of 1860 (Second Edition): A Woman's Life on the Mormon Frontier
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (April 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803272553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803272552
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #298,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[The Hafens] have burnished their scholarly work with a glowing, illuminated prose that is a joy and a delight. The combination makes this one of the finest, most readable source works this reviewer has ever seen."—W. H. Hutchinson, San Francisco Chronicle
(W. H. Hutchinson San Francisco Chronicle)

"This book illustrates the importance of faith/hope/attitude, call it what you will, with such startling clarity, readers might redefine aspects of their own lives before they even finish reading."—Wyoming Rural Electric News
(Wyoming Rural Electric News)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By William J Higgins III on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An enticing read of how the Mormon pioneers traversed the plains from Iowa to Salt Lake City in simple hand-crafted carts from 1856-1860. Beginning in Europe, once these destitute, insolvent individuals landed in America, they pulled and pushed their way 1200 miles to the land of Zion. While eight out of the ten handcart companies were sufficiently successful, but still with their own pains and sufferings, the center of attention is on the 4th and 5th companies of 1856.

Due to a late start, the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies of 1856 ran into an early, severe Wyoming blizzard, which resulted in many casualties and fatalities. With bone chilling cold, blinding snow, relentless winds, low provisions, fatigue and disorientation, the stories from their diaries and reminisces are shocking.

To quote Ephraim Hanks, who was a scout for the first relief party, "Many of the immigrants whose extremities were frozen, lost their limbs, either whole or in part. Many such I washed with water and castile soap, until the frozen parts would fall off, after which I would sever the shreds of flesh from the remaining portions of the limbs with my scissors. Some of the emigrants lost toes, others fingers, and again others whole hands and feet, one woman lost both her legs below the knees and quite a number who survived became cripples for life." We experience the courage and moral strength of these pioneers.

The appendixes include letters from Brigham Young defending his views on the handcart method of transportation, regardless of what rumors were circulating.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By bixodoido on October 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
When we think of people migrating westward in the 19th century, we tend to think of covered wagons rolling along the Oregon trail. What many of us don't realize is that many people made the trek by handcart--small, wooden carts that they themselves pulled all the way west. These carts, though they had to be pulled by hand, were often able to make the trip in substantially less time than were covered wagons--and at a fraction of the cost.
Under the direction of the Mormon church, ten caravans of these carts crossed the plains into Utah. Two of them met with disaster as a result of poor planning among the companies' leadership, but for the most part this form of migration was a successful one.
In this book, Hafen gives details about each of the ten companies, including charts showing mileage and number of immigrants. Though the book is tailored to an LDS audience, it's scope is broad, and it should be of interest to anyone wanting to study the colonization of the American West.
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By Judi Laughter on May 4, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best book on the handcarts to Zion. Very complete! My family is in it. A must buy! Love it!
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