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Tragedy in the Sierra Nevada: A Narrative of the Donner Party [Kindle Edition]

B. Scott Christmas
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $1.99
 
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Book Description

The lurid story of the Donner Party - that unfortunate group of 19th century American pioneers stranded in the mountains and forced to cannibalize one another - has fascinated and horrified readers and television viewers for more than a century.

Now, with the clear prose and attention to detail that marks all of his work, author B. Scott Christmas brings a captivating narrative of this seminal American tragedy to a whole new generation, from the pioneers' Illinois departure in 1846, to their rescue in the California mountains in 1847.

Concise and highly accessible, Christmas's narrative is chock full of primary sources, from quotes, letters, and diary entries by survivors, to accounts from rescuers and journalists of the time.

With a seamless combination of historical integrity and narrative readability, this brief volume will fascinate enthusiasts of American history, while serving as a valuable resource for students, teachers, and researchers.


Product Details

  • File Size: 228 KB
  • Print Length: 75 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0066YVC5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,551 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
(18)
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reads Like Compelling Fiction March 9, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
As a student and enthusiast of history, even I recognize that when presented in a dry, scholarly, bare-facts kind of way, the most compelling story from our collective past can be boring. How refreshing then to read Christmas's short history of the Donner Party and be instantly transported to another place and time--albeit an ultimately terrible one for those involved.

Christmas does an excellent job of illuminating how the hope, promise, and excitement that comprised the pioneer spirit of the migration westward in the 19th Century quickly turned to unspeakable tragedy.

If your looking for some ghoulish exploration of cannibalism, this isn't the book for you. This is the story of people in search of a better life, who ultimately had to make unthinkable choices in the face of certain death. It challenges the reader to take a look inside him or herself and recognize our basic humanity and drive to survive. Even though I had been privileged to read this story before in another format, I couldn't put my Kindle E-Book down.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good clarification July 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good clarification on the history of the Donner party. Interesting learning about the chronology of events and hardships the settlors went though. We take so much for ganted today...abundent food, travel, communication. Back then the settlors were a brave lot...it is what made America great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book about a terrible event July 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this account of the Donner trail ride, the author brought the people involved to life for me. I could imagine their events, and feel some of the feelings that they must have had. This account helped me to understand more about the event.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but lacking In detail December 20, 2012
By Ed Ray
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read another account of this book titled THE DONNER PARTY that was much more detailed. This book is good but it leaves out a lot of detail . I would still recommend it.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Educational good read August 7, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
So sad to read what these poor people had to resort to to survive. Heartbreaking but good read! My husband and I both enjoyed this book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Adds little to the story April 26, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mr. Christmas' seventy five page monograph does little to add to the story of the Donner Party. While it is short and easy to read, it is more of an overview of events than a detailed study. A better choice would be the classic Ordeal by Hunger by George R. Stewart. The author makes assumptions which seem to be unsupported by the evidence and focuses mainly on the travails of the Donner-Reed Party at the Lake and Alder Creek. Even in this he leaves out much detail. For those with only a passing knowledge or interest in the Donner Party and the missteps, miscues, mistakes and just plain bad luck that ended with the wintering over at Donner Lake and Alder Creek during one of the most severe winters on record and the tragedy that led to the deaths of exposure, starvation and, in two cases, murder of forty one people, this work is a cursory introduction at best.

On a further note, the author consistently spells Mrs. George Donner's first name as Tamzene. He is not alone in this, but the correct spelling is Tamsen as there are many surviving letters which Mrs. Donner wrote to her sister with her name correctly spelled. This is a personal peeve of mine since I was born and raised in California and was taught that Tamsen Donner's refusal to leave her dying husband at Alder Creek and her care of her children, putting their survival before hers, is simply one of the greatest stories of heroism and self-sacrifice in American History. The least the author could do is make sure that her name is spelled correctly.
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Enjoyed reading the actual sequential details without the sensationalism but would have enjoyed the narrative more if there had been more detail about each individual character to bring the characters to life. After awhile it read a little like "the be-gats" section of the bible...factual but not very riveting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT ADVENTURE IN READING February 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read quite a few books on the Donner event. None have been on the same caleber as this. The writting was first rate and the editing superbly done. The thing I really appreciated was that nothing was hyped up or done only for shock value. The author did his homework and presented the facts in a clear concise manner and in this case the truth was far more inticing than anything made up could have been. This is one I truly was impressed by.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique look at the Donner Party Tragedy
I liked this book a lot. It's short and concise. I read it just after reading Patrick Breen's diary, and I appreciated the straighforward narrative, without the sensationalism that... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Careful Shopper
1.0 out of 5 stars Read another history
This is a very boring account. I started it and just couldn't bring myself to finishing. Have read some very absorbing accounts of the tragedy--but not this one.
Published 8 months ago by Judy Bresnan
3.0 out of 5 stars Donner Party
Donner Party , Donner Party now seating the Donner party your tables are ready. Tuff winter I'm sure but Pis poor planning!
Published 9 months ago by Ezra Stickette
5.0 out of 5 stars Cannibalism
A tragety in the making. The pioneers heading west had little knowledge of the type snowstorms they may encounter. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Clarence J. Geiger Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book.
I liked this book very much. It give you insight into the lives of the donnor party.the author didn't quote everything as the truth and fact but gives us hint so we can make our... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Geneva Gillett
3.0 out of 5 stars Al's reation
This book is a good book for general information on the Donner Party and the difficulty had by all those who endured difficult travel to provide a better life for their families. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Al
3.0 out of 5 stars A Book
A lot of this story had already been told by other authors. It was okay though. My girls and I read this while we were in the California Sierra Donner Summit area.
Published 21 months ago by paul martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read!
My father-in-law thoroughly enjoyed it. He is a connoisseur of early American historical accounts and thought it was a well written book & had trouble putting it down. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Guano
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More About the Author

B. Scott Christmas is a writer and researcher originally from Lexington, Kentucky. The author of five novels and more than 500 original poems, he has a degree in European History from Georgetown College, where he also studied Music and Creative Writing.

An avid reader and blogger, his research interests include Christian Origins and historical Jesus scholarship, Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, and the British Monarchy. His favorite novelists include Wilbur Smith, Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Kay Penman, and Herman Wouk. He considers himself a dedicated Harry Potter disciple, and he owns Jimmy Buffett's entire catalogue of music.

He lives with his wife and children in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Readers can visit his blog at www.serene-musings.blogspot.com.


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