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Recollections of a Handcart Pioneer of 1860 (Second Edition): A Woman's Life on the Mormon Frontier Paperback – May 1, 2004
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The first 1/4 of the book describes her experience as a member of the 10th and final Mormon Handcart Company which made its journey in 1860. Although not one of the two infamous Handcart experiences, Hafen's company certainly experienced its share of challenges including exposure, death, extreme hunger, fatigue, and others. Hafen does an excellent, albeit cursory, job of describing her crossing of the Nebraska and Wyoming plains.
The book then takes a turn and Pioneer life in southern Utah is described. It is unbelievable (not literally) how these people did what they did to survive by meeting the basics needs of shelter, food, recreation and of course, love and marriage.
That said, it should be understand that the epicenter of this work is not the experience of crossing the plains, but rather the aftermath which in aggregate was equally or even surpassing that of walking the Mormon Trail.
Although the book reads like a journal, there are shocking and heart wrenching moments that grab the reader like a well-written novel.
This is a tremendous labor of love and a must read for any student of the Mormon Trail.
As a Gr Granddaughter of handcart pioneers, I've wondered what could have driven them to such extreme efforts, but my ancestors left very little in writing. This book was a small window into a culture that is difficult to understand. I only wish she had gone into more detail. Her calm acceptance of polygamy, and her courage in raising 7 children in such a desolate place, almost single-handedly, leaves much unsaid.