In April of 1846, twenty-one-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and fourteen others set out for California on snowshoes and, over the next thirty-two days, endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.
In this gripping narrative, Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most infamous events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah's journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.
"In this gripping narrative, Brown reveals the extremes of endurance that underlie the history of this nation, and more than that, of humanity in any part of the world, even today, surviving great peril in search of a better life."--Nina Burleigh
"A compelling retelling of the ghastly events surrounding the Donner party. Daniel James Brown, using one survivor's experience as his focus, moves beyond the cardboard figures depicted in previous accounts and shows how the lucky few endured and survived."--Irvin Molotsky, author of The Flag, The Poet and the Song: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner
"Daniel James Brown brings the myth to life, transforming faint history class memories into gripping reality."--BookPage
"An ideal pairing of talent and material. . . . Engrossing. . . . A deft and endearing storyteller."--Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review
"A skillful, suspenseful study of the Donner Party. ... Brown creates a thorough and unique narrative. A moving man-against-nature tragedy that still resonates today."--Kirkus Reviews
"[Brown] tells the tale with a novelist's touch."--Boston Globe
"Remarkable. ... Hard to put down."--Seattle Times