The Donner Party was a group of American Pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846-47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the emigrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating those who had succumbed to starvation and sickness. Historians have described the episode as one of the most spectacular tragedies in Californian history and in the record of western migration.
Originally published in 1880, McGlashan's History of the Donner Party remains in steady demand as an authoritative account of the tragic episode; one of the most spectacular tragedies in Californian history
The name of the Donner Party has come to symbolize the struggle of all pioneers, for the Donner experiences were the pinnacle of human horror, despair, and suffering. This chronicle is a towering tribute to the band of pioneers who struggled over deserts and the High Sierra toward California during the rugged winter of 1846-47. The disasters they endured form a bold contrast to the comfort and safety of the contemporary-day Donner Lake region.
Mr. McGlashan was a contemporary of the Donner Party's children. From the many survivors of the expedition whom he knew and interviewed, from a personal knowledge of the route followed, from more than a thousand letters written to him by survivors, and from consultations with still-living authors of older works on the subject. McGlashan was able to verify the facts and write a book from the point of view of the survivors themselves.
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“Historians owe much to the patient industry of McGlashan, who brought together the facts of the tragic Donner episode. . . . McGlashan’s work will remain the standard, as well as the pioneer, presentation of facts. The editors have made a notable contribution in their lengthy introduction as well as in the maps, editors’ notes, and bilbiography.”—The American Historical Review
“The author’s account is still the best available on that famous expedition.”—Lake Charles American Press
"[History of the Donner Party] is now reprinted with excellent editorial notes and foreword by George H. and Bliss McGlashan Hinkle. Increasing its value for collectors of western Americana, the text is a photographic reproduction of the standard 1880 edition." (Salt Lake Tribune)
"Though first published over 60 years ago, McGlashan's notable book on the Donner party has been in constant demand, and this facsimile republication, with definite bibliography, additional maps, photographs and notes, together with an extensive foreword on McGlashan by George H. and Bliss McGlashan Hinkle constitutes the finest edition yet offered. . . . [McGlashan's] book is still a source on one of the west's greatest epics, and is here presented in a thoroughly satisfying edition." (San Jose Herald)
"This is a great item of Americana." (Saturday Review of Literature)
"McGashan expended tremendous energy in amassing historical evidence about the tragic fate of the party. . . . The firsthand information endowed his writing with immediacy and vitality. As a description of what happened, the book stands alone." (Choice)
"The author's account is still the best available on that famous expedition." (Lake Charles American Press)
“No book in recent years has given us so much pleasure as The History of the Donner Party, by C. F. McGlashan. . . . Seldom does a book written so long ago have the power of transporting one back through the years to that far-off day. But The History of the Donner Party does.”―The Grizzly Bear Magazine
"One of the most important sources of information concerning perhaps the best known, because it is the most sensational and horrifying, episode in western American history. . . . The History of the Donner Party is a splendid piece of work." (Utah Humanities Review)
"It remains supreme in its field." (The Argonaut)
"An item of Americana in general and of California's history in particular, this is an account of a tragic episode in the vast westward migration of the 19th century. . . . A reasonable and authentic version. The lengthy introduction, the editors' notes, the maps and bibliography, contribute a great deal to the factual matter in the body of the works. . . . It is gripping and heart-rending and can be read by those interested in adventure as well as by the students of history." (Kliatt)
"Historians owe much to the patient industry of McGlashan, who brought together the facts of the tragic Donner episode. . . . McGlashan's work will remain the standard, as well as the pioneer, presentation of facts. The editors have made a notable contribution in their lengthy introduction as well as in the maps, editors' notes, and bilbiography." (The American Historical Review)
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