Item Details

The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny

Michael Wallis
Format
Book
Published
New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton & Company, [2017]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Variant Title
Donner Party in the age of Manifest Destiny
ISBN
9780871407696, 0871407698
Summary
An account of the 1846 Donner-Reed expedition reveals the true events surrounding the tragedy, profiling the adventurous characters who shaped the group and how various interpersonal factors led to their harrowing experiences.
"In the eerily warm spring of 1846, George Donner placed this advertisement in a local newspaper as he and a restless caravan prepared for what they hoped would be the most rewarding journey of a lifetime. But in eagerly pursuing what would a century later become known as the "American dream," this optimistic-yet-motley crew of emigrants was met with a chilling nightmare; in the following months, their jingoistic excitement would be replaced by desperate cries for help that would fall silent in the deadly snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada. We know these early pioneers as the Donner Party, a name that has elicited horror since the late 1840s. Now, celebrated historian Michael Wallis--beloved for his myth-busting portraits of legendary American figures--continues his life's work of parsing fact from fiction to tell the true story of one of the most embroidered sagas in Western history..."--Jacket.
Contents
  • Introduction: 1846
  • Prologue: Donner Lake, June 6, 1918
  • Call of the West
  • A migrating people
  • The best land under heaven
  • Gray gold
  • Snake heads
  • California dreaming
  • The bold plunge
  • Wagons ho! April 1846
  • Farewell, April 14-15, 1846
  • Independence bound, April 15-May 10, 1846
  • The journey
  • Queen city of the trails, May 10-12, 1846
  • Indian country, May 12-18, 1846
  • Soldier Creek, May 19, 1846
  • The others, May 20, 1846
  • People of the south wind, May 21-24, 1846
  • Alcove Spring, May 25-29, 1846
  • The rhetoric of fear, May 30-June 2, 1846
  • Ebb and flow, June 3-7, 1846
  • On the Platte, June 8-10, 1846
  • Life goes on, June 10-15, 1846
  • A letter from Tamzene Donner, June 16, 1846
  • The promised land
  • Change of command, June 16-19, 1846
  • Chasing mirages, June 19-25, 1846
  • Sage advice, June 26-27, 1846
  • A sense of urgency, June 28-July 12, 1846
  • Parting of the ways, July 13-19, 1846
  • The Donner party, July 20-28, 1846
  • Betrayed, July 28-31, 1846
  • The Hastings cutoff, August 1-22, 1846
  • The fearful long drive, August 23-September 10, 1846
  • Race against time, September 11-October 4, 1846
  • Blood rage, October 5-20, 1846
  • Perseverance, October 21-30, 1846
  • Out of time
  • Snowbound, November 1846
  • Desperate times, desperate measures, November-December 1846
  • The forlorn hope, December 1846
  • Camp of death, December 1846
  • The starving time, January 1847
  • In dire straits, January-February 1847
  • Man on a mission, January-February 1847
  • To the rescue, February 1847
  • The first relief
  • The second relief
  • The third relief
  • The fourth relief
  • Aftermath.
Description
xx, 455 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Technical Details

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    a| Introduction: 1846 -- Prologue: Donner Lake, June 6, 1918 -- Call of the West -- A migrating people -- The best land under heaven -- Gray gold -- Snake heads -- California dreaming -- The bold plunge -- Wagons ho! April 1846 -- Farewell, April 14-15, 1846 -- Independence bound, April 15-May 10, 1846 -- The journey -- Queen city of the trails, May 10-12, 1846 -- Indian country, May 12-18, 1846 -- Soldier Creek, May 19, 1846 -- The others, May 20, 1846 -- People of the south wind, May 21-24, 1846 -- Alcove Spring, May 25-29, 1846 -- The rhetoric of fear, May 30-June 2, 1846 -- Ebb and flow, June 3-7, 1846 -- On the Platte, June 8-10, 1846 -- Life goes on, June 10-15, 1846 -- A letter from Tamzene Donner, June 16, 1846 -- The promised land -- Change of command, June 16-19, 1846 -- Chasing mirages, June 19-25, 1846 -- Sage advice, June 26-27, 1846 -- A sense of urgency, June 28-July 12, 1846 -- Parting of the ways, July 13-19, 1846 -- The Donner party, July 20-28, 1846 -- Betrayed, July 28-31, 1846 -- The Hastings cutoff, August 1-22, 1846 -- The fearful long drive, August 23-September 10, 1846 -- Race against time, September 11-October 4, 1846 -- Blood rage, October 5-20, 1846 -- Perseverance, October 21-30, 1846 -- Out of time -- Snowbound, November 1846 -- Desperate times, desperate measures, November-December 1846 -- The forlorn hope, December 1846 -- Camp of death, December 1846 -- The starving time, January 1847 -- In dire straits, January-February 1847 -- Man on a mission, January-February 1847 -- To the rescue, February 1847 -- The first relief -- The second relief -- The third relief -- The fourth relief -- Aftermath.
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    520
      
      
    a| "In the eerily warm spring of 1846, George Donner placed this advertisement in a local newspaper as he and a restless caravan prepared for what they hoped would be the most rewarding journey of a lifetime. But in eagerly pursuing what would a century later become known as the "American dream," this optimistic-yet-motley crew of emigrants was met with a chilling nightmare; in the following months, their jingoistic excitement would be replaced by desperate cries for help that would fall silent in the deadly snow-covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada. We know these early pioneers as the Donner Party, a name that has elicited horror since the late 1840s. Now, celebrated historian Michael Wallis--beloved for his myth-busting portraits of legendary American figures--continues his life's work of parsing fact from fiction to tell the true story of one of the most embroidered sagas in Western history..."--Jacket.
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