I picked up a book, The Indifference Stars Above by Daniel James Brown. I’ve read other books by this author, Under the Flaming Sky about the fires in Hinckley, MN, and the book Boys in the Boat.
The current book I picked up was about the Donner Party who went west in the mid-1800s trying to make a better life. I’ve read a few books about the Donner Party but was looking forward to listening to this one as this author tells stories in a very fact-based manner.
If you are into the Oregon Trail history, you likely already know about the Donner Party. They set out to head west too late in the season, crossed at a supposed “short cut” and got stranded in the mountains over the Winter. The group is more known because they were forced to do the unthinkable because they were starving.
The author didn’t leave out any details. He did a great job telling the back story or why the “shortcut” was chosen. He has a great way of telling many sides to a story and I appreciate that about him. The books aren’t a big “joy to read”…they are more informative…I might even classify them as a little dry.
BUT…I will say that sometimes, that’s exactly what I need. Sometimes after reading too many who-dun-its or too much historical fiction, I just need something fact-based and not filled with fluff. This book was exactly that.
Here is what Amazon has to say:
“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 pioneers 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, New York Times bestselling author Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most legendary 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.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.4 stars. I think I would say the same. It was very interesting…very terrifying…at times very hard to listen to. I can appreciate the work though. I like a fact-based story even if the ending isn’t all happy.
You can find the book HERE if you are interested.