The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny
In the winter of 1846-1847, 82 members of the Donner Party, a group of pioneers traveling from Illinois to California, became stranded in the Sierra Nevadas after early, heavy snowfall. Thirty-six of them perished, and many of the surviving 46 had cannibalized the dead.
In Tulsan historian Michael Wallis’ latest work, he skillfully draws portraits of each Donner Party member without straying beyond the facts. His inclusion of pictures and first-person excerpts renders these people and their plight more real.
In this work, the reader receives an exhaustibly researched account that places the Donner Party in its historical context. Wallis shows how manifest destiny drove the Donner Party, and tens of thousands of others, to seek a better life in the West. He shows how dozens of poor decisions lead to atrocities along the trail — but also how perseverance saved the lives of many, against all odds. Highly recommended.
Liveright Publishing Corporation
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