Snow Mountain Passage

Front Cover
HarperCollins, 2003 - California - 403 pages
A compelling and beautifully told story of extreme events that resonates the terrible cost of the American Dream. A powerful work of fiction that recreates one of the most tragic events of pioneer America, as a wagon train crosses the country to the Promised Land of California, only to be halted in the final stages by an early winter in the high reaches of the mountains. the emigrants endure the bitterest of winters with only the most slender of supplies and some members of the party are forced to extremes to stay alive. Based on the true story of what became known as the Donner party, the story of James and Margaret Reed and their children is one that begins with restless optimism, encompasses remarkable feats of courage and endurance, as well as the depths of human degradation, and ends with what seems like a miracle. Part of the story is told by James and Margaret's daughter Patty, reminiscing long after those dark days of 1847 when as an eight-year-old she witnessed scenes no child should ever see. Patty's voice is finely crafted, her story unforgettable.

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User Review  - Kirkus

A well-researched and vivid retelling of the Donner Party's 1846 winter ordeal and the struggle for control of the California territory. This time, there's a dual narrative, shared by elderly Patricia ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GCPLreader - LibraryThing

If you've watched documentaries about the Donner Party (canabalism!), then you'll want to read this book. I especially liked the narrative of the surviving daughter. how I admire these pioneers Read full review

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About the author (2003)

James D. Houston is the author of "Continental Drift" & six other novels, & of several nonfiction works, including "Farewell to Manzanar", coauthored with his wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston.

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