Even nonfiction can hold the stuff of nightmares. Through a combination of ignorance, extreme weather and ill-placed trust, they found disaster and death. I don't know whether or not my fascination with that particular immigrant group is unhealthy, but I will admit to the fascination--ever since I first read George Stewart's classic "Ordeal By Hunger" in the 8th grade. Add to Cart. My family then came back to California when I was nineteen. Perhaps the non-fiction angle helps explain why the story isn't gratuitous in its examination of the disaster. True story of the Donner Party. About: The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown is a non-fiction book telling the harrowing story of the folks being stuck on top of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in one of the coldest winters recorded. We’d love your help. Find helpful customer reviews and review ratings for The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride at Amazon.com. The author makes it more personal by following the life of one of the party, Sarah Graves Fosdick, as she and her family leave Illinois and head to California via covered wagon. But that isn't ALL that happened. Daniel James Brown, The Indifferent Stars Above; The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 337pp. More than a story of cannibalism, it depicts life in the 1840’s, what was going on in politics and in the world, and the adverse factors that converged to lead the party to become stranded in the Sierra Nevada in the winter of 1846-1847. As a college student, I explored some of the mountains around the Columbia Gorge at different times of the year so I thought I had an appreciation of what the conditions might have been like. The author makes it more personal by following the life of one of the party, Sarah Graves Fosdick, as she and her family leave Illinois and head to California via covered wagon. 2009. The Indifferent Stars Above. 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. Average Customer Ratings. It takes a lot to shock me and I am not squeamish at all but this book did it, it kicked my butt. I really wasn't looking forward to it, but the New York Book Review gave it flying colors so I figured I would give it a try. The Donner saga, however, retains its awful fascination. Look for similar items by category: books. The amount of research and the way it was written was just wonderful. Her daughter described Sarah on her deathbed as looking peaceful but far older than her years. Seven months later, after joining a party of emigrants led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. It's almost impossible to imagine what these people went through or what they had to do to survive with the way we live today however this book paints a pretty clear pictue of what actually happened. Many … Brown’s research is thorough, and he knows what elements to include to move the story forward. A really excellent take on a really horrific story. by Daniel James Brown. 'The Indifferent Stars Above' is well-researched and gives both the reasons for the decisions made by so many to pursue their luck in California and historical details of life in America in the mid of the 19th century. I've always been interested in the story of the Donner Party and I thought I knew a little something about it. I'm rating this a 4 star read but I found. This book follows the life of Sarah Graves and her family as they travel to California. Instead of being a shortcut, the route led them into very difficult terrain of mountains and canyons. The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party by Daniel James Brown. They got stuck in the snow and ended up eating each other to survive." When a young man of the party dies on the trail, Brown compares his hasty burial with the rituals that settled people would have performed at the time. "Oh, yeah, those are the dopes who waited too long to cross the Sierras in winter. Daniel James Brown. I've read a bunch of books about human survival in extreme conditions but as the title says this is the most harrowing. The author not only covers the lives of the emigrants but detailed descriptions of hypothermia and starvation and doing what you have to do to survive and to keep your children alive. I didn't expect to like this book, but it was what my book group was doing when I was first invited to join. I'm a California native and have known about the Donner Party forever. List Price: 25.99* * Individual store prices may vary. We can hazard the ravages of chance. The Indifferent Stars Above Daniel Brown Review by Rebecca Steinitz. The Indifferent Stars Above The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride by Daniel James Brown William Morrow June 2009 $24.99, HC, 320pp, 320pp, 978-0-06-13410-5 You think you have heard it all before, until you read the account of Sarah Graves and her bold decision to face the uncertain future with her new husband, Jay Fosdick. It's all the more excruciating because of the time the author takes letting you get to know the characters and finding out who they were as people before presenting their experiences in the infamous pas. Format: Trade Paperback ... of talent and material.… Engrossing.… A deft and ambitious storyteller.” – Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review. Book Reviews The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride. - Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review 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. Warning: This is an independent addition to The Indifferent Stars Above, meant to enhance your experience of the original book.If you have not yet bought the original copy, make sure to purchase it before buying this unofficial summary from aBookaDay. Read The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party (P.S.) In April 1846, as young newlywed Sarah Graves departed her Illinois home on a journey to California, she could not foresee the misery and horror that awaited her. There are some books that make you want to run outside, open your arms to the sky, and twirl in the cool breeze and sunlight… And there are some books that desperately make you want to stand with your fridge door open, in your heated/air-conditioned house that does not have bugs falling through the roof, with all your curtains shutting out nature, staring at all your processed food, and marveling that you don't have dysentery. The Indifferent Stars Above is a fascinating historical narrative about the pioneer era and the limits of human endurance, but it’s not one that most people will be recommending to all their friends. View All Available Formats & Editions. Daniel James Brown, The Indifferent Stars Above; The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride (New York: HarperCollins, 2009), 337pp. Sarah Graves was only 21 years old when she married Jay Fosdick on April 2, 1846. In Truckee CA, about 6 miles from the campsite at Donner Lake more times I... 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