After Hike Presentation: Saturday, September 14

Ethan Rarick, author of Desperate Passage

Ethan Rarick is the author of Desperate Passage The Donner Party’s Perilous Journey West  It is arguably the best book written on the Donner Party and it’s worthy of reading even if you have read other Donner Party books or seen Donner Party videos. He set out not to re-relate what happened but to delve into the human equation and the fateful decisions they made.  He relies on new archeological evidence as well as research on starvation, snowfall, and primary sources.

Rarick enlivens the story with his story telling skills to explore the human element.    At Starved Camp Peggy Breen’s son become unresponsive and may be dead.  She rubs him and shakes him.  We can feel the mother’s desperation.  She pushes some sugar into his mouth and…. you’ll have to read the book.  James Reed ends up carrying his daughter through the snow and feels her dying.  He scrapes the very last crumbs from the inside of a food bag and puts them in his mouth to warm them before putting them in Patty’s mouth.  That is drama