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Ordeal by Hunger | [George R. Stewart]

Ordeal by Hunger

The tragedy of the Donner party constitutes one of the most amazing stories of the American West. In 1846, 87 people, men, women, and children, set out for California, persuaded to attempt a new overland route. After struggling across the desert, losing many oxen, and nearly dying of thirst, they reached the very summit of the Sierras, only to be trapped by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished; some survived by resorting to cannibalism; all were subjected to unbearable suffering.
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Publisher's Summary

The tragedy of the Donner party constitutes one of the most amazing stories of the American West. In 1846, 87 people, men, women, and children, set out for California, persuaded to attempt a new overland route. After struggling across the desert, losing many oxen, and nearly dying of thirst, they reached the very summit of the Sierras, only to be trapped by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished; some survived by resorting to cannibalism; all were subjected to unbearable suffering.

Incorporating the diaries of the survivors and other contemporary documents, George Stewart wrote the definitive history of that ill-fated band of pioneers, an astonishing account of what human beings may endure and achieve in the final press of circumstance.

©1936 George R. Stewart; (P)1996 Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (89 )
5 star
 (34)
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 (32)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (29 )
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 (15)
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 (7)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.8 (28 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Gyropilot 06-03-08
    Gyropilot 06-03-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    3
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    Overall
    "Life Changing"

    This book can be summed up in one word: WOW!

    Any problems you think you have just pale in comparison to what the Donner and Reed emigrant party suffered through in the winter of 1846-47. This story will haunt you and can almost be life changing. It really puts priorities in perspective.

    My only complaint with this audio book would be in the sound editing of the narrator's recording. Pauses (short gaps of silence) were apparently added between many of the paragraphs breaking up their natural flow. They're a tad annoying and unnecessary.

    The narrators reading was otherwise most excellent.

    I loved the book!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 01-17-10
    Michael Walnut Creek, CA, United States 01-17-10 Member Since 2002

    I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3308
    ratings
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    1391
    401
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    981
    9
    Overall
    "Excellent if you Really like History..."

    This is an excellent history with interesting stories and interesting characters. It is VERY detailed. Some may find the detail tedious, I found everything interesting. I have read other histories of these events, and this was the most detailed as well as the most touching.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Knoxville, MD, United States 03-22-08
    Bruce Knoxville, MD, United States 03-22-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    346
    ratings
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    501
    89
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    Overall
    "No hunger puns please"

    This book was wonderful. The additions made in this 1960's revision made it come alive for me. Virginia's letters at the end put everything in perspective. The narration was excellent.

    This book also answered some genealogy questions I had about the people involved. That really made me happy.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 06-16-13
    James 06-16-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    56
    ratings
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    133
    113
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    8
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    Story
    "Would You?... Could You? The Donner Party Had To!"

    Wow! I felt as if I was right there along with the Donner party, the way that the author, George Stewart, told this story. The book is detailed enough to really “feel it”, but also moves along at a good pace that keep you coming back for more.

    I was able to actually envision how the Donner party faced tremendous odds of adversity and had to resort to some of the most unthinkable acts in order to try to survive. Would you?... Could you? Well, if you were facing these odds… you just might!

    If you’re looking for a really good, true story, adventure book, this is the one for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 08-29-09
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 08-29-09 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1250
    ratings
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    388
    276
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    233
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    Overall
    "Powerful rendering"

    of an almost unimaginable event in American history.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Culver City, CA, United States 05-15-09
    Lisa Culver City, CA, United States 05-15-09 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    0
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    Overall
    "More about civil war than gold rush"

    I bought this because I'm interested in the Gold Rush. Two hours of listening and we're still on minutae of California pre-civil war politics and transcontinental politics.

    I doubt I'll finish.

    2 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-6 of 6 results
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  • Ray
    Mansfield, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "A harrowing story"

    This book is an astounding story of endurance and intrigue. What a human will do in order to survive!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Patricia
    Manchester, United Kingdom
    11/15/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "horrible"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    no I found this book not what I thought it was going to be, maybe I should have expected it from the title.


    What will your next listen be?

    something funny, or another history book.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    there was nothing wrong with it, just not for me sorry


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    unsure!!!!!!!!!!


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-2 of 2 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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