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The Indifferent Stars Above

The Harrowing Saga of the Donner Party
Narrated by: Michael Prichard
Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the number one best-selling author of The Boys in the Boat comes an unforgettable epic of family, tragedy, and survival on the American frontier.

“An ideal pairing of talent and material.... Engrossing.... A deft and ambitious storyteller.” (Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review)

In April of 1846, 21-year-old Sarah Graves, intent on a better future, set out west from Illinois with her new husband, her parents, and eight siblings. Seven months later, after joining a party of pioneers led by George Donner, they reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains as the first heavy snows of the season closed the pass ahead of them. In early December, starving and desperate, Sarah and 14 others set out for California on snowshoes and over the next 32 days endured almost unfathomable hardships and horrors.

In this gripping narrative, New York Times best-selling author Daniel James Brown sheds new light on one of the most legendary events in American history. Following every painful footstep of Sarah’s journey with the Donner Party, Brown produces a tale both spellbinding and richly informative.

©2009 Daniel James Brown (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely enthralling

I picked this up after the LPOTL series on the Donner Tragedy, and honestly Henry didn't exaggerate. This book had me deeply enthralled, to the point of nightmares, and the narrators voice lends a serious, heavy air to the whole thing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Incredible story, unbearable narrator.

The narrator sounds like he's a flight attendant reading a PA safety message for the three hundredth time.

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Great!

I listened to this in three days. It was so well told and the amount of information was incredible. The delivery of the readers voice was good but stoned on a little at times and made it hard to follow here and there but I really enjoyed this novel and I will likely listen again

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Once again a beautifully written story by Daniel Brown

The story is compelling and Daniel Brown tells it by unfolding it one layer at a time with a master’s touch. He allows us to walk with him as he discovers the treasures of the story. Mr. Brown is an artist using the English language in a way only a few contemporary author are able. The epilogue of this book is something I will read many times. I will repeat what I once told a group of readers in Aunties Book Store in Spokane, Washington, “If Daniel Brown writes a book about the construction of a cardboard box I will read it!”

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very interesting and informative read

I really enjoyed this book. not only did I hear about Sara Graves and the Donner Party but the author incorporated recent studies about what they they went through, physically and psychologically. I will be listening to this book again.

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I was shaken

An incredible read, and the book that sold me on audiobooks. I binged this book over two days and I dont think my eyes were 100% dry in those 48 hours. it's an incredible story, meticulously researched and played out over part narrative, part insight over contemporary events, part drama, part horror. There were sentences that all I could do was shut my eyes. Michael Prichard has the perfect voice for this novel, rough and humble, and sets the mood of this harrowing journey all the more.

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super hard read

I'm always fascinated by history but this was a very hard read. Great writing and strong performance. Highly recommend

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Fascinating, but hard to connect

I suspect that, like many other people, I listened to this book because I thought The Boys in the Boat was one of the best books I ever read. This book is fascinating and full of interesting history. Unlike some other reviewers, it did not bother me that the author chose to go off on tangents about things that were not directly related to the Donner party. I love learning things, and to that end the book is a five out of five. However, it falls short for me in human connection, especially with Sarah. I was never able to warm to any of the people as they went through their harrowing adventure. It is clear that the author was deeply moved by the experience of writing this book, and I will continue to read his other work.

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Loved it

A wonderful book about a terrible tragedy. I truly enjoyed it and I recommend it.

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Unbelievable, chilling, and captivating.

I learned more than I wanted to know about the history of the Donner party. If you tend to be squeamish, don’t even start this one. If you think you are tough, you may be in for a surprise. All the drama of “Boys in the Boat”, but with a radically different outcome. Fascinating and very well researched.

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Profile Image for Lucie Burton
  • Lucie Burton
  • 04-28-19

Horrific story well told

the author provided a lot of background information into the time and culture these events took place in the context of, but without being dry. His research into starvation, frostbite and the other medical issues that were experienced by the Donner party allowed him to weave a richer story, instead of just reciting a timeline and quoting the few letters and diaries that are available from the members of the party.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful