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Recent Books

Please note: Inclusion of a title on this page does not necessarily represent an endorsement.
Most of the books listed can be ordered from the major booksellers such as
Barnes & Noble or
OCTA Bookstore carries a large selection of trail-related items, including histories, overland diaries, maps,
guidebooks, and many of the titles below.


Frankye Craig. The Fateful Journey of Tamsen Donner. Henderson, Nevada: 21st-Century Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 0972262466. Fiction.

Scott T. Welvaert. The Donner Party ("Graphic Library Disasters in History" series). Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2006. ISBN: 0736854797. A graphic treatnent for children.


Roger Wachtel. The Donner Party. ("Cornerstones of Freedom" series.) New York: Children's Press, 2003. ISBN: 0516242180. Juvenile history.

Terry del Bene. Donner Party Cookbook. Norman, Okla.: Horse Creek Publications, 2003. ISBN: 0972221735. No, it does NOT contain recipes for human flesh! The cookery section appears to be pretty good but I'm sorry to say that the Donner Party material is full of inaccuracies.


Cynthia Mercati. Longest Journey: The Story of the Donner Party (Cover-to-Cover Chapter Books: Settling the West.) Perfection Learning, 2002. ISBN: 0756904269. Juvenile history.

Scott Werther. The Donner Party. ("Survivors" series.) New York: High Interest Books, 2002. ISBN: 0516239015 (lib. bdg.), 0516234862 (pbk.). Juvenile history.


Marilyn W. Seguin. One Eternal Winter: The Story of What Happened at Donner Pass, Winter of 1846-47. Boston: Branden Books, 2001. More juvenile fiction focusing on the Reed family, apparently based on Marion Calabro's Perilous Journey; the map is unfortunately rather crude and inaccurate.

James D. Houston. Snow Mountain Passage: A Novel of the Donner Party. New York: Knopf, 2001. ISBN: 0375411038. An ambitious novel which would have been improved by more detailed research, Snow Mountain Passage repeats tired old stories created 60 and more years ago. I was particularly disappointed by the depiction of Patty Reed, who little resembles the energetic, feisty character I've come to know.

Rodman Philbrick. The Journal of Douglas Allen Deeds: The Donner Party Expedition (New York: Scholastic, 2001.) Juvenile fiction in the form of a diary by an imaginary teenager traveling with the Breen family. Part of the Dear America series.


Marian Rudolph. Lovina’s Song. Marin Co. Calif.: Citrus Bay Press, 1999. ISBN 1-928595-01. Children’s fiction.

Marian Calabro. The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party. New York: Clarion Books, 1999. ISBN 0-395-86610-3. History for children and young adults. Many photos and illustrations, some never or rarely published before.

Bruce R. Hawkins and David M. Madsen. Excavation of the Donner-Reed Wagons: Historic Archaeology along the Hastings Cutoff. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1999. Paperback reprint, originally published in 1990.


Peter Limburg. Deceived: The Story of the Donner Party. Pacifica, CA: IPS Books, 1998. ISBN 0-395-86610-3.

Joseph A. King. Winter of Entrapment: A New Look at the Donner Party. Lafayette, CA: K&K Publications, 1998. 3rd ed. Does not differ much from the second edition (1994), but corrects a few minor errors. Major problems remain unresolved.


Donald L. Hardesty. The Archaeology of the Donner Party. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1997. ISBN 1-890591-01-7.

Houghton, Eliza Donner, The Expedition of the Donner Party and Its Tragic Fate. Introduction by Kristin Johnson. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. ISBN 0-395-86610-3. Bison Books reprint of 1911 original.

Frank Mullen. The Donner Party Chronicles: A Day-by-Day Account of a Doomed Wagon Train, 1846-1847. Introduction by Will Bagley. Reno: Nevada Humanities Committee, 1997. ISBN 1-890591-01-7. Reviewed in Donner Party Bulletin No.3.


Charles Kelly. Salt Desert Trails. Edited by Peter H. DeLafosse. Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1996. Hastings Cutoff Sesquicentennial ed.; originally published in 1930. ISBN 0-914740-37-7. Available for $13.95 plus shipping from Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101. Phone: 1-800-333-SAMW or (801) 328-2586; FAX (801) 595-0051; E-mail:

Kristin Johnson, ed. "Unfortunate Emigrants": Narratives of the Donner Party. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-87421-204-9.

David S. Lavender. Snowbound: The Tragic Story of the Donner Party. New York: Holiday House, 1996. ISBN 0-87421-204-9. History for children and young adults. Many photos and illustrations.


Eunice Boeve. Trapped!: The True Story of a Pioneer Girl. Unionville, NY: Royal Fireworks Press, 1995. ISBN 0-87421-204-9. Children’s fiction; the "pioneer girl" is, predictably, Virginia Reed.


Peter H. DeLafosse, ed. Trailing the Pioneers: A Guide to Utah’s Emigrant Trails, 1829-1869, Utah State University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-87421-172-7. Guidebook to five major Utah trails; the Donner route is covered in the chapters on the Mormon Trail and Hastings Cutoff.

J. Roderic Korns and Dale Morgan, editors, West from Fort Bridger: The Pioneering of Immigrant Trails Across Utah, 1846-1850. Revised and updated by Will Bagley and Harold Schindler. Logan: Utah State University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-87421-178-6. Rear pocket contains two maps. Must-read for Hastings Cutoff buffs.


Dale L. Morgan, Overland in 1846: Diaries and Letters of the California-Oregon Trail. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1993. 2 vols. Reprint; originally published by Talisman Press in 1963. ISBN 0-8032-8202-8. Must-read for serious students of the Donner Party.

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Revised: 31 Jan 2006

Original content copyright 1997-2006 by Kristin Johnson. All rights reserved.