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The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny by Michael Wallis

The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny by Michael Wallis

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The Best Land Under Heaven:  The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny by Michael Wallace, is a 455-page hardcover published in 2017 by Liveright Corporation, a division of W.W. Norton and Company, and is a stated first edition. The overall condition of both dust jacket and book is in very good condition.

Book Summary

"Westward Ho for Oregon and California!"

In the really warm spring of 1846, George Donner placed this advertisement in a local newspaper as he in a restless caravan prepare for what they hoped would be the most rewarding journey of a lifetime.  But and eagerly pursuing what would a century later become known as the American dream, this optimistic yet motley crue of emigrants was met with a chilling nightmare in the following months, their jingoistic excitement would be replaced by desperate cries for help that would fall silent in the deadly snow covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada.

We have long known these early pioneers as the Donner Party, a name that has elicited horror since the late 1840s. Now, celebrated his story and Michael Wallace our greatest living writer of Americana continues his life's work of parsing fact from fiction to tell the true story of one of the most embroidered sagas in Western history.

Wallace begins the story in 1846, a momentous "year of decisions" for the nation, when incredible territorial strides were being made. Against this dramatic backdrop, and unlikely band of travelers appeared, stratified in age, wealth, education, and ethnicity. At the forefront where the Donner brothers George and Jacob, true sons of the soil determined to tame the wild land of California, and the Reeds, headed by adventurous business-savvy patriarch James. In total, The Donna Reed Group would reach 87 men, women, and children, and though personal motives varied Bachelor searching thirsting for adventure, parents wanting greater futures for their children everyone was linked by the same unwavering belief that California was theirs for the taking.

Skeptical of previous accounts of how the group ended up in peril, Wallace has spent years retracing its ill-fated journey, uncovering hundreds of new documents that illuminate how combination of greed, backbiting, and recklessness lead the group to become hopelessly snowbound at the infamous Donner Pass in present-day California. Climaxing with the grimm stories of how the parties paltry ration soon gave way done middle unimaginable hunger, Wallis not only details the cannibalism that has in perpetuity haunted their legacy but also the heroic rescue parties they managed to reach the stranded emigrants.

An unflinching and historically and valuable account of the darkest side of manifest destiny, The Best Land Under Heaven offers a brilliant, revisionist examination of one of America's most calamitous and sensationalized catastrophes.

ISBN:  978-0-87140-769-6
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