Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009 looks promising for Donner Party buffs

With two, hopefully three major books about the Donner Party coming out, 2009 will be a banner year for followers of the saga.

First there's Gabrielle Burton's Searching for Tamsen Donner, published by the University of Nebraska Press and due out on March 1. Gabrielle describes her personal quest for the elusive heroine and ends with the first publication of all of Tamzene's known letters.

And you won't have long to wait for the next one: Daniel James Brown's book focusing on Sarah Graves Fosdick, The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of a Donner Party Bride, is coming out on May 19. It's published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. Dan has done a great job on his research and contributes a lot of interesting new perspectives.

As for the Alder Creek archaeology book, it's still in the works with no word yet on a publication date, but may well be out before the end of the year.

Other news: Using new software, I've been working on the New Light on the Donner Party website and am hoping to get the revised version up in the not too far distant future. (There are a lot of technical details to master and fuss with, so don't hold your breath!) I'm editing typos, correcting other errors, adding details. I've turned up a lot of biographical info: added two new individuals to the "Rescuers" page, info about Charles L. Cady, the Donners, the Reeds, Noah James, Walter Herron, and others. I've also turned up a lot of info about peripheral issues, like Walter Herron's and Tamzene Donner's families, which is interesting but not exactly relevant to the Donner story so probably won't make it to the website.

Also, Ric Burns' 1992 documentary The Donner Party, is available for download at various websites, including Blockbuster, LimeWire, The Movie Downloads, and others.

That's all for now -- Happy New Year, folks!


Anonymous said...

I just discovered a connection to the Donner family and discovered your site. Wonderful information! Thanks for sharing it

Kristin Johnson said...

Thanks! Glad you like it.

Eddie said...

I'm looking for well written book about the Donner Party. What would you recommend?

Kristin Johnson said...

Daniel James Brown's The Indifferent Stars Above is quite good, you might also like Ethan Rarick's Desperate Passage. Both are up-to-date tellings of the story.