Guess what! An Archaeology of Desperation: Exploring the Donner Party's Alder Creek Camp is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble, and, no doubt, other fine emporia. The publisher is the University of Oklahoma Press, the ISBN is 1806142103, and the release date is October 20, 2011. Dr. Kelly Dixon is just checking the last set of galleys, and then that puppy's going to bed!
This isn't a trade book, so Amazon and B&N aren't offering any discounts off the list price of $34.95. But it's worth it (IMO) for a hefty tome (~350 pages), with a lot of variety (10 chapters, 18 contributors), and a lot of new and exciting information. Here's the table of contents:
- Sufferers in the mountains: the Donner Party disaster / Kristin Johnson
- The aftermath of tragedy : the Donner camps in later years / Kristin Johnson
- Historical perspectives on the archaeology of the Donner Party / Donald L. Hardesty
- An archaeology of despair / Kelly J. Dixon
- A family in crisis : archaeology of a survival camp / Julie M. Schablitsky
- What remains : species identification and bone histology / Gwen Robbins and Kelsey Gray, with contributions by Guy L. Tasa, Ryne Danielson, and Matt Irish
- Man and beast : skeletal signatures of a starvation diet / Shannon A. Novak
- The delicate question : cannibalism in prehistoric and historic times / G. Richard Scott and Sean McMurry
- Under watchful eyes : Washoe narratives of the Donner Party / Jo Ann Nevers and Penny Rucks, with contributions by Lana Hicks, Steven James, and Melba Rakow
- "All remember the fate of the Donner Party" : history and the disaster at Cannibal Camp / Will Bagley and Kristin Johnson
- Concluding thoughts / Kelly J. Dixon and Julie M. Schablitsky
A note on the cover: the illustration first appeared on the New Yorker of April 24, 2006, which contained Dana Goodyear's article, "What Happened at Alder Creek? Investigating the Donners."
Standard disclaimer: I have no financial interest in the book, alas. Although it will probably sell well (for a scholarly book), there are so many contributors that a division of the royalties would net each author a mere pittance, so the proceeds are being donated to an archaeological organization instead.