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Download Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party, by George R. Stewart Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.08 out of 54.08 out of 54.08 out of 54.08 out of 54.08 out of 5 4.08 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George R. Stewart Narrator: Jeff Riggenbach Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The tragedy of the Donner party constitutes one of the most amazing stories of the American West. In 1846 eighty-seven people—men, women, and children—set out for California and were persuaded to attempt a new overland route. After struggling across the desert, losing many oxen, and nearly dying of thirst, they reached the very summit of the Sierras only to be trapped by blinding snow and bitter storms. Many perished; some survived by resorting to cannibalism; all were subjected to unbearable suffering.

Incorporating the diaries of the survivors and other contemporary documents, George Stewart wrote the definitive history of that ill-fated band of pioneers—an astonishing account of what human beings may endure and achieve in the final press of circumstance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Ordeal by Hunger is compulsive reading—a wonderful account, both scholarly and gripping, of a horrifying episode in the history of the west.”

    Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author

  • “Excellent.”

    New York Times

  • “The tale comes to life in horror and tragedy. Stewart writes swiftly, surely, dramatically, and with impartial accuracy. Almost every member of the party is re-created with skill and sympathy.”

    Saturday Review

  • “Expertly read by Jeff Riggenbach, the tale retains its freshness and power 150 years later. Riggenbach reads the stark story with authority, clarity and richness.”


  • “Riggenbach’s professional, unvoiced presentation provides the appropriately serious reactions and allows the listener to deal with the facts with compassion. Although grisly, the account is sympathetic and not ghoulish. Carefully researched, it illustrates how unbelievably strong the will to survive is.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sammy | 12/12/2010

    " Good read. Total downer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Serra | 7/12/2010

    " An incredibly well-written and comprehensive history of the Donner Party, complete with a roster, itinerary, and maps. Anyone interested in the Donner Party or early Californian history should check out this book. It reads like a novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Angie | 6/15/2010

    " Yucky and fascinating all at the same time. You would think once would be enough...but I think I've read this one three times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Matt | 4/3/2010

    " Like many people, the experience of the Donner-Reed Party has me with its tragic and horrific events. Reading this did nothing to curb my fascination and fixation; in fact, it may have intensified it. "

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