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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 Audiobook, by George R. Stewart Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 53.91 out of 5 3.91 (11 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: January 2010 ISBN: 9781455172559
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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.”

    AudioFile

  • “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.”

    Kliatt

Listener Opinions

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

    " Good read. Total downer. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 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 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 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. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janette | 2/28/2010

    " I'm sure that I read this when I was in high school, but I re-read it again. Sad story...glad I was not a pioneer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roger | 2/11/2010

    " A solid account of one of the most harrowing stories from the Westward expansion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 2/7/2010

    " The tragedy of the Donner party in 1846. A GREAT book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Camille | 2/1/2010

    " I don't remember when exactly I read this book, but I came across it the other day and remebered it as being good and very haunting. The title Ordeal says it all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michele | 2/1/2010

    " Very text book type book. Good information just slow reading. I made it literally half way through the book and I am tired of reading about them. It is interesting information but I need some action. I may finish this at a later date. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara | 2/1/2010

    " Good job of conveying the horrible ordeal the Donner Party went through. The author's descriptions got a bit "flowery" at times, but was also a bit "terse" at others. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 J. | 11/18/2009

    " depress me more please ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh "

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About the Author
Author George R. Stewart

George R. Stewart (1895–1980) taught for more than fifty years at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Pickett’s Charge, Earth Abides, and numerous other books of history, biography, and fiction.

About the Narrator

Jeff Riggenbach has narrated numerous titles for Blackstone Audio and won an AudioFile Earphones Award. An author, contributing editor, and producer, he has worked in radio in San Francisco for the last thirty years, earning a Golden Mike Award for journalistic excellence.