FRANK X. MULLEN, JR REVIEWS DONNER - REED TRAGEDY
"Donner-Reed Tragedy, a historical novel by Ted Davidson, gives the readers the opportunity to walk alongside the doomed pioneers and shiver with them in their makeshift huts and tents in the 20-foot-deep snow.
centers his narrative on James Reed, who with George Donner founded the
expedition, and William Eddy, who lost his family but rescued many others.
In his research, Davidson became obsessed by the nuts and bolts of the events and by the characters' reaction to unexpected trouble.
story confirms my belief in the amazing potential of ordinary people when
they encounter incredible situations,' he said. 'People are capable of
accomplishing extraordinary, often superhuman things, both admirable and
atrocious, to survive.'
Such conflicts can be found on every page of Davidson's novel. The reader witnesses a group of travelers who begin with high hopes and soaring spirits. Unforseen events wear them down and an unmapped 'shortcut' places them at the rear of the emigration of 1846 and at the mercy of early Sierra storms.
Tempers flare, guns and knives are drawn, parents chose between feeding their own broods and sharing with the children of others. Every bad thing that could happen to a wagon train happened to the Donners.
half the 87 party members died before reaching California and some of
them-such as Charles Stanton-gave their lives to help the others. For
Davidson, the message of the tragedy is not despair, but hope.
X. Mullen Jr., Senior Reporter, Reno Gazette Journal,
Frank Mullen was discussing Ted's novel with him, Frank excitedly commented
on the potential of turning Donner-Reed Tragedy into a movie. Then Frank
paused and sadly observed that, "Hollywood has never done justice
to the Donner Tragedy." Immediately Ted revealed that he has a completed
screenplay for an 8- to 10-hour miniseries, which has yet to be produced.
Both the novel and screenplay have the same title and treat the same details.
RICHARD WALTER REVIEWS DONNER - REED TRAGEDY
Ted Davidson has "done what writers need to do. . . created a real nail-biter. . . taken one of history's great tales and set it in a dramatic structure that manages to maintain the stress and the tension that is required of solid dramaturgical craft. . . . What a tale! It confronts life and death, love and hate and every other corner of the human condition. . . . I am sincerely and enormously impressed with this grand effort. It is truly a feast! There's a curious metaphor to describe this particular tale dealing as it does with, among other things, cannibalism. . . . I did truly get caught up in this tale."
Walter, Author, Professor,
MICHAEL ANDERSON REVIEWS DONNER - REED TRAGEDY
manager of the gift store at Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, I have
reviewed many books about the Donner Party. Most of them are works of
academic research, and while factual, to the average reader they are about
as interesting to read as the phone book. Then there are the fictionalized
accounts, which are more fiction than fact. Then I read Donner-Reed
PATE REVIEWS DONNER - REED TRAGEDY
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