California Studies Association

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“Searching for Tamsen Donner” by Gabrielle Burton, reviewed in the L.A. Times by William Deverell

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A new book about the Donner party, Searching for Tamsen Donner, by Gabrielle Burton, was reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, March 22, 2009, by William Deverell, director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and professor of history at USC.

From the review:

“Searching for Tamsen Donner” is a kind of eulogy, one that recounts a trip Burton took in the late 1970s with her husband and five young daughters. An unusual variant of the “on the road” idea, the journey retraced the route the Donner Party took toward its fateful rendezvous with snow and death. Burton wanted to use the trip to research a work of fiction; those plans never came to pass. Instead, all these years hence, we have this odd, unlikely book. History lesson, memoir and intimate family portrait all at once, “Searching for Tamsen Donner” simultaneously re-creates the 1840s and the 1970s, east to west.

For the whole review, click here.


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