Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Access Utah: Revisiting The Donner Party And 'The Best Land Under Heaven' With Author Michael Wallis

Left Bank Books

The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny.

"Were it not for a few wrong turns, bad directions, and fierce winter storms, the Donner Party would have been an unremarkable wagon train. But as it happened, it became a cautionary tale of Manifest Destiny and an unforgettable calamity. Personal motives of the emigrants varied. Some planned to build permanent homes or farms, but others hoped to make or enhance their fortunes and return east. A few of the younger single men saw the journey into the unknown as the adventure of a lifetime. The bulk of the Donner Party, however, was composed of people who left eh country of their fathers to dwell in the land they sincerely believed their children were destined to inherit. They were vivid examples of those who live in the future and make their country as they go along. They found that in pursuing what came to be known as the American dream, nightmares are sometimes the consequence."


Michael Wallis, the best selling author of Route 66 and Billy the Kid, has published eighteen books and won numerous honors and awards. He is a popular public speaker and a highly acclaimed voice actor. He lives in Tulsa, Oklhoma. 


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.