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Massacre at Mountain Meadows

Massacre at Mountain Meadows

4.3 8
by Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley, Glen M. Leonard

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On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. More than 120 men, women, and children perished in the slaughter.
Massacre at Mountain Meadows offers the most thoroughly researched account of the massacre


On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. More than 120 men, women, and children perished in the slaughter.
Massacre at Mountain Meadows offers the most thoroughly researched account of the massacre ever written. Drawn from documents previously not available to scholars and a careful re-reading of traditional sources, this gripping narrative offers fascinating new insight into why Mormons settlers in isolated southern Utah deceived the emigrant party with a promise of safety and then killed the adults and all but seventeen of the youngest children. The book sheds light on factors contributing to the tragic event, including the war hysteria that overcame the Mormons after President James Buchanan dispatched federal troops to Utah Territory to put down a supposed rebellion, the suspicion and conflicts that polarized the perpetrators and victims, and the reminders of attacks on Mormons in earlier settlements in Missouri and Illinois. It also analyzes the influence of Brigham Young's rhetoric and military strategy during the infamous "Utah War" and the role of local Mormon militia leaders in enticing Paiute Indians to join in the attack. Throughout the book, the authors paint finely drawn portraits of the key players in the drama, their backgrounds, personalities, and roles in the unfolding story of misunderstanding, misinformation, indecision, and personal vendettas.
The Mountain Meadows Massacre stands as one of the darkest events in Mormon history. Neither a whitewash nor an exposé, Massacre at Mountain Meadows provides the clearest and most accurate account of a key event in American religious history.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A vivid, gripping narrative of one of the most notorious mass murders in all American history, and a model for how historians should do their work. This account of a long-controversial horror is scrupulously researched, enriched with contemporary illustrations, and informed by the lessons of more recent atrocities." --Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

"Three Mormon scholars have thoroughly researched one of the most shameful events in Mormon history. They have produced a very detailed, insightful and balanced account of the events leading to the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 9/11, 1857." --Robert V. Remini, Professor Emeritus of History and the Humanities, University of Illinois, Chicago

"An institutional effort at truth telling in service to reparation, this book provides in unflinching detail and with scholarly transparency the story of one of the West's most disturbingly violent moments. The authors tell the story well and get the history right, in no small part because of LDS Church sponsorship that underwrote a level of professional staffing and research that is impossible, even unimaginable, to the most diligent of lone writers. This uniquely well-documented account of a highly contested event may make obsolete previous studies and without doubt will constitute the necessary starting point for all future ones." --Kathleen Flake, author of The Politics of American Religious Identity

"The authors of Massacre at Mountain Meadows have written the best researched, most complete, and most evenhanded account of the Mountain Meadows incident we are likely to have for a long time. Above all they tell a gripping tale. Though I knew the end from the beginning, I began to sweat as the narrative approached its fatal climax. The authors won't let us turn our gaze away from the horrors of that moment." --Richard Bushman, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, Claremont Graduate University

"Massacre at Mountain Meadows is arguably the most professional, transparent account of a controversial event in Mormon history produced under church auspices. The work may well mark a major turning point in Latter-day Saint historiography." --Journal of American History

"Massacre at Mountain Meadows deserves to be the standard account of the massacre for both LDS and non-LDS researchers and readers...Walker, Turley, and Leonard have provided a tightly written, riveting narrative ...In this excellent volume readers of every stripe--from undergraduates to scholars to the general public--will find not only the finest extant account of the tragedy of Mountain Meadows but also a window onto the potential, but by no means inevitable, power of religion to contribute to mass violence." --Church History

"It may be tempting to disregard this work as just another in a long line of books written about this tragic event, but it would be a mistake to discount it. The authors have compiled a staggering amount of research, some of which has never been seen before, and present a more thorough and detailed history of Mountain Meadows than has ever been written. . . This meticulously researched book is an important contribution to the study of Mormonism in America and the authors succeeded in telling the story of an often polarizing event in a scholarly and historically responsible way."--Religious Studies Review

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Ronald W. Walker is an independent historian and writer of Latter-day Saint history living in Salt Lake City.
Richard E. Turley, Jr. is Assistant Church Historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Glen M. Leonard is former Director of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art.

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Massacre at Mountain Meadows 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
HyrumSmith More than 1 year ago
A very thourough accounting of the events, emotions, historical context and tragedy that came together on that fateful day. After much research I found this account of the participants and motives most accurate.
Ms_sparkles08 More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written, and holds you throughout the book. A sad and riveting true story; it shows just what the early Mormons were really made of. Highly recommended.
ESpindler_no1_Fan More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book. I have lived in Utah my whole life and was not even aware of this massacre happening. The authors give a great backround on what was happening in Utah around that time. They also give a good account of the immagrants that were massacred. This is a great book if you are looking for an unbiased version of what happened at Mountain Meadows and this book is so well written you can't put it down. I would highly recommend this book to anyone inside or outside of Utah.
dec0558 More than 1 year ago
This book is sheer apologia for the modern day LDS Church. As a Mormon writer and historian myself, I was very disappointed with this book. What can one say about ANY book on the subject of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, 1850's Utah history or the 1857 Mormon War that contains only one reference to Brigham Young's doctrine of Blood Atonement. That doctrine was the theological justification for the Massacre itself. And while it is certainly up for debate as to exactly how much Brigham Young knew of plans to carry out the massacre, it is BEYOND DISPUTE that the massacre itself was an official action of the LDS Church in Cedar City.
It was the Cedar City Priesthood High Council that planned and executed the murders of over 100 civilians, then stole their belongs (including some clothing and jewelry from some victims' bodies) and placed mahy of these items in the LDS Bishop's Storehouse in cedar City. From the beginning to the end, the entire massacre was an official action of the highest LDS CHURCH OFFICIALS in Cedar City. Anyone at all familiar with LDS Church government knows that it has always had a "from the top down chain of command." Local Priesthood authorities are not now--and in the 1850s certainly were not--independent governing bodies.

"Blood of the Prophets" is a much better and more thorough study. Granted the LDS Church of the 1850's and Brigham Young do not come off well.

But given the facts, perhaps they should not.

the US government labels the Mountain Meadows Massacre as the worst act of terrorism in US history prior to the 1990's Oklahoma City Bombing. That the Massacre took place on 9/11 (1857) is also chilling.

"American Massacre" is a better book on the subject--though it is a bit to skewed against the LDS Church.

Juanita Brooke's classic "The Mountain Meadows Massacre" is still the definiative book. Brooke was an life-long active LDS Church member who grew up in Cedar City. She began to research the massacre and the LDS Church's cover up of it when, as a young woman, knew the men who participated--and who wwere haunted all their lives.
Sweet-Tangerine More than 1 year ago
In this new, more complete and accurate telling of a most misunderstood time in Mormon History, we get to get inside the researchers/authors heads to understand how this most horrific tragedy occurred and why. The authors take us back to the early days of The Church, when we were persecuted for our beliefs and driven from their homes, women even raped. In the mid 19th Century, times were rough on the trail for the Mormons, having to contend with Indians, the elements, disease, the Military and all they could think of was getting to the Salt Lake Valley. This horrible tragedy took the lives of 120 men, women and children as they were gunned down execution style. For the Mormon people, they were afraid for their lives when emigrants came through their setlements on their way to California. These emigrants would taunt and threaten the Mormons and were worried about the soldiers coming to stir up things. It wasn't until I was reading the names of the Militiamen, that I found that two of my ancestors were involved. Luckily, they were not involved in any of the murders. This is the third book on this subject and feel this current rendition is the best by far, as it doesn't try to sugarcoat what happened or point fingers. If you haven't heard of this tragedy, I would recommend you read this book. It's a riveting story, one you couldn't imagine happening. It's interesting that the date this occured was 9/11, but in 1857.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The authors have made a valid attempt to bring the Mountain Meadows tragedy to light amongst LDS readers. Many may find further questions about the tragedy and open up more honest opinions on the subject. This book will educate the LDS regarding their own religion in early Mormon history as well as bring some justice for misrepresentations of the event by Church leaders. The welcomed goal of the book would be to accept today's LDS religion as notably an outstanding Christian religion that has matured from past teachings and inperfections to one of honor and respect world wide
SeanCampLCSW More than 1 year ago
This book is an absolutely amazing account of this tragic moment in history.  Very objective, incredibly thorough, and provides the appropriate context for understanding the event(s) in a non-apologist manner.  I couldn't recommend it more highly; you will gain an understanding of pioneer life well beyond just the events of the massacre itself.   As a non-LDS individual wanting to understand the culture of the time, I found this to be invaluable. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago