On Zion's Mount

On Zion's Mount

by Jared Farmer
     
 

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On Zion’s Mount shows how, paradoxically, the Mormons created their homeland at the expense of the local Indians—and how they expressed their sense of belonging by investing Mt. Timpanogos with “Indian” meaning.

Overview

On Zion’s Mount shows how, paradoxically, the Mormons created their homeland at the expense of the local Indians—and how they expressed their sense of belonging by investing Mt. Timpanogos with “Indian” meaning.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Farmer (history, SUNY at Stony Brook; Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country) provides a cultural-geographic study of Utah Lake and Mount Timpanogos in central Utah during the mid-1800s. The Ute Indians depended upon the vast fishery resources of the former, a sweet-water oasis in the Great Basin, before they were forcibly displaced from there by early Mormon settlers. Their displacement to Mt. Timpanogos resulted in a historic reinterpretation of the Utes as mountain Indians and the mythologizing of the Mormon pioneers themselves as responsible for the "blooming of the desert" in this naturally fertile lake region. A central theme of the book is the conceptual development of the mountain as a local landmark at the expense of the lake. Farmer's work neatly complements W. Paul Reeve's Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, a study of power, space, and place among competing 19th-century communities in southwestern Utah. Research libraries with interests in Great Basin, Utah, Native American, and Western water studies should take note, as should those libraries collecting for American cultural geography.
—Nathan E. Bender

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674036710
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
06/30/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
472
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

This beautifully written book, at once deeply felt and intellectually rigorous, is about what we sacralize and what we destroy. It is a story about how Mormons invented a mountain and made it sacred, and how they degraded, and then ignored, a lake that had been the center of an earlier Ute Indian world. Both events were as much about the relationship between peoples as about the relationship between people and nature, and neither of these paired events could be understood only locally. Jared Farmer makes Mt. Timpanogos a summit from which to survey the long and tangled relations of Americans with nature.
Clyde A. Milner
Few books can match the intellectual pleasure and wonderful writing of this study. Jared Farmer helps us see a world filled with landmarks that we construct in our heads and through our actions. His insights sparkle on every page. --(Clyde A. Milner II, editor, A New Significance: Re-envisioning the History of the American West)
Elliott West
An intriguing and original book, well written, refreshingly accessible and often entertaining. It is both a history and a meditation on places, memories, and changing identities. I don't know of another book quite like it. --(Elliott West, author of The Contested Plains: Indians, Goldseekers, and the Rush to Colorado)
Richard Lyman
This multilayered, beautifully written story explains how nature alone does not create landscapes; people are always complicit. There is no better introduction to this region and to the cultural formation of landscapes than Farmer's work. --(Richard Lyman Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling)
Alan Taylor
Beginning with a striking mountain in Utah, On Zion's Mount opens up a world of connections between landscape, folklore, history, and pop culture. In witty, lucid prose, Jared Farmer illuminates the legends Americans wove to possess Indian land. A great read, this brilliant book will intrigue anyone interested in the past, present, and future of the land we live with and weave stories about. --(Alan Taylor, author of The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution)
Richard White
This beautifully written book, at once deeply felt and intellectually rigorous, is about what we sacralize and what we destroy. It is a story about how Mormons invented a mountain and made it sacred, and how they degraded, and then ignored, a lake that had been the center of an earlier Ute Indian world. Both events were as much about the relationship between peoples as about the relationship between people and nature, and neither of these paired events could be understood only locally. Jared Farmer makes Mt. Timpanogos a summit from which to survey the long and tangled relations of Americans with nature. --(Richard White, author of "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A History of the American West)
David Rich
Magnificent historical storytelling, both fun and provocative. Ostensibly framed around the creation of a landmark peak in the American West, On Zion's Mount details the production of memory in the service of forgetting. Transcending the parochial nature of older Utah and Mormon histories, Farmer constructs an intellectual universe around the Mormon-Ute contest for place. He traces the physical and folkloric fallout of that complex history through to twentieth-century raconteurs, promoters, and developers who continued to reinvent the cultural landscape. Farmer is unflinching in his loving but pointed critique of a culture that venerates history and simultaneously clings to historical forgetfulness. --(David Rich Lewis, Utah State University)
Philip Deloria
Farmer's brilliant study of the rise and fall of two linked landmarks--Utah Lake and Mt. Timpanogos--opens up the history and memory of American place-making in exciting new ways. --(Philip Deloria, author of Playing Indian)
Virginia Scharff
Jared Farmer has given us a rich, graceful environmental history, all five senses engaged. With the warmth of a native son, the passionate curiosity of a born scholar, and the perfect pitch of the master storyteller, Farmer introduces us to the heart of Utah, a place long inhabited, used, fought over, mystified, stolen, mythologized, and, it seems, deliberately forgotten. On Zion's Mount is riveting, a joy to read and to pass along to devotees of the American West. --(Virginia Scharff, author of Twenty Thousand Roads: Women, Movement, and the West)

Meet the Author

Jared Farmer is Assistant Professor of History at The State University of New York at Stony Brook, and author of Glen Canyon Dammed: Inventing Lake Powell and the Canyon Country.

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