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Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy


Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy Cover


Synopses & Reviews

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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 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.


People do remarkable things and appalling things in the name of religion. Distinguishing between the two categories isn't always easy. In the mid-1850s, Brigham Young directed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to gather in Zion — Utah Territory — to enable the struggling Mormon colony to hold its ground against the encroachments of westering American gentiles. To save money... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

About 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.

Product Details

Walker, Ronald W
Oxford University Press, USA
Leonard, Glen M.
null, Richard E.
Walker, Ronald W.
null, Glen M.
Turley, Richard E.
null, Ronald W.
United States - 19th Century
United States - State & Local - West
Mountain Meadows Massacre, Utah, 1857
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (
Theology | History of Christianity | American
Religion & Theology | History of Christianity | American
US History-19th Century
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
6.2 x 9.3 x 1.5 in 1.7 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Utah
History and Social Science » Americana » Western States
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century
History and Social Science » World History » General
Religion » Christianity » Mormon » Mormonism
Religion » Christianity » Mormonism
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » Biochemistry

Massacre at Mountain Meadows: An American Tragedy Used Hardcover
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Product details 448 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195160345 Reviews:
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