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American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 11, 1857

by

American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 11, 1857 Cover

ISBN13: 9780375412080
ISBN10: 0375412085
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In September 1857, a wagon train passing through Utah laden with gold was attacked. Approximately 140 people were slaughtered; only 17 children under the age of eight were spared. This incident in an open field called Mountain Meadows has ever since been the focus of passionate debate: Is it possible that official Mormon dignitaries were responsible for the massacre? In her riveting book, Sally Denton makes a fiercely convincing argument that they were.

The author — herself of Mormon descent — first traces the extraordinary emergence of the Mormons and the little-known nineteenth-century intrigues and tensions between their leaders and the U.S. government, fueled by the Mormons' zealotry and exclusionary practices. We see how by 1857 they were unique as a religious group in ruling an entire American territory, Utah, and commanding their own exclusive government and army.

Denton makes clear that in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, the church began placing the blame on a discredited Mormon, John D. Lee, and on various Native Americans. She cites contemporaneous records and newly discovered documents to support her argument that, in fact, the Mormon leader, Brigham Young, bore significant responsibility — that Young, impelled by the church's financial crises, facing increasingly intense scrutiny and condemnation by the federal government, incited the crime by both word and deed.

Finally, Denton explains how the rapidly expanding and enormously rich Mormon church of today still struggles to absolve itself of responsibility for what may well be an act of religious fanaticism unparalleled in the annals of American history. American Massacre is totally absorbing in its narrative as it brings to life a tragic moment in our history.

Review:

"Although not as nuanced a historian as [Juanita] Brooks or [Will] Bagley, Denton is a marvelous writer who keeps this work of popular history as fresh and engaging as any novel." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A superbly crafted, blood-soaked tale....By far the best and most complete account of the incident in print — and sure to cause a stir in Salt Lake City and beyond." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, over the years the church has steadfastly denied any responsibility for the tragedy. Denton's extensively researched account of this atrocity is both convincing and chilling." George Cohen, Booklist

Review:

"Denton's crisp and compelling work is highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Although this event has been told and retold throughout the years...Denton's version has much to offer, as it recasts the history of the Mormon faith through the lens of the event." John Freeman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Book News Annotation:

Controversy has raged over identity of the organizers and participants of the "Mountain Meadows Massacre" ever since a California-bound wagon train was beset in Utah Territory in 1857 by local Mormons and Paiute Indians (as the story is conventionally told—Paiutes contest this version and are now supported by physical evidence), killing all but seven of the 140 emigrants over the course of four days. The only person ever held criminally responsible for the crime, John D. Lee, was executed 20 years later, condemning the Mormon Church Leaders as the real instigators of the crime. Investigative reporter Denton revisits those events, exploring the development and aftermath of the episode, concluding that Brigham Young and other church leaders were indeed responsible. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

In September 1857, a wagon train passing through Utah laden with gold was attacked and the people in it slaughtered. Denton traces the extraordinary history of the Mormons up to the time of the massacre. She makes it clear that the church began to place blame on John D. Lee, a discredited Mormon.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 281-292) and index.

Synopsis:

In September 1857, a wagon train passing through Utah laden with gold was attacked. Approximately 140 people were slaughtered; only 17 children under the age of eight were spared. This incident in an open field called Mountain Meadows has ever since been the focus of passionate debate: Is it possible that official Mormon dignitaries were responsible for the massacre? In her riveting book, Sally Denton makes a fiercely convincing argument that they were.

The author–herself of Mormon descent–first traces the extraordinary emergence of the Mormons and the little-known nineteenth-century intrigues and tensions between their leaders and the U.S. government, fueled by the Mormons’ zealotry and exclusionary practices. We see how by 1857 they were unique as a religious group in ruling an entire American territory, Utah, and commanding their own exclusive government and army.

Denton makes clear that in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, the church began placing the blame on a discredited Mormon, John D. Lee, and on various Native Americans. She cites contemporaneous records and newly discovered documents to support her argument that, in fact, the Mormon leader, Brigham Young, bore significant responsibility–that Young, impelled by the church’s financial crises, facing increasingly intense scrutiny and condemnation by the federal government, incited the crime by both word and deed.

Finally, Denton explains how the rapidly expanding and enormously rich Mormon church of today still struggles to absolve itself of responsibility for what may well be an act of religious fanaticism unparalleled in the annals of American history. American Massacre is totally absorbing in its narrative as it brings to life a tragic moment in our history.

About the Author

Sally Denton has been an award-winning investigative reporter in both print and television, having written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. She is the author of The Bluegrass Conspiracy: An Inside Story of Power, Greed, Drugs, and Murder, and, with Roger Morris, The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America, 1947?2000. She lives in the Southwest with her three sons.

Table of Contents

Jacob Hamblin's ranch, September 11, 1857 — The cairn, August 3, 1999 — pt. 1. The gathering — Palmyra, 1923 — Kirtland/Far West, 1831 — Nauvoo, 1840 — Winter quarters - Council Bluffs, 1846 — Salt Lake City, August 24, 1849 — Sevier River, October 26, 1853 — pt. 2. The passage — Harrison, March 29, 1857 — Deseret, August 3, 1857 — The southern trail, August 8-September 4, 1857 — Mountain meadows, September 7-11, 1857 — pt. 3. The legacy — Deseret, September 12, 1857 — Camp Scott, November 16, 1857 — Cedar City, April 7, 1859 — Mountain Meadows, May 25, 1861 — Mountain Meadows, March 23, 1877 — Mountain Meadows aftermath — Lonely Dell, January 22, 2002.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Little Nan, October 26, 2011 (view all comments by Little Nan)
Reading this book left a lasting impression on me and I must say I was haunted by this story long after reading the last page. This is a true story of what happened to a wagon train of Arkansas pioneers heading for the West. They passed through Utah Mormon territory and asked permission to rest on their land. With the Mormon people already clannish and not easily accepting foreigners in their territory, the pioneers had not realized that their lives may be in danger. The author takes you through a lot of history trying to explain what happened to the Mormons to make them so suspicious of government and "foreigners" as they called them. The Mormons were certainly persecuted, there was no doubt as they were run out of Illinois, Ohio, and other places back East. Somehow the church leaders decided that Joseph Smith was murdered by people from Arkansas. This would lead to a terrible chapter in our history as described by the author. The massacre is so shocking and cold-blooded, it is hard to believe that church people could be so brutal and able to condone their bloody deeds.

I highly recommend this book, but reading this may shock you to your core as it did me. Of course there has been violence and blood-shed in our history, but these people were innocent of any wrongdoing and were unable to defend themselves as they had surrendered all their weapons to the Mormon church.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375412080
Author:
Denton, Sally
Publisher:
Random House
Location:
New York
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
United States - Civil War
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
United States - 19th Century/Old West
Subject:
Native American
Subject:
United States - 19th Century
Subject:
Mountain meadows massacre, 1857
Subject:
Christianity - Mormonism
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
Murder - General
Subject:
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da
Subject:
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saomts (
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
107-285
Publication Date:
June 2003
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.52x6.62x1.28 in. 1.52 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » Southwest
History and Social Science » Americana » Utah
History and Social Science » Americana » Western States
History and Social Science » US History » 19th Century

American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 11, 1857 Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Alfred A. Knopf - English 9780375412080 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Although not as nuanced a historian as [Juanita] Brooks or [Will] Bagley, Denton is a marvelous writer who keeps this work of popular history as fresh and engaging as any novel."
"Review" by , "A superbly crafted, blood-soaked tale....By far the best and most complete account of the incident in print — and sure to cause a stir in Salt Lake City and beyond."
"Review" by , "Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, over the years the church has steadfastly denied any responsibility for the tragedy. Denton's extensively researched account of this atrocity is both convincing and chilling."
"Review" by , "Denton's crisp and compelling work is highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Although this event has been told and retold throughout the years...Denton's version has much to offer, as it recasts the history of the Mormon faith through the lens of the event."
"Synopsis" by , In September 1857, a wagon train passing through Utah laden with gold was attacked and the people in it slaughtered. Denton traces the extraordinary history of the Mormons up to the time of the massacre. She makes it clear that the church began to place blame on John D. Lee, a discredited Mormon.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 281-292) and index.
"Synopsis" by , In September 1857, a wagon train passing through Utah laden with gold was attacked. Approximately 140 people were slaughtered; only 17 children under the age of eight were spared. This incident in an open field called Mountain Meadows has ever since been the focus of passionate debate: Is it possible that official Mormon dignitaries were responsible for the massacre? In her riveting book, Sally Denton makes a fiercely convincing argument that they were.

The author–herself of Mormon descent–first traces the extraordinary emergence of the Mormons and the little-known nineteenth-century intrigues and tensions between their leaders and the U.S. government, fueled by the Mormons’ zealotry and exclusionary practices. We see how by 1857 they were unique as a religious group in ruling an entire American territory, Utah, and commanding their own exclusive government and army.

Denton makes clear that in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, the church began placing the blame on a discredited Mormon, John D. Lee, and on various Native Americans. She cites contemporaneous records and newly discovered documents to support her argument that, in fact, the Mormon leader, Brigham Young, bore significant responsibility–that Young, impelled by the church’s financial crises, facing increasingly intense scrutiny and condemnation by the federal government, incited the crime by both word and deed.

Finally, Denton explains how the rapidly expanding and enormously rich Mormon church of today still struggles to absolve itself of responsibility for what may well be an act of religious fanaticism unparalleled in the annals of American history. American Massacre is totally absorbing in its narrative as it brings to life a tragic moment in our history.

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