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Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows Paperback – September 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In 1857, over 100 men, women, and children in a wagon train from Arkansas were murdered in southern Utah by local settlers aided by Southern Paiute warriors. For 50 years, Mormon historian Juanita Brooks's The Mountain Meadows Massacre has been the standard work on the subject. Here, independent historian and Salt Lake Tribune columnist Bagley claims only to extend Brooks's work. But by using documents not available to Brooks and by following her example in pursuing the truth wherever it led him while not going beyond the available evidence, he confirms her private opinion that territorial Mormon leader and governor Brigham Young was heavily involved in both the massacre and its cover-up. In the process, Bagley has produced the new standard work on the massacre. This well-written and well-thought-out analysis is essential for all libraries with collections on the West or the Mormons.
Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Will Bagley is an independent historian who has written about overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, and the Mormons. Bagley has published extensively over the years and is the author and editor of many books, articles, and reviews in professional journals. Bagley is the series editor of Arthur H. Clark Company's documentary history series, KINGDOM IN THE WEST: The Mormons and the American Frontier. Bagley has been a Wallace Stegner Centennial Fellow at the University of Utah and the Archibald Hannah, Jr. Fellow in American History at Yale University's Beinecke Library. Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows has won numerous awards including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America, the Bancroft History Prize from the Denver Public Library, Westerners International Best Book, and the Western History Association Caughey Book Prize for the most distinguished book on the history of the American West. So Rugged and Mountainous: Blazing the Trails to Oregon and California, 1812-1848 is the first of four volumes of Overland West: The Story of the Oregon and California Trails Series.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806136391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806136394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Will Bagley has written and edited more than twenty books on overland emigration, frontier violence, railroads, mining, the creation of computer search technology, and the Mormons. Some love him, some hate him, but his work has won every major prize in Western History--an Old Joe, the Spur, the Wrangler, the Caroline Bancroft, the John W. Caughey Prize for the year's most distinguished book on the history of the American West, and the Merrill J. Mattes Award for Excellence in Writing. He is not "anti" anything: he simply tries to tell the stories and find the truth of what happened.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

195 of 231 people found the following review helpful By Rob Hardy HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
On 11 September 1857, a wagon train traveling from Arkansas and headed to California, was ambushed in a valley in Southwestern Utah. The Mountain Meadows Massacre involved the slaughter of 120 men, women, and children, and although the technology of massacres has now far overtaken it, it was one of the worst mass murders in US History. No one disputes these facts, but there is a good deal of dispute about the details. _Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows_ (University of Oklahoma Press) by Will Bagley, who writes for the _Salt Lake Tribune_, gives details, but since the book demonstrates the involvement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the massacre, it will be a controversial effort. Bagley shows, however, that the church has long campaigned to keep details of the massacre hidden, and he gives documentation that the reason for this is that leaders of the church provoked the killings and members of the church committed them. Even though stories of Mormon complicity in the massacre were present immediately afterwards, and have been demonstrated by historians in this century, the church has continued to deny culpability. The deniers will have to contend with this big, well documented book. It cannot close the issue forever; one of the lessons of Bagley's history is that history itself can never be fully written. This is to the chagrin of Mormon leaders. At a memorial ceremony in 1999, president of the church Gordon B. Hinckley declared that it was "time to leave the entire matter in the hands of God" and ordered: "Let the book of the past be closed." Fat chance.
Bagley knows what he is up against.
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141 of 168 people found the following review helpful By Crack Reviewer on October 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Will Bagley has chosen to tackle one of the most difficult subjects in Western American History--the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Bagley is to be commended for examining new sources of information, re-examining old sources, and drawing deeper conclusions than in previously written material.
This book challenges Juanita Brook's "Mountain Meadows Massacre" as being the most authoritative book dealing with the subject. Brook's book was well-written and meticulously researched. However, Brooks was too accepting of unsupported statements and failed, perhaps, to reach certain logical conclusions.
For those who are unaware, in 1857, an unfortunate group of pioneers traveling by covered wagon from Arkansas passed through Utah Territory on their way to California. The journey happened to coincide with the murder of LDS Church Apostle, Parley P. Pratt, in Arkansas shortly before. It also occurred at the same time President Buchanan was sending the United States Army to Utah to gain control over the "disloyal" Mormons. In September of 1857, as the pioneers were camped in the Mountain Meadows west of Cedar City they were initially assaulted by a group of Indians (there may have been Mormon settlers dressed as Indians among the group as well). When several days of hard fighting failed to destroy the pioneers, a group of Mormons appeared on the scene and pretended to negotiate a ceasefire with the Indians. As soon as the Arkansas pioneers laid down their guns, they were than slaughtered by a group including both Mormons and Indians. It is estimated 120 people were butchered in this fashion.
Only one man, John D.
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125 of 154 people found the following review helpful By E. Johnson on August 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
For years the slaughter of the Fancher wagon train at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah has been a point of contention for the Mormon Church. Who is to blame? According to the official version of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon John D. Lee was the primary villain who, as the lone scapegoat, paid for his crime when he was executed in 1877. Although the massacre had been discussed in "anti-Mormon" books, it was a loyal Mormon by the name of Juanita Brooks who bravely penned "The Mountain Meadows Massacre" in 1950. Her book created a firestorm by giving credible reasons to believe that several Mormons in high positions were, in fact, responsible for the tragic event of September 11, 1857.
Now a new book by historian Will Bagley is going to cause the Mormon Church even more consternation as he attempts to lay blame for the massacre directly at the feet of second LDS President Brigham Young. This was a theory privately held by Brooks, but she could not prove this at the time of her book. On page 363 Bagley writes, "A historian's professional and personal conclusions often differ, as was the case with Brooks' final assignment of responsibility for the massacre at Mountain Meadows. In the last revision of her book, she stressed the importance of Young's manipulation of the Indian leaders and the military orders placing `each man where he was to do his duty.' She retained her original conclusion that the existing evidence did not prove that Brigham Young and George A. Smith specifically order the massacre, but it showed they `set up social conditions that made it possible.' In a private letter to Roger B. Mathison of the University of Utah Library, she went much further: she had `come to feel that Brigham Young was directly responsible for the tragedy.' John D.
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