From Publishers Weekly
In 1999, the Bushmans published Mormons in America, a thoughtful little textbook that was part of Oxford's Religion in American Life series for the young adult market. If you missed that book, never fear: this brief paperback is a slightly edited version of the original YA title. Oxford should be congratulated for having the smarts to realize that adults need basic information about Mormon history, too, particularly in this Olympic month. Here, Claudia Bushman (Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah) and husband Richard Bushman (Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism), both historians at Columbia University, present a balanced, informative and brief introduction to one of the world's fastest-growing religious movements. Theirs is a grassroots approach to history; the Bushmans are more interested in the everyday experiences of ordinary Latter-day Saints than they are in the institutional growth of the church, its financial "empire" or its corporate bureaucracy all of which have been well documented elsewhere. They are not afraid to tackle some of the thorny issues of the Mormon past, such as polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre or the early Mormons' feuds with the federal government. But they don't dwell unduly on these blemishes, preferring instead to focus on how Mormonism as a religion has changed over time, and how those changes have contributed to a shifting sense of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint. This user-friendly, perceptive and accessible primer is a welcome counterbalance to the highly specialized literature on Mormon history. (Feb.)Forecast: With a release date coinciding with the winter Olympics in Utah, this title should get off to a good start, but given the dearth of balanced, informative introductions to Mormonism, it is also poised to have a long shelf life as a favorite for course adoption.
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"Oxford should be congratulated for having the smarts to realize that adults need basic information about Mormon history....A balanced, informative, and brief introduction to one of the world's fastest-growing religious movements. ...This user-friendly, perceptive, and accessible primer is a welcome counterbalance to the highly specialized literature on Mormon history."--Publishers Weekly
"Issues related to the history and current life of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are dealt with in a straightforward manner in this telling of the Mormon story....[The authors] have researched the basic facts of the church's history and growth and its place in the world today, and present it all in an attractive, readable manner."--Kliatt
"A balanced account detailing the church's origins, the persecution that led to the famous westward trek to Utah, controversial practices and beliefs, and past and present problems....Books like this help set the record straight."--Rockford Register Star (Illinois)
"Slim and accessible....A must-read for anyone planning to visit Salt Lake City or desiring a succinct history for his or her own erudition."--Gadflyonline.com