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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.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"Tells the remarkable story of how a new religion was born, developed amid persecution and hardship, and became one of the world's fastest growing faiths... Gives great insight into Mormon beliefs and the elaborate organization of community life that is a hallmark of the faith."--The Christian Science Monitor
I am a former Mormon, and just did not get anything out of this work. They teach better Mormon history in children's Sunday school classes.Published on December 5, 2012 by Eileen Mele
With all the noise about Romney and Huntsman I searched for a thoughtful short book that would explain Mormon theology and history. Most I saw were obviously hostile. Read morePublished on January 21, 2012 by J. Shereshewsky
I picked this book up in order to quickly get a better understanding of Mormon history. The Bushmans rapidly cover LDS history, but I was not satisfied with the depth of the... Read morePublished on January 20, 2003 by Damon Jasperson