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Mormon Battalion: United States Army of the West, 1846-1848 Paperback – January 1, 1997

3.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

>From the Mexican War to the discovery of gold in California, there were few major events in the history of the Far West from 1846 to 1849 that did not involve the Mormon Battalion. Norma Rickett's The Mormon Battalion: U. S. Army Of The West, 1846-1848 is the first complete history of this wide-ranging, but heretofore almost forgotten, army unit, restoring it to its uniquely central place in the history of the American West. Several informative appendices are also featured including an analysis of movement within the Mormon Battalion, an alphabetically reconstructed roster of the Mormon volunteers, military documents, the Mormon Battalion in music and poetry, and much more. A useful bibliography and a subject index further enhance the value of this benchmark publication. Norma Ricketts' The Mormon Battalion combines the scrupulousness of an historical scholar with a born story-teller's ability to showcase history for contemporary readers. The Mormon Battalion is an immensely valuable contribution to Mormon studies and Western American history reading lists. -- Midwest Book Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Utah State University Press; 1 edition (January 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874212154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874212150
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Norma Ricketts' new book is a valiant attempt to shed more light on the history of the Mormon Battalion, but it sadly misses the mark. It has perhaps some of the finest maps on the march of the battalion and wonderful period artwork that conveys a sense of timelessness to the work. Sadly, the remainder of the book is merely a rehash of archaic concepts and provides no new scholarship for battalion historiography. She continued the theory that the men of the Mormon Battalion were more pioneers than soldiers, an old and cliche approach. Mrs. Ricketts has assembled perhaps the finest collection of primary sources to date; unfortunately, her use of these valuable sources was weak. She did not understand the importance of proper referencing and careful documentation. Many of her facts and points are incorrect. Her scope and purpose are too narrow, because she does not place the battalion in its proper historical context of the broader view of Mexican War and American history. For example, her causation of the Mexican War and the aspects of Manifest Destiny of the 1840s is very lacking. Not one apsect of the conflict with Great Britain over Oregon was mentioned. She gave the incorrect date of the battle of Buena Vista on p.138. This is just one of many errors in conveying simple historical information. Her understanding of military terms, procedures, tactics, rank, training, firearms and equipment is discouraging. Confusion of rank and position and proper military terms were constant problems throughout the book. Mrs. Ricketts spend much of her time and the book narrating the travels of the men after they were discharged, and their journey to Utah or back east. The flow and organization of the book suffered because of this. Also, there is not a thorough effort to review and employ other major works and sources on Mormon Battalion scholarship. I even found great difficulty with the writing, the flow, the content and organization of the book. I find it difficult to recommend.
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By A Customer on August 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
I just finished Norma Ricketts book on the Mormon Battalion and unfortunately, I find it difficult to recommend. She made so many mistakes that I really think that she should have had some other historians review it before it went to press. She stated that Santa Ana surrendered to Gen. Zachory Taylor in Mexico City, when Taylor was not there but Gen. Winfield Scott. She also made a error witht he battle of Buena Vista. It was fought on 22-23 February 1847 and not in May 1847 as she wrote. She has no understanding of the Mexican War and the army. I also thought that the writing and editing was very poor. She really does not understand the military and history very well. I know she spent a great deal of time writing her book, but I think writing history is out of her league. The story of the Mormon Battalion is an outstanding story, too bad this book does not tell it very well. This story deserves a better history.
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Format: Paperback
It is about time that I write a review of Norma Ricketts' the Mormon Battalion U.S. Army of the West 1846-1847. I bought the book when it first came forth. I found it to have many short comings, especially with depth and inadequate background of major events and it provided no new intrpretation, just continuing the old themes. Yet, since that time I have come to realize that Mrs. Ricketts' has assembled an outstanding research and resource tool. I have nearly worn out my copy from my hundreds of times in looking up information and facts. It is invaluable to any serious student of the Mormon Battalion. I recommend it to all readers, especially those who desire to write or publish anything dealing the Mormon Battalion. Even with its weaknesses and old school approach in scholarship, it is still an important asset.
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Format: Hardcover
The Mormon Battalion is a result of apparently careful scholarship brought to print with an eye for anecdote straight from the original diaries of the participants. Characters come to life through their own words. Anyone interested in the early frontier period of western US history should own this book. Unfortunately, several "typos" throughout were distracting
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Format: Paperback
The Mormon Battalion is one of the legends of the Mormon faithful. Recruited by the U.S. government from among those heading to Utah to gather with Brigham Young, this group of some 1,000 men and a few women and children undertook a trek across the American Southwest during the Mexican-American War. Although Norma Baldwin Ricketts's account of this expedition has its shortcomings, it presents the first complete history of this army unit.

No doubt this is not a definitive work, if such a thing exists, and there as many shortcomings that might be offered. Even so, "The Mormon Battalion: U.S. Army of the West, 1846-1848" includes an informative narrative and appendices that analyze the military role of the Mormon Battalion. There is, however, little that is new in this book and those familiar with the Battalion and its epic march will find little that they did not already know. In addition, the work is poorly written and the simple errors of fact that appear at various places make me question how thoroughly the author and editorial staff checked their sources.

Most important, I wish Ricketts had explored the continuing significance of the Mormon Battalion in Mormon history. The expedition is usually, and appropriately so, a footnote in the study of American military history but it looms large among the Mormons. Why? In that context the legend of the Mormon Battalion and how it has found a truly revered place in the history of Mormonism is significant. I would have liked to have seen this explored here.

The role of memory in shaping perspectives about the Mormon Battalion would have been a truly significant contribution to understanding about the unit.
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