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The Mountain Meadows Massacre Paperback – May 15, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0806123189 ISBN-10: 0806123184 Edition: 3rd
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Juanita Brooks held appointment as a field fellow of the Henry E. Huntington Library and was enabled to carry out the original research for her book by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. She was the author of two other books and edited, with Robert Glass Cleland, A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee (Henry E. Huntington Library. 1955)

Jan Shipps is the author or editor of several books on Mormonism, including Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years among the Mormons.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; 3rd edition (May 15, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806123184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806123189
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Mark Lee on April 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Juanita Brooks, a life-long southern Utahn, used her considerable native talent, her drive for the truth, and many years of effort to compile this first exhaustive, honest examination of the Mountain Meadows massacre. It is especially impressive given the fact that Ms. Brooks wasn't by vocation a historian or scholar. Her narrative is lucid and complete. Her analysis has proven, in the context of additional investigation, to be principally correct. Throughout it all, Ms. Brooks remained also a faithful LDS (Mormon) woman, in spite of her disappointments with her contemporary LDS church leadership as it related to her investigation. This should be a starting point for any serious student of the Mountain Meadows massacre. Ms. Brooks shows us a world of grays with very human characters whom she places into a carefully resurrected context.
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142 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Missing in Action on June 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was a hard story to tell. The Mountain Meadows Massacre is one of Mormondom's most infamous stories, and one which members have steered clear of for years. It is amazing that this book was written so long ago, and yet so many of us are still uninformed on what happened.
What Ms. Brooks has done is recreate the context in which this terrible act occurred. The Mormons of the southern colonies were in a highly aroused state knowing that the army of the United States was marching their way. The emigrant party was overly boisterous, deriding the Mormons, their leaders, and threatening to raise an army in California to return to destroy Utah. The Indians wanted some "action" against the "Merrycats" (Americans) in retaliation for the poisoning death of some of their tribe, and the Mormons new they needed the alliance of the Chiefs if they were to offer any kind of effective resistence to the army that would arrive that next spring. All of this contributed to a sense of mob action that every one of the participants would later regret. What is important about this book, however, is that it helps you understand that it was not a mere malicious act of vengence or wickedness; it came in the context of war, among a group of frightened farmers who had been driven from their homes by violent mobs at least two or three times in the past 15 years. Of course, it doesn't minimize the heinous act.....
It is also important in understanding the apparently diliberate sacrifice of John D. Lee, the only participant who was ever brought to trial, and who was ultimately executed at the Mountain Meadows.
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on February 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was the book that first got me interested in the Mountain Meadow Massacre, what I called the 9-11 of 19th Century. It was one of the biggest mass murders in the history of the American west and ironically speaking, the killers were white men, murdering white people in cold blood. With considerable courage, the author painted a very clear picture of what this massacre was all about and within her limited means, gave a cause and effect of the incident. I used that term "limited means" because the author was (now deceased) a member of LDS and she probably compromised some of more inflamatory elements of the massacre so other writers like Will Bagley and Sally Denton can go at it. Her defense of John D. Lee was bit surprising to me but I figured that she knew that Lee was nothing more then a scrapgoat for the Mormon Church. But she did not take any inroads to the actual responsibility of the massacre. Like I wrote in the earlier reviews on books written by Bagley and Denton, I would considered this book to be a valuable first book of three that honestly deal with the Mountain Meadow Massacre.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By L. Troy Beals on May 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Brooks, although not a professional historian, did throuough research and offered a balanced view of the massacre even though she was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well. The book's conclusions are well argued and the documents are used in a fair and balanced way. Brooks also does an effective job of discussing the background of the massacre with clear chapters on the "Mormon War" of 1857 that was coming. Unlike many authors, Brooks overcomes the tendancy to become emotional or polemical about the massacre. Instead of using the book to further her own agenda, (either to be an apologist or what is called an "Anti-Mormon" and tear down the church), Brooks attempts to bring to light not only the massacre itself but the motivations behind it and the cover-up that happened afterwards. Anyone studying the Mountain Meadows Massacre need to read this book first or at least second or their research is woefully incomplete!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on February 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Juanita Brooks must be commended for writing as thorough a history of the Mountain Meadows massacre as she has; it seems she spent decades gathering and sifting information, including affidavits, personal letters, newspaper accounts, and documents from the LDS archives, to present as accurate a picture as possible. And still so much is lost or buried in history and irretrievable today. How many people were actually killed remains in dispute, the number ranging anywhere from 60-something to 120. The causes of the near-hysteria exhibited by the southern Utah Mormons at the time, and the fact that the well-stocked Fancher wagon train was their target, are many and varied: fear of attack by the US army, fear that through-trains would incite Californians to attack the Mormon settlements, a desire to avenge recent Mormon murders in the States, and the Fancher party's own intimidating behavior toward the Mormon's in the villages they passed through, have all been forwarded as causes.

The role of the Indians involved is vague; they at first were expected to do all the killing while the whites looked on; this isn't what happened, though some Indians did participate and did much looting of the wagons afterward. Finally the role of Brigham Young in what appeared at first would be a complete "cover-up" only to have one man, John D. Lee, take the blame for everything - perhaps because he was the leader of the attackers and certainly because it would help keep the high officials of the church from appearing guilty, is explored by Brooks. It took a hundred years, but in 1961 John D. Lee was finally "reinstated to membership and former blessings" by the LDS supreme council. The Mountain Meadows tragedy is a fascinating story where somewhat cloudy intelligence got mixed up with fear and paranoia, allowing circumstances to get beyond control. It wasn't the first time something like it happened, and it won't be the last. Brooks's account of it is superb historical writing, however.
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