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The Pioneer Camp of the Saints/Brown: The 1846 and 1847 Mormon Trail Journals of Thomas Bullock (Kingdom in the West, V. 1) Hardcover – January, 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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The arrival of the Mormons in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake is one of the major events in the history of the American West. Thomas Bullock was the official journal keeper of that Brigham Young pioneer company. Bullock contributed a vial documentary record of the Mormon church in the mid-19th century writing thousands of pages, yet he remains a relatively obscure figure in Western History. An intensely personal document, Bullock's account rises above its status as the "official" journal. He shares his doubts, his complaints, his personal assessments of his fellow travelers throughout the pages of the journal. This remarkable record presents in detail the daily reality of a journey that has become an American legend. From Nauvoo (Illinois) to Salt Lake (originally Deseret Territory, now Utah) and back to the Missouri River, Bullock's journals from September 1846 to October 1847 paint a colorful and personal picture of both the Mormon Trail and the suffering of the poverty-stricken Saints during their struggle across Iowa in 1846. This is the tale of a great exodus and a unique odyssey to the "Great Basin Kingdom". -- Midwest Book Review

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.
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kingdom in the West, V. 1 (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur H Clark; First Thus Used edition (January 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870622773
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870622779
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,149,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
These are the journals of Thomas Bullock: the man commissioned by Brigham Young to write about the first ("Pioneer") company of Mormons to make the trek into Utah. They are written in typical 19th century style--full of details and odd anecdotes and more chronologically than organizationally minded. Of course, they are journals, and as such are more concerned with fact than literary style.
The journals themselves are a great insight into the travels of this company. Also, the notes Bagley assembled are great--full of relevant and useful information that greatly enriches the reading of this account. The only flaw is Bagley's own additions.
The first two chapters were written by him, as sort of a preface, and each chapter is prefaced by a few pages of his commentary. These writings detract greatly from the work, and are full of speculations presented as truth and seemingly oblivious to fact. As far as history is concerned, it has very little worth, being more a collection of his opinions than actual circumstance backed by evidence. There is no citation of sources, which further detracts from the credibility.
Overall, these journals are great, and the editing, superb. Just don't rely too much on what Bagley says about them. If you're interested in Mormon or Western history, these journals are worth a read. It won't detract at all from the experience if you skip the prefaces, though.
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This book comes with the unexpected bonus of a color map showing the highlights of the Mormon Pioneer Trail and, on the reverse side, a picture filled synopsis of the 1847 trek and the tools of the time.
My understanding of Thomas Bullock and his work was broadened by Mr. Bagley's input before each journal and throughout the book in the form of additional paragraphs and footnotes. Within these pages I found several interesting tables and illustrations as well as a day-by-day recount of what happened on the various Mormon trails. Thomas speaks of the nature and wildlife he encounters as well as the day to day issues of the westward trek.
This book and these journals are a must for every history buff with interest in the development of Mormonism. We are fortunate to have such journals preserved to this day. Thank you Will Bagley and all who made this work available to us--the readers of the world.
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