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The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett Hardcover – April 1, 1997

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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John Cook Bennett, 1840s Renaissance man, was a scientist, a religious leader, and a flimflam man extraordinaire. Tomato promoter (when the crimson orbs were thought dangerous), diploma seller, self-taught military genius, confidant and then intractable detractor of Mormon founder Joseph Smith--his biography bursts with the ingenuity, verbiage, and gall of the man. "A self-taught person who probably never graduated from college or attended a medical school," his biographer says, "his endeavors to establish educational institutions [are] utterly amazing"; although he remains notorious for selling medical degrees, "Bennett granted diplomas in numerous academic areas." Seeking out the Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois, Bennett became the mayor and military commandant; a quartermaster general in the state militia, he then procured equipment for a virtual Mormon army. Eventually he wrote an exposeof Joseph Smith, charging him with planning an independent Mormon empire and practicing polygamy (Bennett had been, of course, an enthusiastic polygamist himself). After "two years of anti-Mormon campaigning," he tried to gain control of the church when Smith was assassinated. Astonishing, but typical of an American entrepreneurial zealot whose dynamic biography is truly stranger than fiction. Mike Tribby

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252022823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252022821
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,424,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Andrew F. Smith's fascinating peek into the wild and crazy life of the 1840's Western Frontier is a valuable piece of historical work. This work is neither pro-Mormon or anti-Mormon and the authors unbiased stance adds credibility to his work.
The author set the story in the greater context of the era which helped this reader conclude that "The Saintly Scoundrel"- John C. Bennett fitted right in with all the other "scoundrels" of the time, including Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, James Jesse Strang, Sidney Rigdon, et. al.
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By A Customer on August 6, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The bane of students of restoration history is that while there is an abundance of primary source material in specialized libraries, there is little straight forward history or biography available. This very readable straight forward bio on Dr. Bennett is an excellent starting place for students of the time and place and events of early Mormonism. I recommend it to those who are interested in taking the measure of Bennett. It remained refreshingly focused on Dr. Bennett and leaves to others the challenge of writing about the other players in these colorful and dramatic events.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bennett was indeed a person of questionable morals and ideas, perfect for Mormonism in its Nauvoo, Ill. period. Not well-known in the present Mormon church, he presented quite a thorn in its side after leaving it. First book I've come across that gives a detailed account of his life. His book "History of the Saints" has been torn apart as a book full of lies, but history has proven at least some of it's contents as being factual. Clint Lauricella
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