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Massacre at Mountain Meadows

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  627 ratings  ·  228 reviews
On September 11, 1857, a band of Mormon militia, under a flag of truce, lured unarmed members of a party of emigrants from their fortified encampment and, with their Paiute allies, killed them. More than 120 men, women, and children perished in the slaughter.
Massacre at Mountain Meadows offers the most thoroughly researched account of the massacre ever written. Drawn fro
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Kindle Edition, 447 pages
Published (first published 2008)
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James
A book of narrow but dramatic interest, Massacre at Mountain Meadows contains the most complete historical record of one of the bleakest events in the history of the Mormon settlement of the West. Few people know the extent of the Mormon colonization of what is today the western United States, Mexico, and even Canada. For example, you may not know that Las Vegas was a sleepy Mormon colony right up until people like Bugsy Siegel turned it into a modern Mecca for debauchery.

The 1857 massacre of an
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Mike
First and foremost, let me make clear my personal opinion on the key issue that separates spectators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre: Brigham Young did not explicitly give the order to attack and kill the Fancher Party. However, I am sympathetic to Will Bagely’s argument that BY was largely responsible for the tragedy because Young underestimated the affect of his venomous rhetoric toward non-Mormons on the Saints.

Having gotten that formality out of the way my general opinion of this book is t
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Brent Wilson
I had mixed feelings approaching this book. Wasn't sure I trusted this "establishment" version of the story, but hearing that it was good. My great=great grampa was Laban Morrill, and my great-great grand-uncle was Nephi Johnson. AND - my wife's great-great grampa was John D Lee - so there was plenty of natural interest in the story.

My reaction:

- Surprisingly lean telling of the story, at times even tedious
- Authors stuck close to the script; did not engage other historians much - which was a li
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Clay
I really struggled with whether or not to give this book 3 or 4 stars.
The book is well written, and it gives an in depth look into the Massacre, early Mormon settlements and the American West.
Things I like about the book.

1) They did not skirt around the horrific nature of the massacre.
2) I learned a lot about the American West and early times in the great basin.

Beefs I have with the book.

1) Out of THREE AUTHORS, don't you think that they could have chosen at least ONE non-LDS author? Due to the
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Kurt
I take no pride in knowing that my great-great-grandfather participated in this awful episode in western American history. But I feel compelled to learn and understand how events and circumstances could unfold in such a way that a group of mostly honest and good people could abandon their values and principles in order to commit the atrocity described by this book.

An important saying tells us that if we fail to learn from history we are doomed to repeat it. I strongly believe that the people who
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Emily
Every people has shady, hidden corners of the past that they would prefer to sweep under the rug and pretend didn't exist. For Latter-day Saints, the Mountain Meadows massacre represents the very darkest shadow in our history. The cold-blooded murder of more than one hundred men, women, and children was an inexplicably evil act by those who should have known better, who professed not only Christianity, but a better and purer and more righteous form of it. It's difficult and uncomfortable for mod ...more
Stephen
Can devout Mormons write serious, credible history about a shameful and controversial event from the Mormon past? This must be asked precisely because so much history written by the faithful, in this tradition and others, is committed to certain conclusions before the act of research even begins. After reading Walker, Turley, and Leonard's new book on the Mountain Meadows massacre, the Mormon 9/11 (September 11, 1857), my answer to the question posed above, albeit with a few reservations, is "ye ...more
Yvonne swinson
So far very good, although a lot of information to absorb. I was intrigued because a few years ago, my husband and I (our ward, to be precise) were unwitting participants in a PBS special on "mormons" which was supposed to be very favorable to the church. Instead, a huge chunk of the program was on the MMM. Now I live near the infamous site and wanted a truly insightful look at what happened. Since the LDS church opened their archives and contributed research $ to this project, I knew it would b ...more
Heather
Commissioned by the LDS church, this book was surprisingly unsparing in its description of the atrocities at Mountain Meadows (more detailed in its account of the actual murders than Brooks' book). They had lots of information at their disposal, and I'm sure it was overwhelming to sift through all of the obviously biased accounts (mostly left by perpetrators) to come up with a reasonable assessment of what happened. They give details about the victims and others that were not present in Juanita ...more
Sandy
This one was hard to rate. It was slow going, with a lot of people and events to keep straight. Although the authors are all LDS church members, you would not know it from reading the book. It was not at all religious or biased in tone, and they made no effort to excuse or justify the actions of the Mormon militia--in fact, just the opposite. I felt the book ended too abruptly and left me with unanswered questions. Why did it take 20 years to bring John Lee to trial (and subsequent execution)? W ...more
Tiffany
Most of this book details the causes and events leading up to the massacre and then quickly ends which left me with the same questions from previous posts. It is heavily detailed and there were many primary source documents referenced. I wonder though if the Church really did allow all documents to be viewed. Granted, church members probably have more access, but I question the all access pass. I question the full disclosure of such a horrific event, especially after the authors mentioned how li ...more
Bill
Excellent and balanced treatment of a difficult subject. Each source is meticulously cited and they are careful in drawing broad conclusions. They also are show how many factors combined to create a tragic situation without removing the blame from the individuals who appear to have made the most grievous errors. Not a happy story, but a great resource for those trying to make sense of the time and place see a broad view of the problems.
Russell
Regrettably, there is not much "new" in history. I did a major papper on the topic in 1976 at the U of U; the three authors and tons of research assistants added little - details to the point of microphobia! Do read the endnotes; therein lies the gold....
Gary
My ggGrandfather was involved in this tragedy. This book gives me new insight into the events surrounding the massacre.
Diane
Don't be fooled by the thickness of this book. Of the 430 pages, 200 are allocated towards acknowledgements, references, lists of names of those involved, and other various notes.

It doesn't read too much like a text book but at times I felt there was too much information of the surrounding circumstances. Still, it's to the point, direct in taking all accounts, every angle, unbiased perspective possible. What an atrocity occurred simply because of misunderstandings, poor communication, and pride
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Kate
Completely unintentionally, I began this book days after finishing one about the role of average German citizens in the Holocaust, and how ordinary and otherwise decent people can be convinced to commit terrible acts. The themes were almost identical.

This book is very solidly researched and balanced. I was relieved to find that the authors sought to examine and report the truth. Obviously bias is probably impossible to actually eliminate, but I was pleased with the telling. It was neither a con
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Jake
On a Utah History trip hosted by Weber State University, I had the opportunity to visit the actual site of the massacre. It’s a beautiful locale, calm and serene these days. What breaks the serenity is when people visiting the site open their mouths and start talking. To this day, intense bitterness is felt and expressed by people on both genealogical sides of the event, as if the massacre happened yesterday.

On my trip to the site, prominent scholar of Utah history, Gene Sessions took us throug
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Melinda
At first I was slightly reluctant to read this book, but I really wanted to understand this part of Mormon history better. I came away feeling like this was a very factual (yet readable), unbiased account of the horrific events that took place. I felt like the point the authors were trying to make was that this was an atrocity committed by several Mormon men of their own accord; none of it sanctioned by Brigham Young or higher church authorities. I felt like it gave a good understanding of the e ...more
Paul
2010.0807-2010.0820
While I wanted a more scholarly work, (source material in the appendix, better analysis on mob psychology and the effect of guilt on behavior) I would have to say this is a must read for everyone. Looking back we must understand that this is an account of real human beings who in the end acted against there moral sences and did evil things. The situation they found themselves in is out of our common experience; taking a moral high round outside of that faitfull week in Aug 185
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Jaclyn
Although the subject matter (mass murder) is horrific, this was an excellently researched and extremely well-written description of the massacre. I knew next to nothing about the massacre when I picked up this book and appreciate how in-depth and fact-based it was while still reading as easily as a novel.

I appreciated this quote by the authors:

"There were conflicts on the southern road. But the emigrants did not deserve what eventually happened to them at Mountain Meadows. The massacre was not
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Terry
Massacre at Mountain Meadows is a thoroughly researched, well-written book. It describes the complex situation of the Latter-day Saints in 1857 frontier Utah and the conditions that led to the massacre of 120 pioneers immigrating to California. The authors unflinchingly describe the decisions and actions by local Mormon leaders that led to the massacre. The book provides very little detail on the aftermath of the massacre, which will be set out in a second book planned by the authors.

While the s
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William Gerke
I picked up "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" because it was one of the few historical works I could find on the area where I will be going for my honeymoon. It tells the story of the massacre of a group of emigrants headed to California by a combined force of Mormons and Indians. But to say that vastly oversimplifies the situation and the novel.

"Massacre" tells the story of a community of good, just, fair-minded people who headed west because of a promise, a hope, that was betrayed because of gree
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Wade
On September 11, 1857 a group of Mormons, with the help of local Paiute Indians killed approximately 120 emigrants passing through southern Utah on their way to California, this book attempts to explain the complicated circumstances that led to this awful event. While not officially released by the church, its three authors (respected historians who work for the church) were provided full access to all church archives and given full editorial control of the final product. As I read, I reflected ...more
Craig
This book is perhaps the most complete and accurate account of the terrible atrocities (murders) committed on the members of an immigrant wagon train passing through Utah en route to California in September, 1857. The killings were committed by both members in good standing in the Mormon Church and their Indian neighbors of the Piute tribe in southern Utah. The area of Mountain Meadows lies to the west midway between St. George and Cedar City on the old Spanish or California trail which linked U ...more
Chris Webber
Killing fields. That is what the authors use to describe the massacre at Mountain Meadows. On September 11, 1857 approximately 120 emigrants of the Baker-Fancher party were massacred by a premeditated, systematic group of Mormon leaders, assisted by Paiute Indians. Massacre at Mountain Meadows was written by three faithful mormon scholars, sponsored by Brigham Young University and the LDS church.

In a pull-no-punches narrative, they present a simple, easy to read story of how the massacre was pl
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Bonnie
The most recent and most thoroughly researched book written about this tragic week in Mormon history. Using documents previously not available to scholars and rereading carefully the traditional sources, the three authors give new and definite statements as to what, why and how the events took place. I read Juanita Brooks' account many years ago as well as being familiar with President Hinckley's ongoing process to apologize to the Arkansas families, formally accept responsibility and then build ...more
Jeanette
In September, 1857 Mormon settlers in an isolated area of southern Utah deceived a group of approximately 120 emigrants with a promise of protection from local Indians. After convincing the emigrants to turn over their weapons the settlers killed all of the emigrant party with the exception of a small handful of children.
In the preface to this book the authors stated that "thoroughness and candor have been our ideals in writing this book, but with so many minds already made up about the role and
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Teri
Apr 04, 2008 Teri marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

In this new, more complete and accurate telling of a most misunderstood time in Mormon History, we get to get inside the researchers/authors heads to understand how this most horrific tragedy occurred and why. The authors take us back to the early days of The Church, when we were persecuted for our beliefs and driven from their homes, women even raped. In the mid 19th Century, times were rough on the trail for the Mormons, having to contend with Indians, the elements, disease, the Military and a
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Terrol Williams
Horrifying. Reading this book was possibly the most wrenching literary experience of my life. Exhaustively researched and noted (the narrative covers barely more than half of the book's 430 printed pages, the rest are notes, references, etc.), this must be considered the most important and complete historical account of what is, without any question, the blackest hour of LDS church history.

As a Mormon myself, I have no words for that awful scene. The historians do an admirable job of placing the
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Becky
This book made me really sad. For how many times I've heard about the horror and evil of the Haun's Mill Massacre, I really didn't know anything about Mountain Meadows. For three active LDS authors I thought they did an extraordinary job of telling the story accurately, and as unbiasedly as possible, without condemning, or defending the Mormons involved. (The book is 430 pages, the last 200 are their research notes.)

This paragraph from the book sums it up for me.

"There were conflicts on the sout
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Very good read 2 20 May 24, 2009 12:30PM  
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