Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell
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Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  271 ratings  ·  90 reviews

When Orrin Porter Rockwell died of a heart attack in 1878, his name was as well known as Brigham Young's. Cowboys sang songs about him, and newspapers had frequently printed scandalous accounts about the malicious Mormon "destroying angel." But to many, Rockwell was a guardian angel, and it could be easily said he saved far more lives than he took. It seems history tells t

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Hardcover, 176 pages
Published May 3rd 2010 by Covenant Communications Inc (first published May 1st 2010)
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Sandra Strange
This book, by one of Rockwell's descendants and another writer, gives a good overall picture of the life of this controversial man, along with many stories handed down about him. The biographical book labels the stories that cannot be verified, which is helpful. Predictably, the book explains and plays down the episodes that are used to vilify the man, but includes those stories, so the book is more balanced than one would expect. Especially telling is the assessment of the evidence for and agai...more
Jason
I'd always heard the legends of Porter Rockwell but had never read any books about him. I found the stories in this book to be pretty fascinating. The authors (relative John Rockwell and 1 other man)obviously did a lot of research to be able to write this book. They were able to dig up little details from other books of the period that lent to the veracity and credibility of their own.

The authors do a great job of presenting the stories about Porter in an engaging way, of helping the reader to b...more
Sheila
This weekend I read, "Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell" by John W. Rockwell and Jerry Borrowman. I have never read a book about Porter Rockwell before and I have always wanted to. This book is a great one for those, like me, who want an easy, quick-read about Porter Rockwell.

I have read that some people who have reviewed this book did not like it. They said that this was not a very good biography of Porter Rockwell's life. I do not think that the authors would ever claim that this book...more
Casey
Really Really enjoyed this book! I knew a little about Porter Rockwell but this book gave me a little more insight into who he really was. Porter Rockwell couldn't read or write so there is no personal history of his. All the stories about him come from those who knew him, but I felt like this book did a great job at distinguishing between myth and fact and in portraying porters good and bad qualities fairly. It's a quick and fun read.
Kevin
I really enjoyed this book. Porter Rockwell is a figure from 1800's Mormonism. He was a member from the beginning, and traveled with the church in its Exodus out to Salt Lake City. This book was written by his great-great grandson. He is a history teacher and has spent his life researching his family history. There are many stories and rumors floating around regarding Porter Rockwell, maybe one of the most colorful members of the Church of Jesus Christ. The author has retold the stories and has...more
Tamra
I have to warn you, this book is a little on the elementary level. If you already know a little about Porter Rockwell, this book is not for you. Short (very short) little stories about his shenanigans he carried out all over the country. I didn't finish the book thinking, "Wow, this man loved this Church so much he would do anything to preserve it." No, I was thinking more along the lines of, "Hey, hey, hey, didn't he find himself a good way to wreak havoc and seem like a mighty fine dude in th...more
Seth
This was an interesting, quick read. It was my introduction to Porter Rockwell, and I really grew to like the guy by the end of it, his faults notwithstanding. I had always thought of him as a drunk bodyguard, but he was much more than that--he was eventually one of the top law enforcement agents in Utah, worked for Wells Fargo and the U.S. government, and was well respected by each of these employers. He was a pretty savvy businessman as well.

I would have preferred a more comprehensive biograph...more
Ammon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric
A lot of reviews complain about the writing. I picked up the audio version from the library. It is a talk given by a descendant of Porter. As a talk, it is wonderful. I loved it and have listened to it twice. It is only 2 CDs and he tells story after story. I've always wanted to learn more about Porter. What is true and what is fiction. John Rockwell has spent a life's hobby searching for the truth. Porter's loyalty to his childhood friend Joseph, Brigham Young and the church are a great example...more
Phillip
The name Porter Rockwell comes up occasionally in LDS circles of conversation and study, but for my part I knew very little about him until I cracked open this book. The authors announce that this is no comprehensive biography but a collection of accounts that give a fairly solid depiction of who the man was.

Although, some of the writing is limited by the sketchiness of some of the accounts, the book offers moments of heart, humor, adventure and catharsis. The reader gets a feel for the heart w...more
Darin
Jun 05, 2011 Darin rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Easy riders of history
Recommended to Darin by: Costco
This book was very disappointing. I have been a fan of Porter Rockwell since I was kid, along with Jim Bridger, and Jeremiah Johnson. These were REAL MEN. Sadly, this book does a very simplistic, blithe, presentation of a seminal figure in early LDS history. I should have looked through it before buying, because cracking the cover immediately shows the reader that this book will take less than two days.

I was hoping for a gut-wrenching, nerve-biting, adventure story of the "Guardian Angel" that n...more
Steven S
I love this book, because Porter Rockwell was an extremely faithful man. My favorite story of him is when a young man was watching over some of Rockwell's horses, when there came a knock on the door. Well this young man opened the door, to have bullets fly at him. He hid, and when Porter came back, the young man told him what had happened. "You little fool. You shoot first than invite them in, that way they know your armed." Anyway, he went out to find the horses.
A couple of hours later, he came...more
Trevor Ralls
I received this as a gift and consequentially read it out of obligation. I have to admit that I started the book with limited knowledge of Porter Rockwell but ended it with a negative perception; which is certainly the opposite objective of the authors. The writing is juvenile, the content filled with conjecture ("we can assume", "seems fair to speculate", "possible explanation...", and on and on), the opinions biased, and the accounting far-fetched. There's got to be a more credible book out th...more
Dad
Porter Rockwell is a very familiar name in church history. Most of us may have a hint of his reputation but we really don't know much about him and his daily activities. He is more a legend in our minds than a real person. After reading about many of his experiences, it is understandable why he is legendary. There is a bit of the Forrest Gump about him--not his mental side, but the fact that Rockwell seems to be everywhere in church history and early western U.S. history. This guy keeps showing...more
Shawnee Sorensen
I have wanted to know more about Orren Porter Rockwell for quite some time so I read this book. There were some interesting stories but I came away wishing I had more. I guess he led a pretty mysterious life and so there were many things speculated on but not verified. I loved that no one could hit him with a bullet and that his over coat was full of holes. I also thought it showed a kind heart when he gave his hair to a dear friend in his later years. If I had a time machine I would go back and...more
Donna
Usually, I only give five stars when the writing moves me. Although the writing here is not poor, it doesn't stand out as being exceptional. What is so impressive about this book is the man himself. Porter Rockwell was fascinating. Every story is documented and the portrayal of Rockwell is balanced. The long-haired body guard of two LDS Prophets drank strong whiskey to the day he died and he killed over thirty men - mostly in the line of duty. I have a new appreciation for LDS Church history and...more
Phyrman21
Absolute awesome man. Amazing stories. A true inspiration. My favorite from early church history. Enough said.
LeeAnn
I loved this book. Like the title states, it is a collection of stories from Porter Rockwell's life. It is a wonderful book for boys but girls will enjoy it too. The author is clear about which stories have been substantiated and which have not. He is also clear about his own opinions and never claims to hold an unbiased opinion. Because he presents each story with its supporting proof, the reader can make their own determination.

By the end, I wholeheartedly like this man, Porter Rockwell. I la...more
Magila
eh. sort of a little collection of stories from a descendant and his friend that reads a bit like a family history book with some references. it sets a few things right, but certainly isn't authoritative or comprehensive. it would have been nice to see a little more depth in some other stories, for example rockwell's personal life.

on the upside, it's a quick read and reasonably well researched. there are better biographies, but as an intro, with a fun look at turn of the 1800's mormondom, josep...more
Sandy
Book info: It seems history tells two contrasting narratives about one of the West's most controversial men. Yes, at times Porter Rockwell could act violently; yet he was overly generous to those in need. At least two dozen people died at his hand, yet in every instance he was exonerated. As the ninth person baptized into the restored Church, Porter was central to the early growth of the organization, even though he was never called to a position of leadership. He was called a saint and a sinner...more
Ben
I'm sorry. I rated this one a little lower, because I've read his biography, and a lot of what's in this book is information I already knew. Of course, that's bound to be the case, but I was thinking these stories might be more of an addition to what I already have found out about this great man. So, if you've never read anything about Porter, this is a quick read, and quite a few good stories about his life. If you've read his biography, you can take or leave this book. It wasn't unbearable to...more
Heather C.
A good introduction to Porter Rockwell's adult life. Some reviews have said it isn't well written, but I didn't go into it thinking it would be--it is short and simple. I thought of it more as something young readers could enjoy. (Richard Lloyd Dewey's 'Porter Rockwell: A Biography' is much more detailed and carefully written) Anyway, I admire this man and liked this quick read, sharing it with my son (who has Rockwell's 'wanted' poster hanging in his room)
Jamie Hatch
My husband and I read this out loud together and had a very enjoyable read. The stories where fun and gave a different perspective and back drop to church history than I am used to hearing about. I would liked to have learned more about his family life and maybe some personal accounts from his children about the type of father he was. Maybe I need to read a biography, instead of a collection of stories. It was well written but with more editing mistakes than I expected. I'd recommend to all, but...more
Breanna Olaveson
This book was just okay. It was an interesting read, and now that I'm finished, I feel like I understand a little more about not only Porter Rockwell's life but the circumstances in the West after the Saints arrived.

The book needs a little tighter edit, and the language can be loaded at times. In a few parts, I felt like the author was trying to lead me to a specific conclusion, and that bothered me a little.

All in all, it was a fun book to read.
Todd Cannon
I really liked this book. It is a nice easy read. It is not so much a story about Rockwell as a bunch of short stories or experiences in his life. It has some historical references in it to different documents about Rockwell's life. It gives some of the negative stories about him but it is written by one of his desendants so it is definately pro-Rockwell. Porter Rockwell has always been one of my heros and this book only strengthens that.
Heather Miller
I enjoyed reading this book especially since I know one of the authors. John Rockwell was my mentor teacher when I did my student teaching at Taylorsville High Schooll. It was fun learning more about Porter Rockwell, who was a very colorful character in LDS history. Rather than a comprehensive biography, the authors decided to write a collection of short stories which made the book more personable. Porter Rockwell was quite the man!
Rebekah
I appreciated this book as an introduction to the life of Porter Rockwell. Growing up in the Church, I heard that name often but never knew much about the man. I discovered so many things about him, and am coming away with a greater appreciation of his life and service. However, I felt that the writing was a little bland. I would expect the stories of such an interesting man to be exciting to read, but overall the book was very dull to me.
Cathy
Hard to believe it was written by someone with any history background. Somewhat entertaining, but note that one of the authors is a descendant. There were a few glaring errors apparent to even me.

I wanted to read about Rockwell because of information I had that he lived for quite some time in an area where my ancestors also settled. This book did not touch that issue. It is possible that the other source was in error.
Rosemary
This is a very simple introductory biography about Porter Rockwell written mostly to dispel unfavorable myth. Not just a gunslinging drunk, Porter was a well respected and quite successful business man. I enjoyed this quick read; however, am looking forward to reading a more comprehensive biography for a more detailed account of his life in the future.
Ane
Very interesting look into the life of Porter Rockwell. I liked how the authors made sure both sides of the story were told. It's interesting that there are no first hand accounts because Porter could neither read nor write. But his life is very interesting. A quick peek into the life of Rockwell and early church leaders.
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