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On Zion's Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  102 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Shrouded in the lore of legendary Indians, Mt. Timpanogos beckons the urban populace of Utah. And yet, no "Indian" legend graced the mount until Mormon settlers conjured it--once they had displaced the local Indians, the Utes, from their actual landmark, Utah Lake. "On Zion's Mount" tells the story of this curious shift. It is a quintessentially American story about the fr ...more
Hardcover, 455 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Harvard University Press
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Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Comparing other reviews of this book on GoodReads is interesting. Some complain Farmer spent too much time with Mount Timp (the first part of the book actually deals with Utah Lake, the Utah Valley, not the mountain that later came to dominate the landscape in the mind of residents), while others complain that Farmer derailed too often (there are frequent excursions into other parts of the United States in interesting discussions about music, toponyms, folklore, tourism, masculinity, scouting, e ...more
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Excellent synthesis of topic related to western history, including scientific expeditions, muscular Christianity, Mormon history, and many other related topics. My only problem with this well written and researched work was that it often left me wanting even more, even when I knew it was beyond the scope of the project. In particular, even though the book was about Mormon appropriation of Native American land, history, and labor I was left wanting more of this history from the Native American pe ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it
For the past several years, I have lived in a place with Mount Timpanogos practically in my backyard and a great view of Utah Lake close by. I have been aware of some of the recent history of American Fork and Provo canyons and Utah Lake as well as the folklore told about Timpanogos Cave. However, like most people in Utah Valley, I have been unaware of where these places really fit in history. This book was written to inform us of the forgotten history – that Utah Lake was once the dominant feat ...more
Quinn Rollins
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A few weeks back one of my favorite history professors recommended a book in passing: Jared Farmer's 2008 volume On Zion's Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape. The professor was using his book as an example of how our views of geography change according to our own perspectives and needs, even when the land itself doesn't. As a longtime resident of Utah and a history teacher myself, I was interested in the subject and checked the book out.

What I found was a fascinating look at how
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Jared Farmer crafts this cultural history around the creation story of a "natural" landmark—a beloved peak in the American West: Mount Timpanogos. It began as a mount that was neither visible nor haunted, but Farmer demonstrates how now it is both. As a beginning point, he lays out how the peak--a limestone massif--was anonymous among the many mountains in the Wasatch front. During Native American times prior to European settlement, there was a lake-centric view of the region that shifted to a f ...more
Cheryl Gatling
Jared Farmer wanted to write a book about Mount Timpanogos in Provo, Utah. He began researching, and he could not stop. He tells the backstory. He tells a side story. He tells another side story. When he wants to talk about the mountain's Indian name, he backs up to tell how places throughout the nation received Indian, or Indian-sounding names, and about the different ways that place names can be assigned in general. When he wants to talk about the tradition of hiking Mount Timpanogos, he backs ...more
Gene McAvoy
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Just found this one in the Library of Congress bookstore. Looks like it will be very interesting. Besides, when you get 20% off at the LOC bookstore you can't hardly pass 'em up! :-)

---- and after finishing ----

I found that JF had written a well-researched look into a number of related topics. As the title implies, the book is about Mormons, and how poorly the pioneers treated the Indians, and about the many features of the American Landscape that are related to indian legends.

He spends a great
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed this, but must deduct a star. As long as Farmer is staying with his Mormon history vs. Actual Indian history dichotomy, this is really great stuff, but he goes off on long digressions into things like the history of 'Indianist' music as it relates to early 20th Century Opera, and that gets a little old. I know it relates back to what he is trying to say about Utah, but I think the book would be better with a little more editing.
However, a lot of what he has to say is really
Jan 31, 2012 rated it liked it
I quite enjoyed the first few chapters of this book. I apreciated the the depth and background he provided on the Mormon migration. I was fascinated by the chapters about Mormon and Indian relations. Not that I have read much, but this was the first account of these interactions that did not feel like it was written by a strong Mormon apologist.

After the first few chapters, however, the book got very tedious. It began to reveal its true nature. The book would more appropriately be titled, Mount
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Farmer's well researched and wittily written history is riveting. The myth-busting account of Utah Valley's Indians was especially fascinating. The book is informative, interesting on to often tragic history behind specific local places: Battle Creek, Squaw Peak. The books both offers a loving account of Timpanogos and needed, redemptive story of Utah Lake. I also enjoyed how the book fanned out into erudite discussion on "Indian" place names, hiking, etc. My only gripe was a comment that went s ...more
Loren Smith
May 24, 2014 rated it liked it
This book had plenty of good information. My issue with it is that Jared Farmer has some obvious biases. Critical thinking and writing are fully acceptable to me, but you should use the same ruler for all parties involved. Robert Redford and Brigham Young should be judged by the same academic standards if academic and scholarly are your goals. If one is an isolationist they both were for attempting many of the same methods. If we aren't being critical than sing praises the same way. If Walkara w ...more
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
For an adapted dissertation, this was quite an engaging read. The first section chronicles Mormon-Indian relations in early Utah; the second recounts the making of Mount Timpanogos into a monument of nature, situated within a history of outdoor recreation; and third (the least compelling of the three) discussed the appropriation and invention of Indian myth by white settlers. Farmer is a fantastic writer and historian - although the subject matter of Glen Canyon Dammed appealed to me even more, ...more
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this up because I had lived in the area he describes, in the shadow of Mt. Timpanoogos. I have to say, I learned a great deal about the history of that area...and much of the U.S. Farmer definitely has a soapbox and makes a number of stretches, but I found it entertaining in parts and even laughed out loud. It's a much better read if you're familiar with the Provo-Orem, UT area as well as with Mormons.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
Farmer's research on the history of Utah was pretty laid out, I think. He goes to unravel the memories that were being forgotten involving Utah's history with Latter-day Saints and the Native American peoples. Farmer was fair in writing about LDS church buildings and temples that exist near the Wasatch Front; he came off rather satirical when talking about the Mormon Pioneers and his criticisms of President Brigham Young. I read this for my Utah history class at Brigham Young University.
2009 Parkman Award winner. Usually like these winners, but disappointed in this one. Not what I was expecting. Thought it was going to be more about the history of the Morman church and the settlement in Uath. Too much repetition.
Nov 05, 2008 rated it liked it
This was written by a fellow Timpview High classmate of mine. It read a little like a textbook on mostly Utah County, where I grew up, and the surrounding areas. I found lots of interesting information about Utah Lake, the Pioneers, and Timp. Not a leisure book for me, but very informative.
Sobriquet L
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite book on the history of Utah so far, as it includes the histories of the Native Americans and debunks the silly- but still often repeated- legends about them. Everyone who calls Utah home should read this book.
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic read about the environmental history of Utah County and the meaning of Utah Lake and Mt. Timpanogos through time.
Feb 09, 2011 marked it as to-read Mormon settlers in Utah bestowed "Indian" legends on their new homelands at the expense of the indigenous peoples.
Ellen Stroud
I loved this book, which really made me think about memory, myth, and belief. And also about ways of seeing, understanding, and experiencing landscapes.
Apr 12, 2009 marked it as to-read
for an article on some of the themes of this book:
A magnificent place based history. Combines anthropological, cultural, and environmental methods.
Kristin Tabke
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Must read if you come from or currently reside in Utah.
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really fair treatment of pioneer & Native American history in Utah. I was impressed with the writing too--not boring!
Jan 15, 2009 added it
So far, it's taught me a lot about the history of living in the shadow of Mt. Timpanogos.
Kate Hoffmire
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Nov 04, 2015
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Sep 10, 2012
Jami O
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Oct 25, 2014
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Jun 16, 2015
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