Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mountain Meadows Massacre” as Want to Read:
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Mountain Meadows Massacre

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  462 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In the Fall of 1857, some 120 California-bound emigrants were killed in lonely Mountain Meadows in southern Utah; only eighteen young children were spared. The men on the ground after the bloody deed took an oath that they would never mention the event again, either in public or in private. The leaders of the Mormon church also counseled silence. The first report, soon aft ...more
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published October 31st 1967 by University of Oklahoma Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mountain Meadows Massacre, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mountain Meadows Massacre

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"I owe it to myself and to my readers to tell all the truth, for truth suppressed is its own kind of a lie.”
-- Juanita Brooks in a letter to Justice Jesse Udall, 1961


"It seems to be a clear case of how a group, stirred and angered by reports perhaps only half true, frenzied by mistaken zeal to protect their homes and families and to defend their church , were led to do what none singly would have done under normal circumstances, and for which none singly can be held responsible."
-- Juanita Brook
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read, although a bit dry and full of huge footnotes that I felt distracted from the flow of the chapters (or maybe I'm just not cut out to read historical non-fiction).

A couple quick thoughts: 1) kudos to Brooks for having the courage to write this at a time when all the details were essentially filed away and locked up, and 2) the wild, wild west was a crazy time and basically uncivilized by today's standards. This event took place in that setting, yet I'm trying to understand it t
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Juanita Brooks was a wonderfully brave woman to have composed this book at a time when the massacre was commonly thought of as either having never happened, or simply "an Indian Massacre." The readership of this book owes a great deal to Brooks' great contribution to historical scholarship. Few historians have attempted to dissect the Mountain Meadows Massacre without coming away with polemic bias or ignorance. By all counts, Juanita rose above the cynicism in producing such a great work.
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious
This was my first in-depth study of the Mountain Meadows massacre. I knew very little about the incident previous to reading this book and now I feel much more aware of the conditions within the Mormon Church as well as in the state of Utah, etc., leading up to the massacre. I think Juanita Brooks did a great job describing the local atmosphere and attitudes previous to, during, and after the massacre, and she cited available sources whenever possible. She showed how the tension and fear in Sout ...more
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-us
Juanita Brooks, an active member of the Mormon religion, delved deeply into the Mormon historical archives to write about the Mountain Meadow Massacre of Sept. 1857. The Mormons had been chased out of many eastern areas due to their unique religious views, finally reaching Utah Territory with hopes of being left alone. News of possible U.S. Army interference reached the Mormons and they began to organize their own army for protection. In doing so, they also believed that they had to protect them ...more
Mike Day
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Juanita Brooks is my kind of historian. I appreciate the work she put into writing this book. This is such a sad story and a hard subject. The Mormons who participated in this massacre will always be remembered for the worst decision of their lives. Juanita treats this subject with care, yet works to provide the truth. A sad and tragic story.
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I dated a Jack Mormon (one who has left the church) for awhile and the only time it came up was when he met me and when he said he had done a mission just out of high school. On my birthday one year he took me out and let me get stinking drunk, so drunk that I passed out and woke up in his bed the next morning with him and his roommate both watching me strangely. Apparently I had gone crazy and got up, screaming and ran to the closet where I continued screaming "don't hurt my daughter! Don't hur ...more
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History lovers
The Mountain Meadows Massacre is something most people have probably never heard of before - unless you're a Mormon or had ancestors who were part of the massacred Fancher wagon party. This book was the first to seriously attempt an honest investigation of the massacre, unflinchingly seeking the truth. What makes it even more remarkable is that it was written by a loyal and faithful Mormom woman who stubbornly followed the facts of the story, regardless of the consequences. And these potential c ...more
Jenalyn C
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profoundly sad.
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not at all impressed with the mentality of this book. The author informs the readers she is and always has been LDS (Latter-Day Saint), which means the church allowed her to publish this and accept her in doing so. The fact remains she did not bring any blood to the surface and resolve any fantastic crime... she compiled facts that were already published and like the artist she is, created her own picture.

John D. Lee was by no means an unwavering paperboy and scout, waiting at the corner to hel
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an essential read for Mormon historiography; it is seminal for its contribution to an emerging climate of openness in Mormon Studies that occurred (though with some give-and-take along the way) during the second half of the twentieth century. In THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE, Brooks produced the first fully-documented study of the Mormon involvement in the 1857 massacre (1950); previously, local Mormons and their descendents had denied (some knowingly but many unknowingly) any Mormon inv ...more
Katherine Addison
Juanita Brooks was a very brave person.

Writing less than a hundred years after the massacre and--as she states clearly--being a devout and loyal Mormon, she had the courage to (a) ask questions, (b) find answers, and (c) publish what she found, despite the fact that her findings were not favorable to the Mormon Church or many of its important early members, including Brigham Young. The book is fascinating as, in-and-of-itself, a historical artifact and as a work of historiography, talking about
Jeff Wombold
I thought this book was very hard to read because of the constant changes in font due to the collection of notes from various sources. The footnotes were sometimes the size of the page. I must admit that I don't believe in the Mormon Church, so I went into the book with a pre-conceived notion that the Mormons who performed this act were evil. I continued through the book and I began to realize that I could understand the way that they felt after the murdering of innocent Mormon men and boys at H ...more
Richard Homer
Oct 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the author did a wonderful job of laying out the underlying currents of a pending war with the United States, and the paranoia and suspicions of the Mormons of the outside world. As well as the simmering animosity they had, because of their experience in Missouri at the hands of some of the immigrants on the trail through Utah, at this tense time in the relationship between the U.S. and the Mormons. Juanita Brooks having grown up a Mormon in Southern Utah shortly after this time as a c ...more
Juanita Brooks grew up in a Mormon community in southern Utah and this was, in her biographer's words, "the book she was born to write." She was the first to undertake a scholarly, historical exploration of the horrific 1857 massacre which wiped out some 120 men, women, and children. She wrote with the intention "neither to smear nor to clear" the participants, who (likely) included her own grandfather. The book's publication in 1950 broke new ground and was the first comprehensive account of th ...more
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book to read. It was about a controversial topic. I think murder is wrong but the people massacred brought a lot of the ire they received upon themselves. Mormons had suffered in Missouri, Illinois, and other places and now the roles were switched and the Gentiles caught it. Many of those Gentiles, some of whom had participated in atrocities like burning Mormon homes and kicking them off their hard-earned farms and out of their homes in the winter, rather than going aroun ...more
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though dated, this is still considered by historians to be the "classic" work on the massacre (at least until fall 2008 when Turley's book comes out). Juanita received a lot of flak for daring to write a book that laid at least partial blame at the feet of pioneer church leaders and members. She never had action taken against her by Church authorities, even though not everyone agreed with or cared for her conclusions. I found the book to be as objective as it could be, considering the volatile s ...more
Apr 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as research for a paper I wrote on Rene Girard's theory of ritual violence. This book is less the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre--ending as it does, with the execution of John D Lee two decades later, it is more *his* story.

Lee's story, told by Brooks, fits the Girardian scapegoat very well:
- violence and trouble between the Mormons and the Federal government continued to escalate, and there was no clear resolution of the MMM.
- he was a princely figure, with impeccable creden
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little dry in places, but a remarkable work of research. Brooks does an amazing job of just putting all the facts out there- before, during, and after - and leaving the reader to come to his or her own conclusion. I particularly liked the work she put into "setting the stage," helping the reader understand the reasons for the emotional tension for Southern Mormons, the Native Americans, and the Emigrants. I also appreciated all the primary documents, so I could further study letters, journals, ...more
Jun 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I grew up in St. George and I had always heard about the massacre but had not spent the time to read about it. After reading Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven" it rekindled my interest on this subject. I found it to be a very interesting book. Brooks did a great job of placing the reader in the moment which allows the reader to decide for themselves where to place blame for the events.
Mar 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is completely biased, which is understandable considering a Mormon wrote it. It completely leaves out valuable facts and history about LDS, and is trying too hard too pull at everyone's heart strings. The author basically pretends that Joseph Smith did nothing wrong, and that Mormons were prosecuted for absolutely no reason. What's disappointing is that many people actually think this is a valuable historical account of Mountain Meadows, and are reviewing it as that on this website.
Stacy LeVine
This monograph chronicles the infamous butchery of a pioneer wagon train by fanatical Mormons in pre-statehood Utah. It is written by a Mormon historian, and is considered the definitive work on the event. Unfortunately, the massacre accounts for only about one third of the text. The rest is all Mormon genealogy. Consequently, it is a truly painful read. It's really a shame, because the actual story of the massacre is absolutely fascinating.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
Jon Krakauer thinks highly of this book... I think he mentioned her dogged attention to historic detail. I wasn't crazy about it. Her storytelling (yes, I know this is non-fiction) isn't particularly compelling, and she mentions a lot of people without properly introducing them -- perhaps assuming a deeper, broader knowledge of Mormon history than I have. And I may not be a Mormon scholar, but I've been reading a lot on the subject!
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easily the ugliest event in the history of Utah Mormonism. The MMM is terribly misunderstood by both skeptic and believer. Brooks' book, though somewhat old now, is still the best historical account of this horrible massacre. As for the big question: Did Brigham Young order the attack?

My answer is: No

Did he cover up the massacre? Oh hell yes he did!
It is hard to separate the historical importance of this book from the reading experience. Juanita Brooks bravely opened up a chapter of LDS history that needed to be discussed, though it took another half century for the LDS mainstream to follow her lead (hence the 2008 book Massacre at Mountain Meadows). A quick, terrible, and fascinating read.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read all the books I can find on Mountain Meadows Massacre, and this was the first, and considered the standard. What it lacks is what all the others lack, any conclusive evidence of what actually happened. There are many different accounts of the incident, none consistent with any other, and none totally convincing. I wish we could find out what really happened.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this many years ago. Unfortunately, the LDS church didn't want this published and Juanita Brooks was excommunicated. Now, there are several books on the topic without the threat of being disowned by the church as they cannot deny the history.

This is a dark event among LDS history but doesn't negate the good.
Nov 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had just finished the biography of Juanita Brooks and wanted to read some of her work so I read this one having grown up in the area. I knew Lee's descendants and wanted to know more. But this book lacks something that I am finding in the latest book that just came out. I also was disturbed by some of Juanita's methods.
Rebecca Hill
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Juanita Brooks took a huge risk in writing this book. She was once a practicing member of the Mormon faith, and when she decided that she could not keep the secret quiet anymore, she wrote this explosive book. I was riveted from the first page, and could not put it down.

Anyone that loves history, will love this book!
Rod Barnes
From the standpoint of establishing historical context in which the massacre occurred the book is very good. There is however so much contradictory testimony that I doubt that the truth of what happened and by whom will ever be clear. Well-written in any case.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
  • The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power
  • The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints
  • Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism
  • In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith
  • Massacre at Mountain Meadows
  • Mormon Polygamy: A History
  • Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders with a New Afterword
  • Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith
  • The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship
  • An Insider's View of Mormon Origins
  • American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, September 1857
  • The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle
  • David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism
  • Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism
  • No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith
  • Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith
  • An ancient American setting for the Book of Mormon

Share This Book