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Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows Paperback – Sep 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press; New edition edition (Sept. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806136391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806136394
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 17.7 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 975 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #19,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I liked Bagley's work as the product of years of effort and the assembly of some new material. However, the book is very weak in the assessment of official documents, probably its greatest defect.
When Blood of the Prophets concludes that the LDS Church reached a "deal" in September 1876 with the Justice Department which would require the government to cease any further investigation of the massacre in exchange for the scapegoating of John D. Lee, Bagley misses two important things. First, he ignores federal case law which would have made any such deal a nullity and unenforceable. A federal prosecutor cannot offer a deal like the one Bagley describes without the approval of a judge or a president.
Second, he ignores official correspondence from 1876 to 1884. In that correspondence, government lawyers express the feeling that it would be wise not to make their investigation public, as it would alert possible suspects. The investigation, in the end, proved ineffectual. Nonetheless, the government pursued it for years. A president, a secretary of war, three attorneys general, several marshals, and a federal judge all weighed in on the prosecutorial effort from 1876 to 1884. A presidential pardon was secretly offered Lee to turn against Brigham Young in 1877 -- months after the date Bagley tells us a deal was made to ignore the prosecution of Brigham Young and others. A reward was offered by the Department of Justice in 1884 for the apprehension of massacre perpetrators who were fugitives.
Bagley's theory of a "deal," however, is the central theme of the book.
There really is, not yet, any definitive treatise on the massacre which adequately handles the official documents.
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Format: Hardcover
Recently I've read Jon Krakauer's book which deals partly with the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and Sally Denton's book which focuses entirely on it. Will Bagley's "Blood of the Prophets" is the definitive source, to date (and until the Mormon Church makes all its archives available to scholars), on this shocking, almost incomprehensible event.
I've given it 5 stars because of the throughness of its documentation, but I do believe serious inquirers should consult other sources for a fuller description of the oppression which the Mormons had experienced, culminating in the lynching of Joseph Smith and his brother. Such knowledge makes the Mountain Meadows Massacre of a large wagon train, largely by the Mormons, no less horrifying and no less indefensible, but at least slightly explicable.
As I immersed myself in the bloody events of 1857, I was sadly aware that the willingness of ordinarily decent people to do terrible things in the name of their god is not unique, of course, to some Mormons of the mid-19th century. And it is not unique to Islamic extremists today, as evidenced by Krakauer's book about recent Utah murders-in-the-name-of-god and by the killing of Christians by Christians in Northern Ireland. Religions, which inspire so many good, generous actions, also are the justification used by some people to commit the most terrible acts.
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Format: Hardcover
If people are honestly reading this book, and taking it to heart to be a "true" "solid" book, worth reading, then they are just about as ignorant as Simon was when he offered money to Peter to purchase the power of God, as stated in the book of ACTS. This author claims to know the mental motives of a man that lived over 100 years ago! How can you say that Brigham Young was feeling this... or thinking that... When in all actuality, YOU CANT READ DEAD PEOPLES MINDS! Not even journals can "tell" you there thoughts and feelings. So that right there should tell you that this author was biased when producing this book. And when it comes to "TRUE HISTORY" A biased document can not be trusted.
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By Carlos A. Gonzalez on Nov. 27 2003
Format: Hardcover
All that the author adds with this book are more conjectures based on arbitrary interpretation of phrases in documents, plus opinions that agree with his own, evident anti-mormon bias.
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Format: Hardcover
Will Bagley's "Blood of the Prophets" is a superb example of what real history should be---painstakingly researched, well-written, and capably topped off with original analysis. It is, in short, a major contribution to the literature of the period, because Bagley takes on and answers two central questions: was the Mormon church as an institution involved in the Mountain Meadows massacre? Was Brigham Young involved? The job he does at researching, writing and providing penetrating analysis will, no doubt, stand the test of time.
Now, if most other historians could follow this-type blueprint (a few already do, but not many), history would be more enjoyable.
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By A Customer on June 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
I find this all interesting, but realistically the researchers could not possibly understand motives or true involvements into the massacre. Even after reading this book, the question still remains, what REALLY happened?
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Format: Hardcover
This book may deal chiefly with the Mountain Meadows Massacre, but researchers and scholars will find no better primer on what life in territorial Utah was really like. I've been trying to understand why my great-great-grandfather's first wife left him to elope with a soldier from the Utah Expedition, and this book is the most helpful source I've found.
Bagley undertook this work knowing that the Massacre and its unflagging aftermath cannot be interpreted without a thorough understanding of Brigham Young. In the third chapter, my eyes popped out when I read, "Brigham Young loved his office as governor of Utah and the salary and power that went with it, but he was never comfortable with his role as prophet." This was the preface to a series of staggering insights into Young's inner workings.
On the 200th anniversary of Young's birth, Bagley published a sagacious appreciation of the prophet's career in the Salt Lake Tribune. Let's hope Bagley is gearing up to produce the definitive biography of Young that for over a century has been crying out to be written.
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