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5.0 out of 5 stars When ordinary people did terrible things
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...
Published on Jan. 23 2004 by Geoff Pietsch

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3.0 out of 5 stars Prodigious Research, But Misses Official Correspondence
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...
Published on March 6 2004 by Amazon Customer


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3.0 out of 5 stars Prodigious Research, But Misses Official Correspondence, March 6 2004
By 
Amazon Customer (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
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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5.0 out of 5 stars When ordinary people did terrible things, Jan. 23 2004
By 
Geoff Pietsch (Gainesville, FL) - See all my reviews
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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1.0 out of 5 stars Mental Motives known over 100 years later? Nay.., Dec 11 2003
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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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1.0 out of 5 stars No new facts, Nov. 27 2003
By 
Carlos A. Gonzalez (Tempe, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Major Contribution to Western American History, Sept. 9 2003
By 
Jim Scott "troonglfer" (Wailea, Maui, Hawai'i, USA) - See all my reviews
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to know...., June 18 2003
By A Customer
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brigham Young Tome in Bagley's Future?, May 9 2003
By 
Val Holley (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Brooks Said It All A Long Time Ago, Jan. 30 2003
By 
Dr. William Brace (Oak Park, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
Bagley wants to show that Brigham was involved in Mountain Meadows. He amasses tremendous amounts of evidence but the details and the trivia simply don't add up to convicting Brigham of anything more than being in the same stew as Henry {"Will no one rid me of this (wagon train)man?" And, then being totally surprised when some one actually does the deed. His defense of John D. Lee is very interesting and sympathetic. For a detailed criticism of this book see the current issue of Sunstone. For a more rational, less vitrolic approach go back to Brooks who doesn't clutter the page with mountains of detail none of which convicts or even indicts Brigham. This is a good case wherein more doens't mean better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent reading!, Jan. 24 2003
By 
lordhoot "lordhoot" (Anchorage, Alaska USA) - See all my reviews
Well, since there are so many excellent reviews already been written, there is little that I can add outside of this, I believed this book and the one by Juanita Brooks will probably the standard for this subject matter for some times to come. I have long been interested in the event of one of the greatest mass murder ever occured in American West but so little was known about it. But this much is pretty clear by the author, in a modern criminal justice system, Brigham Young would be doing prison time. In 1850s, Utah was ruled by a theocracy - no serious student of LDS history could ever considered that event such as this could be authorized or even be considered without the head of that theocracy knowing about it. I would considered it quite ironic that 19th century version of the 9-11 was perpetuated by another religious minded people, lashing out in blind hatred,
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5.0 out of 5 stars BOTP Is A Marvelous Work, Jan. 19 2003
Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows is not for thefaint-hearted, or those who want a popular "read", of this sensational or lurid event of the American West. Rather, it calls mightily to the professional historian and the serious layperson. Its words strike to the heart, and appeal to the gut, of human experience. The author's authentic voice as a great storyteller emerges swiftly in the prologue, "The Mountain Meadow", and continues to inform the book to its end.
Bagley magnificently narrates, interprets, and deconstructs the myth, legend, and lore surrounding the events and subsequent retelling (often false or misinformed) of the massacre. It meets the imperative that good history writing inherits the criteria underpinning good literature. Impeccable, exhaustive research with a clear, fresh narrative and interpretative style makes the book a must read for those truly interested in the tragedy and its subsequent versions of its retelling. All future works must meet the bar that Bagley has set; Blood of the Prophets convinces the objective reader that Brigham Young's words, intent, and actions were clearly revealed on the meadows.
If you truly desire to know the truth about Mountain Meadows, buy this book.
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