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American Massacre : Vintage - Sally Denton

American Massacre


Paperback Published: 14th September 2004
ISBN: 9780375726361
Number Of Pages: 352

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In September 1857, a wagon train passing through Utah laden with gold was attacked. Approximately 140 people were slaughtered; only 17 children under the age of eight were spared. This incident in an open field called Mountain Meadows has ever since been the focus of passionate debate: Is it possible that official Mormon dignitaries were responsible for the massacre? In her riveting book, Sally Denton makes a fiercely convincing argument that they were.

The author–herself of Mormon descent–first traces the extraordinary emergence of the Mormons and the little-known nineteenth-century intrigues and tensions between their leaders and the U.S. government, fueled by the Mormons’ zealotry and exclusionary practices. We see how by 1857 they were unique as a religious group in ruling an entire American territory, Utah, and commanding their own exclusive government and army.

Denton makes clear that in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, the church began placing the blame on a discredited Mormon, John D. Lee, and on various Native Americans. She cites contemporaneous records and newly discovered documents to support her argument that, in fact, the Mormon leader, Brigham Young, bore significant responsibility–that Young, impelled by the church’s financial crises, facing increasingly intense scrutiny and condemnation by the federal government, incited the crime by both word and deed.

Finally, Denton explains how the rapidly expanding and enormously rich Mormon church of today still struggles to absolve itself of responsibility for what may well be an act of religious fanaticism unparalleled in the annals of American history. American Massacre is totally absorbing in its narrative as it brings to life a tragic moment in our history.

Industry Reviews

"Gripping.... An excellent introduction to one of the most controversial events in Western American history, one that still stirs strong passions today." -The New York Times Book Review

"Vivid and hair-raising.... An entertaining and impressive contribution." -Chicago Tribune
"The atrocity was so bewildering that it demands the careful investigation and eloquent recounting that it receives." --The Boston Globe

Author's Notep. xi
Mapp. xii
Jacob Hamblin's Ranch, September 11, 1857p. xvii
The Cairn, August 3, 1999p. xx
The Gathering
Palmyra, 1823p. 3
Kirtland/Far West, 1831p. 12
Nauvoo, 1840p. 22
Winter Quarters--Council Bluffs, 1846p. 40
Salt Lake City, August 24, 1849p. 61
Sevier River, October 26, 1853p. 76
The Passage
Harrison, March 29, 1857p. 93
Deseret, August 3, 1857p. 104
The Southern Trail, August 8-September 4, 1857p. 118
Mountain Meadows, September 7-11, 1857p. 128
The Legacy
Deseret, September 12, 1857p. 147
Camp Scott, November 16, 1857p. 164
Cedar City, April 7, 1859p. 188
Mountain Meadows, May 25, 1861p. 205
Mountain Meadows, March 23, 1877p. 218
Mountain Meadows Aftermathp. 237
Lonely Dell, January 22, 2002p. 242
Notesp. 245
Bibliographyp. 281
Acknowledgmentsp. 293
Indexp. 295
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780375726361
ISBN-10: 0375726365
Series: Vintage
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 14th September 2004
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.5  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.32
Edition Number: 1