Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet

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9780674049673: Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
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Pioneer Prophet

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A scholarly yet thoroughly readable historical/biographical study, of considerable interest to students of 19th-century American history and religious revivalism. Kirkus Reviews 20120501 Turner's broad historical perspective clarifies why Young's ecclesiastical successors have still felt the man's influence--even after abandoning polygamy. An impressively detailed portrait of a controversial giant. -- Bryce Christensen Booklist (starred review) 20120801 A definitive biography of Mormonism's greatest activist and apostle. -- Adam Gopnik New Yorker 20120813 Previous biographers of Brigham Young have used epithets such as 'American Moses' and 'Lion of the Lord.' However, what Turner demonstrates here is that the three-dimensional Young cannot be reduced to saint or tyrant; he was bold, brave, crude, petty, visionary, manipulative, creative, charismatic, kindly, and much more besides. He presents Young as a family man navigating the complexities of polygamy, as a leader moving large numbers of people across the Great Plains, and as a politician negotiating enough independence for the Mormons from the American government that he could build the kingdom of God as he saw fit. Turner was given unprecedented access to the LDS church archives and he makes full use of them and other sources, as well as providing a cogent interpretive context. It is easy to forget Young's significance in American history, but at a minimum it needs to be remembered that he is responsible for settling a vast swath of the West. Turner gives him his due... There aren't enough superlatives for this book. It will remain the standard biography for a long time. Because of its thorough documentation, academics will take it seriously, while general readers will appreciate its clarity of prose and argument. -- D. S. Azzolina Library Journal (starred review) 20120801 [A] magnificent new biography...[Turner's] book should establish him as one of the best religious historians of his generation. Turner had unfettered access to Young's papers, and his keen eye for social context makes this book an excellent introduction to the story of Mormonism as well as an essential addition to the history of the American West. It should also do for Brigham Young what Richard Lyman Bushman's Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling did for the Mormon prophet: make the case not only that Young was one of the most fascinating people of the 19th century but also that his importance in American history can no longer be overlooked. Indeed, some of that history will have to be revised to fit this "pioneer prophet" into its narrative...Turner's prose is so smooth and his interpretations so balanced that I suspect Mormonism's defenders and detractors alike will flock to this book...Turner is not a member of the Mormon church, which makes his achievement all the more remarkable. -- Stephen H. Webb Books & Culture 20120901 [Turner] provides an admirably balanced account of this complex man, and his little-understood and frequently reviled faith...When finished with this superb biography, readers will find [Brigham Young] less of a curiosity but still fascinating. -- Alan Cate Cleveland Plain Dealer 20120825 In his richly researched new biography of Brigham Young, John G. Turner not only profiles the man who brought the church to Utah, but also satisfies both high-minded and lowbrow curiosity about this most American of religions. Boston Globe 20120923 Young's life is admirably chronicled in this fine new biography...The character who emerges from Turner's elegantly written and well-researched biography is a man for whom the word 'protean' might almost have been invented. He became one of the foremost colonizers of American history, leading the Mormons on a perilous journey to the Great Basin and laying claim to approximately a sixth of the western United States...Turner shows [Young] to be a shrewd and subtle politician...Turner's story never drags, partly because the tale itself is so fascinating, but also because he writes with clarity and energy. -- Richard Aldous Irish Times 20120922 Brigham Young is a landmark work...There is no aspect of Young's fascinating life that eludes Turner's scrutiny. -- Alex Beam New York Times Book Review 20121021 A major accomplishment that, more than any past treatment of Young, situates the protean prophet squarely in the context of his turbulent times. Turner is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and brings to Young an emotional objectivity and distance that greatly benefit his profile of the 19th century Mormon leader and colonizer...Turner unflinchingly tackles the full spectrum, warts and all, of Young's multifarious personality and life...For Turner, no topic is off-limits, too controversial, too intimate. He exhibits a healthy skepticism and curiosity that are as bracing as they are salutary...He is balanced, insightful, sympathetic, even occasionally affectionate. Turner's Young is a far cry from the (take your pick) superficial, cartoonish, angelic/devilish caricatures of most popularized portrayals. He is a fully rendered, flesh-and-blood, flawed-but-earnest human being who sincerely believed he had been "called" to govern God's new covenant people as heaven's representative. The biography adds much to both our understanding and appreciation of Young. -- Gary James Bergera Salt Lake Tribune 20121006 Turner offers an unflinching account of Young's life "within the context of mid-19th-century American religion and politics," yet evinces throughout a sympathetic understanding of the way Young and the Mormon pioneers saw themselves: as a chosen people delivered by God from their persecutors and led to a latter-day Zion...Turner's portrait is of a man both great and greatly flawed. -- Jason Lee Steorts National Review 20121029 A comprehensive biography of Young and his times...It is an exceptional work...We can learn a lot about the development of Mormon theology from Turner's book, far more than can be gleaned from previous biographies of Young...Turner is at his best when he is placing the elements of Young's life within the main contours of broader 19th-century America...Those who want to know more about Mormonism's birth and growth will want to get a copy. -- Edward J. Blum Christian Century 20121017 [An] exceptionally well-researched and endlessly interesting biography. -- Stuart Kelly The Scotsman 20120929

Reseña del editor:

Brigham Young was a rough-hewn craftsman from New York whose impoverished and obscure life was electrified by the Mormon faith. He trudged around the United States and England to gain converts for Mormonism, spoke in spiritual tongues, married more than fifty women, and eventually transformed a barren desert into his vision of the Kingdom of God. While previous accounts of his life have been distorted by hagiography or polemical expose, John Turner provides a fully realized portrait of a colossal figure in American religion, politics, and westward expansion. After the 1844 murder of Mormon founder Joseph Smith, Young gathered those Latter-day Saints who would follow him and led them over the Rocky Mountains. In Utah, he styled himself after the patriarchs, judges, and prophets of ancient Israel. As charismatic as he was autocratic, he was viewed by his followers as an indispensable protector and by his opponents as a theocratic, treasonous heretic. Under his fiery tutelage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defended plural marriage, restricted the place of African Americans within the church, fought the U.S. Army in 1857, and obstructed federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. At the same time, Young's tenacity and faith brought tens of thousands of Mormons to the American West, imbued their everyday lives with sacred purpose, and sustained his church against adversity. Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet, whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West.

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ISBN 10: 0674416856 ISBN 13: 9780674416857
Verlag: Harvard University Press, 2014
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