Monday, October 20, 2008

Just Released: Innocent Blood, Essential Narratives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

Innocent Blood
Essential Narratives of the Mountain Meadows Massacre
Edited by David L. Bigler, Will Bagley

Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American Frontier Series Volume 12

Original sources documenting a frontier atrocity and its cover-up.

The slaughter of a wagon train of some 120 people in southern Utah on September 11, 1857, has long been the subject of controversy and debate. Innocent Blood gathers key primary sources describing the tangled story of the Mountain Meadows massacre. This wide array of contrasting perspectives, many never before published, provide a powerful and intimate picture of this "dastardly outrage" and its cover-up.
The documents David L. Bigler and Will Bagley have collected offer a clearer understanding of the victims, the perpetrators, and the reasons a frontier American theocracy sought to justify or conceal the participants' guilt. These narratives make clear that, despite limited Southern Paiute involvement, white men planned the killing and their church's highest leaders encouraged Mormon settlers to undertake the deed.
This compelling documentary record presents the primary evidence that tells the story from its contradictory perspectives. The sources let readers evaluate and track the evolution of such myths as the Paiutes' guilt, the emigrants' provocation of their murderers, Brigham Young's ignorance of what happened, and John D. Lee's sole culpability. Clearly revealed is the part Utah authorities took in blocking the investigation until it became expedient to sacrifice Lee.
Together, these narratives show how the massacre's story has been continually distorted and then revealed over 150 years—and how the obfuscation and cover-up continue. Innocent Blood conveys the encompassing impact the atrocity had on people's lives, then and for generations after. It is a valuable sourcebook sure to prove indispensable to future research.

About the Author
David L. Bigler, former director of the Utah Board of State History, is an independent historian whose award-winning books on Utah, California, and western American history include Forgotten Kingdom: The Mormon Theocracy in the American West, 1847–1896. Will Bagley, an independent historian of the West, is author of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Mountain Meadows Massacre and editor of Pioneer Camp of the Saints: The Mormon Trail Journal of Thomas Bullock, 1846–1847.

Truth can never be more harmful than denying it

Mormon Issues / Mormon Chronicles

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