Monday, May 16, 2011

Recent and forthcoming books



Latter-day Dissent: At the Crossroads of Intellectual Inquiry and Ecclesiastical Authority by Philip Lindholm.  Greg Kofford Books, 2011.  236 pp. $24.95. Paper. Includes interviews (conducted in 2003-04) with Lynne Whitesides, Paul Toscano, Maxine Hanks, Lavina Anderson and Mike Quinn (five of the September Six--Avraham Gileadi declined to be interviewed) as well as Janice Allred, Margaret Toscano and Thomas Murphy (intellectuals/writers who experienced similar events).  Donald Jessee, a former employee of the LDS Church Public Affairs Department provides a counterpoint perspective.


Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore edited by W. Paul Reeve and Michael Scott Van Wagenen.  Utah State University Press, 2011. 243 pp. $24.95. Paper.  Mormons gave distinctive meanings to supernatural legends and events, but their narratives incorporated motifs found in many cultures. Many such historical legends and beliefs found adherents down to the present. This collection of eight essays employs folklore to illuminate the cultural and religious history of a people.  Topics include Cain as Bigfoot, the Dream Mine, the Bear Lake Monster and accounts from Southern Utah of possession by spirits of Gadianton robbers.

Violent Encounters: Interviews on Western Massacres by Deborah and Jon Lawrence. University of Oklahoma Press, 2011. 258 pp.  $34.95.  Merciless killing in the nineteenth-century American West, as this unusual book shows, was not as simple as depicted in dime novels and movie Westerns. The scholars interviewed here, experts on violence in the West, embrace a wide range of approaches and perspectives and challenge both traditional views of western expansion and politically correct ideologies.  Of the nine interviews, two are of particular interest to a Mormon audience.  In the first, Will Bagley talks about both the events of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and writing about it.  In the other, Margot Mifflin discusses Olive Oatman who was kidnapped by Native Americans while traveling with her family (part of a Brewsterite group) to California. Also mentioned several times is the Bear River Massacre involving troops from Utah.


Converging Paths to Truth: The Summerhays Lectures on Science and Religion edited by Michael D. Rhodes and J. Ward Moody.  Religious Studies Center, 2011. 174 pp. $19.99. The Summerhays lectures and this collection of eight essays are dedicated to discover and share insights on how the truths of revealed religion mesh with knowledge from the sciences.  Contributors, drawn from the science and religion departments at BYU, include Robert Millet, Steven Jones and Michael Rhodes.


Much Ado About Mormons: What Famous People Have Said About the Mormons edited by Rick Walton.  Covenant, 2011.  $16.99. Paper. From the time pioneers settled the Salt Lake valley, Mormon culture has drawn the public eye and colored the public record—for better or for worse. This volume explores nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first-century Mormon society through the perspectives of journalists, novelists, travel writers, presidents, and other well-known public figures, including such varied people as Susan B. Anthony, Buffalo Bill Cody, Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, Vincent Price, Will Rogers, Angela Lansbury, Walter Cronkite, Margaret Thatcher, President John F. Kennedy, and dozens more.


Women of Character: Profiles of 100 Prominent LDS Women by Susan Easton Black and Mary Jane Woodger.  Covenant, 2011. 379 pp. $24.99.  In this book, the authors celebrate noble women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with one hundred inspiring biographies of LDS women who have accomplished the extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on history. In addition to expected choices such as Emma Smith and Eliza R. Snow, sketches of lesser-known women such as Emma Lou Thayne, Vienna Jacques and Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner are included.




Corianton: A Nephite Romance by B. H. Roberts.  Lynn Pulsipher, 2011. 111 pp. $15.95.  Pulsipher, an avid B. H. Roberts collector, has reprinted Roberts' Corianton, a very difficult item to find in the original.  Corianton, first published as a serial in the Contributor in 1889 and then as a booklet in 1902, is a short romantic novel set during Book of Mormon times.  Though the text is in the public domain, Pulsipher has taken pains to reproduce the original wrapper on the front cover. "...undoubtedly the scarcest major Mormon literary work." – Collectible Mormon Books of the Twentieth Century by Richard Saunders.


FORTHCOMING (next two weeks)


"Swell Suffering": A Biography of Maureen Whipple by Veda Tebbs Hale. Greg Kofford Books, 2011. 456 pp. Paper. Maurine Whipple, author of what some critics consider Mormonism's greatest novel, The Giant Joshua, is an enigma. Her prize-winning novel has never been out of print, and its portrayal of the founding of St. George draws on her own family history to produce its unforgettable and candid portrait of plural marriage's challenges. Yet Maurine's life is full of contradictions and unanswered questions. Veda Tebbs Hale, a personal friend of the paradoxical novelist, answers these questions with sympathy and tact, nailing each insight down with thorough research in Whipple's vast but under-utilized collected papers.


"My Candid Opinion": The Sandwich Islands Diaries of Joseph F. Smith, 1856-1857 edited by Nathaniel R. Ricks. Smith-Pettit, 2011. Limited to 250 copies. Oversize hardback.  For the first time, the earliest surviving diaries of Joseph F. Smith will be available. Smith arrived in the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaiian Islands) in 1854 at the age of fifteen. For the next three years, he labored to bring native converts into the Church while combating loneliness, depression, a fiery temperament, and doubts about his own competence. Ricks has carefully annotated these diaries of Joseph F. (earlier volumes were destroyed in a fire) to make them accessible to modern readers.


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