Vengeance Is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath

Oxford Univ. May 2023. 448p. ISBN 9780195397857. $34.95. REL
This book reminds readers that conspiracies and disinformation campaigns are not unique to today. This dense historical tome is a sequel to 2008’s Massacre at Mountain Meadows, which Turley (former historian, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) coauthored, and Brown (dir., Signature Books; former exec. dir., Mormon History Assoc.) edited. That book recounted an 1857 Utah episode when a Mormon militia of settlers—some disguised as the members of the Indigenous community of Paiutes—plus some actual Paiutes who had been told the encroaching settlers were a threat—slaughtered more than 120 people who were traveling from Arkansas to California by wagon train. Because they were thought to be incapable of telling about the events, 17 children under the age of seven, were allowed to survive. This book focuses on the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, including the attempts at a coverup, in which the Mormon militia tried to make the massacre appear to be solely the work of Indigenous peoples. Two trials were held, which resulted in the execution of one of the Mormon militia leaders, John D. Lee. The book also examines the fates of the massacre’s 17 survivors. Meticulous, comprehensive, and unflinching research is evident throughout the book’s 520 pages.
VERDICT This book will likely capture the attention and admiration of historical scholars.
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