While of interest mostly to specialist historians, this is a capable work of scholarly detection.
A follow-up to the acclaimed 2008 historical true-crime book Massacre at Mountain Meadows.
In 1857 in Utah, a wagon train bound from Arkansas to California came under attack. It was not the only wagon train to suffer siege and murder, write historians Turley and Brown, but it was unusual in its brutal end, with more than 120 men, women, and children killed. “These assaults were motivated by political wrangling over federal and local rule and tensions between church and state that reached a deadly peak in 1857 but roiled Utah for decades,” write the authors. It has been long supposed that Brigham Young ordered the massacre, and many historians have further suggested that only Mormons disguised as Native Americans carried out the crime, even as contemporary Mormons blamed it on local Paiute Indians exclusively. Turley and Brown sift through a vast trove of documentary evidence to show that the massacre was the product of many hands, and while only Maj. John D. Lee was punished for it—killed by firing squad, fittingly enough, on the very site of the crime—many Mormon leaders deserved the same end. Complicating the crime were several factors, including the need for federal troops to pacify the restive frontier, troops unavailable during the Civil War, and the reluctance of officials to stir things up after the war was over. Interestingly, inquiries conducted by Mormons themselves helped solve some of the mysteries surrounding the events, even if Lee bore the brunt of the punishment and other guilty parties walked. The supposition on the part of federal authorities that the Mormons were reluctant to “punish their own murderers & high offenders” was only partly true. Turley and Brown turn in some interesting side notes, as well—e.g., that Russia parted with Alaska not just because of Seward’s cash offer, but also because they were afraid that Mormons would flee Utah and invade Russia’s American holdings.While of interest mostly to specialist historians, this is a capable work of scholarly detection.
Pub Date: May 30, 2023
Page Count: 448
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023
Share your opinion of this book
by David Grann ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017
Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2017
New York Times Bestseller
National Book Award Finalist
Greed, depravity, and serial murder in 1920s Oklahoma.
During that time, enrolled members of the Osage Indian nation were among the wealthiest people per capita in the world. The rich oil fields beneath their reservation brought millions of dollars into the tribe annually, distributed to tribal members holding "headrights" that could not be bought or sold but only inherited. This vast wealth attracted the attention of unscrupulous whites who found ways to divert it to themselves by marrying Osage women or by having Osage declared legally incompetent so the whites could fleece them through the administration of their estates. For some, however, these deceptive tactics were not enough, and a plague of violent death—by shooting, poison, orchestrated automobile accident, and bombing—began to decimate the Osage in what they came to call the "Reign of Terror." Corrupt and incompetent law enforcement and judicial systems ensured that the perpetrators were never found or punished until the young J. Edgar Hoover saw cracking these cases as a means of burnishing the reputation of the newly professionalized FBI. Bestselling New Yorker staff writer Grann (The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession, 2010, etc.) follows Special Agent Tom White and his assistants as they track the killers of one extended Osage family through a closed local culture of greed, bigotry, and lies in pursuit of protection for the survivors and justice for the dead. But he doesn't stop there; relying almost entirely on primary and unpublished sources, the author goes on to expose a web of conspiracy and corruption that extended far wider than even the FBI ever suspected. This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs.Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.
Pub Date: April 18, 2017
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2017
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017
Share your opinion of this book
Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.
A measured memoir from a daughter of the famous family.
Growing up in the Institute of Basic Life Principles community, which she came to realize was “a cult, thriving on a culture of fear and manipulation,” Duggar and her 18 siblings were raised never to question parental authority. As the author recalls, she felt no need to, describing the loving home of her girlhood. When a documentary crew approached her father, Jim Bob, and proposed first a series of TV specials that would be called 17 Kids and Counting (later 18 and 19 Kids and Counting), he agreed, telling his family that this was a chance to share their conservative Christian faith. It was also a chance to become wealthy, but Jill, who was dedicated to following the rules, didn’t question where the money went. A key to her falling out with her family was orchestrated by Jim Bob, who introduced her to missionary Derick Dillard. Their wedding was one of the most-watched episodes of the series. Even though she was an adult, Jill’s parents and the show continued to expect more of the young couple. When they attempted to say no to filming some aspects of their lives, Jill discovered that a sheet of paper her father asked her to sign the day before her wedding was part of a contract in which she had unwittingly agreed to full cooperation. Writing about her sex offender brother, Josh, and the legal action she and Derick had to take to get their questions answered, Jill describes how she was finally able—through therapy, prayer, and the establishment of boundaries—to reconcile love for her parents with Jim Bob’s deception and reframe her faith outside the IBLP.Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!