NIGHTFALL AT NAUVOO by Samuel W. Taylor

NIGHTFALL AT NAUVOO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Nauvoo, for those who may have forgotten, was the city in Illinois, the largest in the state at that time, where the Mormons settled for seven years in between their expulsion from Missouri in 1839 and their further exodus west. Nauvoo meant beautiful. However this interval was anything but lovely as they were first greeted there by an epidemic ague, as dissension accelerated from with in (""Man's foes, [Joseph Smith said] are of his own house""), as the articulation of the angel-directed commandment to take many wives was a chronic sore which finally came to an open head, as Joseph Smith (did he really covet the wives of fire Twelve Apostles?) prefigured his own death like a true prophet of God and was ultimately killed along with his brother Hyrum preceding the destruction and disposition of the city. Mr. Taylor's exposition is based on impressive research and he is also (if you remember Family Kingdom, 1951) a descendant of a leading Mormon clan. He presents his narrative account of Joseph and his brethren in a lively as well as ""balanced"" fashion avoiding any real judgment on Joseph (was he ""a prophet or a pious fraud"") but including fascinating detail: say on his adversary General Bennett who was a former abortionist, taking care of all those ""celestial consequences."" It is all there, with an annotated bibliography, and provides annals of earlier Americana of vigorous interest as the Saints go marching in and out.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1971
Publisher: Macmillan