Brigham Young by Leonard J. Arrington

By Leonard J. Arrington

Brigham younger involves lifestyles during this superlative biography that offers him as a Mormon chief, a enterprise genius, a family members guy, a political organizer, and a pioneer of the West. Drawing on an enormous diversity of resources, together with records, own diaries, and personal correspondence, Leonard J. Arrington brings younger to lifestyles as a towering but absolutely human determine, the striking captain of his humans and his church for thirty years, who mixed piety and the pursuit of energy to go away an indelible stamp on Mormon society and the tradition of the Western frontier. From polygamy to the Mountain Meadows bloodbath to the tried renovation of Young’s nice Basin country, we're given a clean knowing of the controversies that plagued younger in his contentious relatives with the government. Brigham Young attracts its topic out of the marginal position in heritage to which the traditional knowledge has assigned him, and units him squarely within the American mainstream, a determine of abiding impression in our society to today.

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The ever-present task of clearing the land was the most difficult. Whitingham was not an area of good agricultural potential; there were few level acres fit for cultivation, and most of the land was stony. The winters were long and hard on Nabby, and the labor of John and the boys was backbreaking. 12 The family traveled to Bennington, then to the Hudson River, crossing it on a ferry at Troy. From Troy they went west by way of an old Indian trace up the gently sloping, still heavily timbered Mohawk Valley to Utica, then southwest to Sherburne.

In the year 1797 there occurred a mild land rush to southern Vermont, as disputing parties settled a fifty-year-old controversy involving absentee landlords who were holding patents obtained before the Revolutionary War and settlers who had simply drifted in to cultivate the land and organize towns. When the land was clearly open to settlement, several families moved into the area from central Massachusetts. Among them were the Wheelers, Fullers, Faulkners, Sayers, and Youngs. John and Abigail (Nabby) Young brought seven of their eight children to Whitingham from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, a farming community about twenty-five miles southwest of Boston where, with the exception of a brief interlude across the border from Massachusetts in the Platauva District of east central New York, they had lived for sixteen years.

Since the full story cannot possibly be told, how does one decide what to include and what to omit? Every reader of the finished work may be disappointed that I did not devote more attention to matters he or she would like to see more fully discussed. Part of the problem of preparing this single volume lay in a classic dilemma of the biographer—how to steer between the extremes of, on the one hand, telling the Mormon story with Young as merely a leading personality and, on the other, recounting the life of Young without placing it sufficiently in its proper historical setting.

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