Heralded as a seer and prophet, reviled as a murderer and polygamist, Brigham Young is one of the most remarkable figures in U.S. history. After the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, was lynched by a mob in Missouri, Young rallied the stricken Mormons and organized their mass migration to Utah, where he defeated or defied Native American tribes, internal rivals, and a series of U.S. presidents as he built and defended his empire. For more than 20 years, Young labored to forge the unruly population of Utah into a united people; when he died, in 1877, he did so with the knowledge that the mark he had made on the American West would endure. Turner’s portrait of this unique American figure is balanced, thoughtful, and readable. It is a book that no student of the American West can afford to ignore.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.