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A wonderfully written book, essential to students of American history. Misunderstood, and often maligned, Mormonism is a unique American creation. Most Americans have never heard of its founder, Joseph Smith, considered a Prophet by his followers but even by them, often seen as a somewhat problematic figure. This biography, which resulted in the excommunication of its author, once a beloved daughter of the Church, presents a nuanced, fast paced, readable and compelling account of Smith's American journey as a spell binding myth maker and martyr to the virulent spiritualism of his times.
Brodie synthesized countless first hand sources to create a compelling and nuanced view of America’s most (in)famous homegrown prophet, Joseph Smith. She pulls no punches; this isn’t the history I grew up hearing, but it is a fascinating story of Mormonism’s founding and its deeply 19th century American roots.
Read if you like: One of a kind characters, seeing how the sausage get made, biographies, American history
A very well written and researched biography of a puzzling figure by a woman who had been raised Mormon in Utah. (The author was a professor at UCLA). This book is also excellent history of rural America in the early 1800's, showing how a character such as Jos Smith, came to be. He was definitely a product of his environment! Throw in his impressive ability to create and tell good stories along with his aversion to farm work and voila!