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From the Preface of Vengeance is Mine
On September 11, 1857, a group of Mormon settlers in southwestern Utah used false promises of protection to coax a party of California- bound emigrants from their encircled wagons and massacred them. The slaughter left the corpses of more than one hundred men, women, and children strewn across a highland valley called the Mountain Meadows….
In 2008, agreeing…that the atrocity “can never be finally settled until it is accepted as any other historical incident, with a view only to finding the facts,” and acknowledging that “only complete and honest evaluation” of the crime can bring true catharsis, we (along with coauthors Ronald W. Walker and Glen M. Leonard) published Massacre at Mountain Meadows. The book was a turning point, marking the first time that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints encouraged its historians to publicly lay bare this shameful episode in its history. The church’s support of that effort included unfettered access to its previously restricted massacre-related sources and funding for researchers to scour archives and other sources across the United States.
The scope and findings of that research led to reckoning and change. Massacre at Mountain Meadows made its way into the hands of tens of thousands of readers and led church leaders, members, and others to understand and accept “more than we ever have known about this unspeakable episode,” said Latter- day Saint apostle Henry B. Eyring. Speaking to massacre victims’ descendants gathered at a September 11, 2007, sesquicentennial commemoration at the Mountain Meadows, Eyring shared an official apology on behalf of the church….
Yet the efforts that produced Massacre at Mountain Meadows were not complete. As the book’s preface explained, after considering the overwhelming amount of source material gathered, “we concluded, reluctantly, that too much information existed for a single book. Besides, two narrative themes emerged. One dealt with the story of the massacre and the other with its aftermath— one with crime and the other with punishment. This first volume tells only the first half of the story, leaving the second half to another day.” With the publication of Vengeance Is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath, that day has come.
Praise for Massacre at Mountain Meadows
A vivid, gripping narrative of one of the most notorious mass murders in all American history, and a model for how historians should do their work." –Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848
"The authors of Massacre at Mountain Meadows have written the best researched, most complete, and most even-handed account of the Mountain Meadows incident we are likely to have for a long time. Above all they tell a gripping tale. Though I knew the end from the beginning, I began to sweat as the narrative approached its fatal climax. The authors won't let us turn our gaze away from the horrors of that moment."
–Richard Bushman, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies, Claremont Graduate University