The Mormon trek westward from Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley was an enduring accomplishment of American overland trail migration; however, their wintering at the Missouri River near present-day Omaha was a feat of faith and perseverance. Richard E. Bennett presents new facts and ideas that challenge old assumptions - particularly that life on the frontier encouraged American individualism.
With an excellent command of primary sources, Bennett assesses the role of women in a pioneer society and the Mormon strategies for survival in a harsh environment as they planned their emigration, coped with internal dissension and Indian agents, and dealt with tribes of the region. This was, says Bennett, "Mormonism in the raw on the way to what it would be later."
"A major contribution to the historiography of the western movement. . . . Bennett documents . . . the tremendous suffering that took place at Winter Quarters as people waited for their trip to the West." (Missouri Historical Review)
"A prime demonstration that detached and objective scholarship can still produce books that are emotionally compelling." (Patricia Nelson Limerick, author of The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West)
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The story that Mr. Bernard tells is well written