Our friend (and astute observer and scholar of the Mormon past) Ben Park has compiled a list of the “Top Ten Books on Mormon History” for those who are new to Mormon history. He employed four criteria in composing the list:

  • Use of a sophisticated academic approach and emphasis on analysis over merely regurgitating data and documents
  • Coverage of an important person, event, or period in Mormon history
  • Quality of writing
  • Length (i.e., not too long)

The List

save 10% on all (except for noted exceptions)

  • mormon peoplemormon peoplemormon peopleMatthew Bowman, The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith. New pb–$17.00/new hb—reg. $26.00, SALE $6.99 (copies arriving soon)—no discount
  • rough stoneRichard Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. New pb–$18.95/used pb–$10/used hb, small amt marking–$20
  • massacreRonald Walker et. al., Massacre at Mountain Meadows. New pb–$17.95/new hb, signed by all three authors–$29.95/used hb, 1st pr, signed by all three–$75/used hb, 1st pr, signed by two authors–$40
  • mormon questionSarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America. New pb–$32.50 (copies arriving soon)
  • more wivesKathryn Daynes, More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910. New pb–$26/used hb, signed, marking–$25/used hb–$30
  • religion of a different colorPaul Reeve, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. New hb, signed–$34.95
  • politicsKathleen Flake, The Politics of American Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. New pb–$32.50 (copies arriving soon)/new hb–$69.95 (special order only)
  • angel]Armand Mauss, The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation. New hb–$35
  • davidGregory Prince & Wm. Robert Wright, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. New hb–$29.95/used hb–$18
  • pedestalsMartha Bradley, Pedestals and  Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority, and Equal Rights. New hb–$39.95

Ben will record a series of podcasts (one a month) discussing each book and its role in shaping Mormon history. The first installment covering The Mormon People (Ben also provides a helpful discussion of the “New Mormon Studies” and its relationship to “Mormon Studies”) has been released–for more info, click here.

What do you think of his list? We would like to hear your thoughts–please comment on which books you have read/enjoyed/disliked, etc. Are there books on this list that you agree should make the cut? Are there others that you think are more worthy of inclusion?


2 Responses to Ben Park’s Top Ten Books on Mormon History

  • Steve Johnson says:

    For me, Brigham Young – Pioneer Prophet by John G. Turner is worthy of inclusion. More than anyone, Brigham Young ‘pushed’ the budding young church through many difficult challenges including social, political, geographical and of course religious. He provided the infrastructure that laid the groundwork and strength the church would require to not only survive the later part of the 19th century but flourish in the 20th century.

    • benchmarkbooks says:

      A fine point, Steve. This was the first book I (Bryan) thought of after reading through Ben’s list. If I were to include one more book, this would be the one.

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