Compared to the Puritans, Mormons have rarely gotten their due, often treated as fringe cultists or marginalized polygamists unworthy of serious examination. In Kingdom of Nauvoo, Benjamin E. Park excavates the brief, tragic life of a lost Mormon city, demonstrating that the Mormons are essential to understanding American history writ large. Using newly accessible sources, Park recreates the Mormons' 1839 flight from Missouri to Illinois. There, under the charismatic leadership of Joseph Smith, they founded Nauvoo, which shimmered briefly--but Smith's challenge to democratic traditions, as well as his new doctrine of polygamy, would bring about its fall. His wife Emma, rarely written about, opposed him, but the greater threat came from without: in 1844, a mob murdered Joseph, precipitating the Mormon trek to Utah. Throughout his absorbing chronicle, Park shows that far from being outsiders, the Mormons were representative of their era in their distrust of democracy and their attempt to forge a sovereign society of their own. (Liveright Publishing Corporation)
Benjamin Park received degrees from Brigham Young University (BA, English and history), the University of Edinburgh (MSc, Theology in History), and the University of Cambridge (MPhil, Political Thought and Intellectual History; PhD, History). He spent two years as the inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, and is currently an assistant professor of American history at Sam Houston State University. Dr. Park’s research focuses on the intersection between religion, culture, and democratic thought between the American Revolution and the Civil War, often within an Atlantic context. He is the author of American Nationalisms: Imagining Union in an Age of Revolutions, and has written op-eds and essays for Washington Post, Newsweek, Religion & Politics, Talking Points Memo, Religion Dispatches, Dallas Morning News, Salt Lake Tribune, Religion News Service, and Patheos.
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