Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier

Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier

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.

Title:Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier
ISBN:9781631494864
Format Type:

    Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier Reviews

  • TXGAL1

    In 2016, the Church of the Latter-Day Saints released approximately 150 extraordinary new documents from the 1840’s. Mr. Park has thoroughly researched these sources to present a well-balanced accou...

  • Jack Waters

    What do you get when you combine boomtown dynamics, theocratic bravado, manifest destiny, church v. state battles, secret and illegal marriage practices, America's chaotic expansion, a charismatic lea...

  • Ryan

    A wild ride from start to finish. Despite knowing the end from the beginning, and the broad contours along the way, I compulsively consumed Park's account of Joseph Smith's religious, social, and poli...

  • Russell Fox

    I am not as well read in Mormon history as I once was, back when my work as the Book Review editor for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought kept me, if not thoroughly familiar with all the books of h...

  • Mehrsa

    With newly released documents, Park has created a definitive history of the Mormon church’s polygamy chapter in Nauvoo. The book is really well-written and thought-provoking ...

  • Richard West

    Growing up in Quincy, Illinois - which is relatively close, all things considered - to Nauvoo, a trip to Nauvoo to see where the "nutty Mormons" (as my father called them) tried to set up a religious ...

  • Breck Wightman

    The main focus on Joseph Smith’s attempt to establish a theocracy in response to democracy’s failure to protect them as religious minorities on the American Frontier is fascinating and well-done. ...

  • Christopher Angulo

    I didn't want to like this book, and for the first hundred pages, I felt justified in my feelings. There wasn't much in those first 100 pages that I didn't know, or hadn't read before. The rest of the...

  • Ryan

    Content: (5/5)Kingdom of Nauvoo fully embeds the Mormon story in the American story, making it a double feature for Mormon and American history nerds. While this book is a must-read for anyone interes...

  • Brett Hinton

    I wanted to like it more than I did. I think it succeeds at telling a more balanced narrative of the political realities of governing Nauvoo and it's controversial charter with accompanying ramificati...