Vengeance Is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath

by Richard E. Turley Jr. and Barbara Jones Brown

News & Reviews


Review of Vengeance Is Mine, in BYU Studies, vol. 62, no. 2 (2023), 180-84

“Working for a combined total of forty years researching the massacre, the authors and their predecessors on the first volume [Massacre at Mountain Meadows] have found, and made use of, sources never before available to historians. Thus, through these books, we now have a greater understanding of the events than was ever possible before.

In addition to the quality of its exhaustive research, Vengeance Is Mine is also a superb book of narrative history writing. . . . Vengeance Is Mine, following on the heels of the 2008 Massacre at Mountain Meadows, further opens the horrible event to public view, enabling our generation to know the truth about the crime and to learn from it.”

Read full article here: BYU Studies


Review of Vengeance Is Mine, in Association for Mormon Letters, June, 2023

“Based upon years of extensive research, Vengeance is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath is a masterpiece that examines not only the catalysts and culmination but also the consequences of one of the most infamous episodes of both Latter-day Saint and Western U.S. history—the Mountain Meadows Massacre. By no means an “easy read,” Vengeance is Mine offers the perspectives of Massacre perpetrators, prosecutors, and those caught in the middle, fresh with incriminating details and evidence. Through careful reconstruction, a cohesive and heart-breaking narrative emerges that reveals much about the worth of the human soul and the absolute highs and lows of humanity.”

Read full article here: Association for Mormon Letters


Writer-historians left no stone unturned in telling the rest of the story of the Mountain Meadows Massacre

May 23, 2023 | Lee Benson

“Fourteen years, 100 drafts, 180,000 words and many nightmares later, Richard E. Turley Jr. and Barbara Jones Brown finally have a Memorial Day weekend to themselves. The book they’ve been researching and writing, and re-researching and rewriting, is out of their hands, set in print. They couldn’t fiddle with the manuscript — and heaven knows there’s been plenty of fiddling — anymore if they tried.

The Mountain Meadows Massacre is off their shoulders.

This weekend is the official release date for “Vengeance is Mine; The Mountain Meadows Massacre and its Aftermath,” published by the venerable Oxford University Press and available at a bookstore or an Amazon link near you.”

Read full article here: Deseret News


Authors of new book about Mountain Meadows Massacre say the tragedy has insights for current polarized moment

May 22, 2023 | Brigham Tomco

“The man who stood before Annie Elizabeth Hoag’s southern Utah congregation on Sep. 6, 1857, was dressed in military attire, a red sash tied around his waist. His name was John D. Lee.

Lee spoke “of an emigrant company of gentiles” and claimed they were on their way to California where they would stir up an “army” to join the thousands of U.S. troops already gathered to depose Brigham Young as governor of the Utah territory, Hoag recalled.

Local leaders had decided “it was best to put (the emigrants) out of the way before they did any harm,” Lee explained and then asked the congregation for their support. For a moment, Hoag signaled her disapproval along with two or three others in the room but then reconsidered — a decision she later regretted.” 

Read full article here: Deseret News


Review of Vengeance Is Mine, in Times and Seasons, May 20, 2023

“The story goes that J. Golden Kimball was once preaching to a crowd in the South and became concerned when he noticed that only men were present. As he opened his mouth to talk, however, “All at once something came over me and I opened my mouth and said, . . . ‘Gentlemen, you have not come here to listen to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. . . . You have come to find out about the Mountain Meadows Massacre and polygamy, and God being my helper I will tell you the truth.’ And I did. I talked to them for one hour. When the meeting was out you could hear a pin drop.””

Read full article here: Times and Seasons


Mountain Meadows Massacre — What did Brigham Young know and when did he know it?

May 17, 2023 | David Noyce and Peggy Fletcher Stack

“The infamous and inexcusable Mountain Meadows Massacre lives on as the bloodiest stain on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The 2008 book “Massacre at Mountain Meadows” offered modern readers the most complete look to date at the atrocity, when, on Sept. 11, 1857, Mormon settlers deceived a wagon train of emigrants on their way to California through southern Utah and then slaughtered about a hundred men, women and children.

Now comes the eagerly anticipated follow-up volume, titled Vengeance Is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath.

Read full article here: Salt Lake Tribune


Mountain Meadows Massacre: Was There a Cover Up?

May 17, 2023 | Kurt Manwaring

“There was a coverup in the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. However, it didn’t involve Brigham Young and the institutional church. The tragic story of the massacre’s aftermath is now available in a new book published by Rick Turley and Barbara Jones Brown. In this interview, they explain the complicated responses in the decades following the Mountain Meadows Massacre.”

Read full article here: From the Desk


Vengeance Is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath

Apr 28, 2023 | Gail Eubanks

“This book reminds readers that conspiracies and disinformation campaigns are not unique to today. This dense historical tome is a sequel to 2008’s Massacre at Mountain Meadows, which Turley (former historian, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) coauthored, and Brown (dir., Signature Books; former exec. dir., Mormon History Assoc.) edited. That book recounted an 1857 Utah episode when a Mormon militia of settlers—some disguised as the members of the Indigenous community of Paiutes—plus some actual Paiutes who had been told the encroaching settlers were a threat—slaughtered more than 120 people who were traveling from Arkansas to California by wagon train.

Because they were thought to be incapable of telling about the events, 17 children under the age of seven, were allowed to survive. This book focuses on the aftermath of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, including the attempts at a coverup, in which the Mormon militia tried to make the massacre appear to be solely the work of Indigenous peoples. Two trials were held, which resulted in the execution of one of the Mormon militia leaders, John D. Lee. The book also examines the fates of the massacre’s 17 survivors. Meticulous, comprehensive, and unflinching research is evident throughout the book’s 520 pages.

VERDICT This book will likely capture the attention and admiration of historical scholars.”

Read full article here: Library Journal


Review of Vengeance Is Mine, in Kirkus, February 22, 2023

“A follow-up to the acclaimed 2008 historical true-crime book Massacre at Mountain Meadows. In 1857 in Utah, a wagon train bound from Arkansas to California came under attack. It was not the only wagon train to suffer siege and murder, write historians Turley and Brown, but it was unusual in its brutal end, with more than 120 men, women, and children killed. “These assaults were motivated by political wrangling over federal and local rule and tensions between church and state that reached a deadly peak in 1857 but roiled Utah for decades,” write the authors.”

Read full article here: Kirkus


Review of Vengeance Is Mine, in Association of Mormon Letters, Spring 2023

“This book and its predecessor Massacre at Mountain Meadows are profoundly painful books to read. I approach these books not only as a believing Latter-day Saint but as a decedent of one of the planners and participants. As I prepared to write this review I reread an entry in my journal I wrote in 2009 when I had finished Massacre at Mountain Meadows. I recall closing the book and just staring out the window into the darkness. I was profoundly moved and wrote the following in my journal.”

Read full article here: Association of Mormon Letters


Review of Vengeance Is Mine, in Speak Your Piece, January 31, 2023

“This episode of Speak Your Piece is an interview with Barbara Jones Brown, director of Signature Books, and Richard E. Turley, Jr., former assistant Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on their book Vengeance is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath (Oxford University Press), to be released May 30, 2023, with SYP host Brad Westwood. ”

Listen to the full episode here: Speak Your Piece

Vengeance Is Mine: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Its Aftermath is available from the following retailers.