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A Peculiar People: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America (Hardback)
  • A Peculiar People: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America (Hardback)

A Peculiar People: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America (Hardback)

Hardback 240 Pages / Published: 30/09/2012
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Though the U.S. Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion, it does not specify what counts as a religion. From its founding in the 1830s, Mormonism, a homegrown American faith, drew thousands of converts but far more critics. In "A Peculiar People", J. Spencer Fluhman offers a comprehensive history of anti-Mormon thought and the associated passionate debates about religious authenticity in nineteenth-century America. He argues that understanding anti-Mormonism provides critical insight into the American psyche because Mormonism became a potent symbol around which ideas about religion and the state took shape.
Fluhman documents how Mormonism was defamed, with attacks often aimed at polygamy, and shows how the new faith supplied a social enemy for a public agitated by the popular press and wracked with social and economic instability. Taking the story to the turn of the century, Fluhman demonstrates how Mormonism's own transformations, the result of both choice and outside force, sapped the strength of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the acceptance of Utah into the Union in 1896 and also paving the way for the dramatic, yet still grudging, acceptance of Mormonism as an American religion.

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9780807835715
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 21 mm

Fluhman's book goes beyond the usual treatments of anti-Mormonism. . . . A stimulating discussion of the course of religion in America. This review can only hint at the richness of Fluhman's interpretive work.--The Annals of Iowa

Help[s] flesh out the nineteenth-century changes and trajectories in Mormon identity and experience.--American Studies Journal

An eye-opening exposure.--Nova Religio

Fluhman has successfully captured the dynamic process of nineteenth-century religious otherness by crafting a wonderfully entertaining, illuminating, and concise book.--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Deeply researched, smartly written and argued.--Fides et Historia

General readers interested in American religious history will find this a worthwhile read.--Library Journal

Recommended. All levels/libraries.--Choice

A comprehensive history of anti-Mormon thought.--American Catholic Studies Newsletter

Laudably concise without sacrificing rigor. . . . Both reveals and underscores the importance of anti-Mormon discourse in the nineteenth-century American (mis-)understanding of religion.--Journal of Church and State

This excellent book deserves a wide audience and offers much to those interested in religion and identity, the nineteenth century, the American West, and intellectual and cultural history.--American Historical Review

An important work to the growing field of historical treatments of anti-Mormonism . . . I wholeheartedly recommend Fluhman's excellent volume.--Journal of Mormon History

This inquiry into how American Protestants came to define religion is an exceptional and well-researched study, one I can highly recommend.--Utah Historical Quarterly

Impressive and thorough.--H-Net Reviews

The world needs more books like Fluhman's deft account of nineteenth-century anti-Mormon literature and the fascinating American dialogues about religion that anti-Mormonism produced. Interdisciplinarity and historicity thrive simultaneously in "A Peculiar People," and Fluhman's marvelously succinct book as much elevates him as a historian of synoptic breadth as it uplifts his subject.--Journal of Interdisciplinary History

Few books deserve to be longer. This is one of them. . . . A must-read for anyone seriously interested in the study of American religion.--Journal of American History

As Fluhman shows in marvelous detail, Mormonism was the great scandal of American nineteenth-century religion.--The New Yorker

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