Who: Western Historian William MacKinnon
What: Lecture, “The Utah War as Context for Mountain Meadows,” and signing copies of his new book: At Sword’s Point, Part 1: A Documentary History of the Utah War to 1858
Where: Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 S. Main, Salt Lake City, Utah
When: Friday, September 26, 2008, 6:00 p.m.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Utah War of 1857-58, the unprecedented armed confrontation between Mormon Utah Territory and the U.S. government, was the most extensive American military action between the Mexican and Civil wars. At Sword’s Point presents in two volumes the first in-depth narrative and documentary history of that extraordinary conflict.

William MacKinnon offers a lively narrative linking firsthand accounts—most previously unknown—from soldiers and civilians on both sides. This first volume traces the war’s causes and preliminary events, including President Buchanan’s decision to replace Brigham Young as governor of Utah and restore federal authority through a large army expedition. Also examined are Young’s defensive-aggressive reactions, the onset of armed hostilities, and Thomas L. Kane’s departure at the end of 1857 for his now-famous mediating mission to Utah.

MacKinnon provides a balanced, comprehensive account, based on a half century of research and wealth of carefully selected new material. Women’s voices from both sides enrich this colorful story. At Sword’s Point presents the Utah War As a sprawling confrontation with regional and international as well as territorial impact. As a nonpartisan definitive work, it eclipses previous studies of this remarkably bloody turning point in western, military, and Mormon history.

William P. MacKinnon of Santa Barbara, California, is an independent historian, management consultant, and former General Motors vice president. A widely recognized authority on the Utah War, he has recorded the colorful saga of Utah’s long territorial period and the U.S. Army’s western campaigns.

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