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156 Western American Literature It seems to me that the most valuable material deals with Clemens’ perplexing racial views. Rather than offering any particular consistent view about racial minorities, the Call writings explore the dramatic possibilities the Chinese, particularly, afford. “Ah Sin and his brethern” are pictured as picturesque, foolish, civilized, barbaric, industrious, lazy, cunning, and even as a people whose ability to parody American values holds a warning to all. Clemens’ outraged reports (possibly originating more from a dramatic than a moral sense) of the frequent beatings, robberies, and murders the Chinese suffered from various whites, the Call simply refused to print. The commercial dependence on a large poor white reader class, led the Call to preach "Justice to all, but privileges, patronage, favors for our own people." Such a policy disgusted more than inhibited Clemens. Although a more precise and detailed methodology for determining Clemens’ authorship of these Call pieces is needed, the book still rates as a highly successful edition. Edgar Branch is to be congratulated for much painstaking research and critical acumen and for presenting a well-displayed text accompanied by highly informative notes. P a tric k M o rro w , University of Southern California The Lion of the Lord: A Biography of Brigham Young. By Stanley P. Hirshson. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969. xx 391 pages, 26 photographs, bibliography, notes, index, $8.95.) I opened the package which brought me The Lion of the Lord with relish, for I was eager to see what a cool appraisal by an "outsider” would reveal, especially since the writer was a trained researcher, a Ph.D., and a professor of history in a respected university. I was prepared to find evidence of egoism, of wilful boasting, of harsh judgments leveled against his own people as well as against “gentiles,” and of the ruthlessly domineering per­ sonality of a man who used all his powers to fend off a hostile outside world from his remote band of “saints.” But I expected to find such evidence drawn from a careful sifting of sources which had been evaluated by a schooled observer. If statements drawn from hearsay may be accounted as evidence, I should have to confess that I was overwhelmed by the evidence. The docu­ mentation in the book is impressive—at first glance. Practically every para­ graph is followed by a numbered reference to a footnote in the forty-eight pages of notes at the back of the book. The sources cited, however, are less impressive than their number. Almost six hundred of them come from newspaper items. But there is very little evidence of efforts having been made to check the reliability of the individuals who were responsible for the items. If one is to accept all articles in newspapers as equally trust­ Reviews 157 worthy, what must one decide, for example, about the conflicting reports which were circulated early on a national scale about the deaths at Kent State? One of the first lessons that a student in freshman English learns about doing a "research” paper is to check the reliability of his sources. But Mr. Hirshson does not seem to have wanted to present an objective “life” of Brigham Young. Instead, the impression I got was that the writer wanted to dig up every unsavory bit of print that he could find which would give sensational value to his book. On page 78 one finds that Young was a swindler, on page 68 that he was a counterfeiter, elsewhere a lecher (pp. 66, 84, 191), and a nepotist (p. 149). If that is not enough to whet the appetite for dirt, Hirshson cites "an unidentified daughter of Young” as remarking to The New York Times that “If Salt Lake City was only roofed over, it would be the biggest w_____ e house in the world.” Near the end of his book, at the beginning of chapter thirteen, Hirshson sums up Brigham Young in a paragraph typical of his attitude towards his subject. Never acknowledging a Gentile virtue or a Mormon vice, the prophet seldom related Mormon history as it happened. Such things as the Kirtland bank fiasco, blood atonement, the Mountain Meadows massacre, the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 156-157
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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