Brigham Young: American Moses

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Brigham Young: American Moses
Brigham Young American Moses.jpg
Dust jacket from the 1985 Knopf edition.
Author Leonard J. Arrington
Country United States
Language English
Subject Brigham Young
Genre Biography
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date
April 1985[1]
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 522
ISBN 0-394-51022-4
OCLC 11443615
289.3/32/0924 B 19
LC Class BX8695.Y7 A85 1985
Followed by 1986 University of Illinois Press paperback

Brigham Young: American Moses is a biography about Brigham Young by Dr. Leonard J. Arrington, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1985.


In 1979 Alfred A. Knopf published Arrington's well-received The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints, and later that year contracted Arrington to also write a biography of Brigham Young.[1] Until 1982, Arrington was Church Historian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and had access to and drew upon diaries and letters not available to previous biographers to profile Brigham Young.[2] In the book, Arrington critically examined a major period of Mormon history, though some reviews claimed he didn't cover enough of some intriguing aspects.[3]

In 1995, Arrington explained his reasoning behind the subtitle American Moses:

Brigham was the same sort of a leader as Moses in serving people for a long period of time, in achieving their goal of entering into a kingdom blessed by God. It -- there's no -- no trick reason why I should have used American Moses. I thought Moses was a person understood by nearly everybody, and that Brigham was something for us that Moses was for the people of Israel. He led his people figuratively and quite literally, and they survived because of that leadership and their faith.[4]


In 1984, before its actual release by Knopf, Brigham Young: American Moses was the first to receive the prestigious "David Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans Biography Award". It also won the 1985 Mormon History Association’s Best Book Award and was nominated as a “distinguished work of biography” by the National Book Critics Circle.[1]


Table of Contents

  1. Boyhood in Vermont and New York
  2. Conversion and Commitment
  3. Apostle
  4. The Missouri Interlude
  5. The British Mission
  6. Nauvoo
  7. City of Joseph
  8. The Pioneer Trek to the great Basin
  9. To Zion
  10. The Colonizer President
  11. President of the Church
  12. Friendship and Caution
  13. Governor of Utah
  14. Zion Grows
  15. Governor and Counselor
  16. Public Image and Private Reality
  17. Protecting the Kingdom
  18. The Last Year
  19. The Legacy of Brigham Young


  1. ^ a b c "Leonard James Arrington Chronology". Leonard J. Arrington Papers. Utah State University Libraries. 2006-05-23. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  2. ^ Brigham Young: American Moses
  3. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (February 13, 1999). "Leonard J. Arrington, 81, Mormon Historian". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  4. ^ "Leonard Arrington". Promontory. KUED. 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-01. 

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