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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Review: Colorful Characters in Mormon History by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon


 Colorful Characters in Mormon History by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon

Book Description:

Most Mormons are mild-mannered, well-behaved, law-abiding citizens who tend to get along well with their neighbors. But every once in a while, there’s a renegade. You know the one: a little bit wild-eyed, ready to rumble, out to go where no Mormon has gone before. Face it: we all know one.
Well, if you think you’ve seen a colorful character or two in your ward, you should check out the colorful characters in this book—some Mormons, some non-Mormons who impacted Church history. These people are a whole new breed of colorful.

You’ll meet the guy who is credited with starting the gold rush and putting San Francisco on the map—California’s first millionaire, who dies selling pencils on the street. You’ll meet the Mormon FBI agent who was killed in a shoot-out with “Baby Face” Nelson, but not before taking out the Baby. You’ll gain a whole new appreciation for the general authority who peppered his sermons with profanity. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Most of all, you’ll find yourself shaking your head in wonder, having a knee-slapping good laugh, and maybe even shedding a tear or two here and there.

Andrea's Review:

I've always liked learning about history, but don't typically read non-fiction historical books. Frankly, I like to be entertained, and a lot of non-fiction is a bit of chore for me to read. However, Kathryn Jenkins Gordon's Colorful  Characters in Mormon History is written nothing like a dry textbook. In fact, there were times that I couldn't help but think that some of the details might be made up due to the humorous manner in which they were presented. But, there are plenty of footnotes to back up the facts.

I had the book sitting in my living room when company came over, and it wasn't uncommon for people to question Mark Twain being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (with good reason-he wasn't a member). While the cover may mislead some, the blurb lets readers know right off that some of the chapters are about non-members that impacted the Church.

Some of the chapters actually made me a little sad, but others were fascinating. My husband and his dad saw the book and made sure to read the chapters on a couple of their relatives that made the book.

I think the book was well-written, and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about some historical figures.

Rorie's Review:

History has always been fascinating to me - as a teenager, I used to check out books on the Pony Express, Buffalo Bill Cody, etc. to read for fun - so I was excited to have a chance to read this book. This book is did not disappoint. The author has a very amusing way of presenting the facts, so it doesn't come across as dry or boring. There are definitely a lot of facts that I can put in my "gee whiz" file. :)  I had heard of some of these people, but only a few facts and others I hadn't heard of at all, or had no idea they were affiliated with Mormons in any way.

Title: Colorful Characters in Mormon History
Author: Kathryn Jenkins Gordon
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: April 2015
ISBN: 1680470353
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Purchase: Amazon | Kindle | Deseret Book