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The Mormon Handcart Migration.

The Mormon Handcart Migration

Candy Moulton

University of Oklahoma Press

2800 Venture Drive, Norman, OK 73069

9780806162614, $29.95, HC, 288pp,

Synopsis: In 1856 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church) employed a new means of getting converts to Great Salt Lake City who could not afford the journey otherwise. They began using handcarts, thus initiating a five-year experiment that has become a legend in the annals of Mormon and North American migration.

Only one in ten Mormon emigrants used handcarts, but of those 3,000 who did between 1856 and 1860, most survived the harrowing journey

to settle Utah and become members of a remarkable pioneer generation. Others were not so lucky. More than 200 died along the way, victims of exhaustion, accident, and, for a few, starvation and exposure to late-season Wyoming blizzards.

Now in the pages of "The Mormon Handcart Migration: "Tounge nor pen can never tell the sorrow", historian and author Candy Moulton tells of their successes, travails, and tragedies in an epic retelling of a truly legendary story of the American West.

"The Mormon Handcart Migration" traces each stage of the journey, from the transatlantic voyage of newly converted church members to the gathering of the faithful in the eastern Nebraska encampment known as Winter Quarters. Moulton then traces their trek from the western Great Plains, across modern-day Wyoming, to their final destination at Great Salt Lake.

The handcart experiment was the brainchild of Mormon leader Brigham Young, who decreed that the saints could haul their own possessions, pushing or pulling two-wheeled carts across 1,100 miles of rough terrain, much of it roadless and some of it untrodden.

The LDS church now embraces the saga of the handcart emigrants (including even the disaster that befell the Martin and Willie handcart companies in central Wyoming in 1856) as an educational, faith-inspiring experience for thousands of youth each year. In "The Mormon Handcart Migration", Moulton skillfully weaves together scores of firsthand accounts from the journals, letters, diaries, reminiscences, and autobiographies the handcart pioneers left behind.

Critique: Impressively informative, exceptionally well written, deftly organized and presented, the depth and scope of Candy Moulton's exhaustive research and remarkable detail make "The Mormon Handcart Migration an essential and unreservedly recommended addition to the history of the Mormons in the American West for personal reading lists, as well as community and academic library Mormon History and 19th Century American History collections and supplemental studies lists.

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Title Annotation:The Mormon Handcart Migration: "Tounge nor pen can never tell the sorrow"
Author:Dumont, Helen
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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