New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008. First edition. Hardcover. 402pp. Octavo [24cm]. Hardcover. Fine/Fine. As NEW. Item #14392
From the dustjacket: "The Mormon Handcart tragedy of 1856 is the worst disaster in the history of the Western migrations, and yet it remains virtually unknown today outside Mormon circles. Following the death of Joseph Smith, found of the Mormon church, its second Prophet and new leader, Brigham Young determined to move the faithful out of the Midwest, where they had been constantly persecuted by their neighbors, to found a new Zion in the wilderness. In 1846-47, the Mormons made their way west, generally following the Oregon Trail, arriving in July 1847 in what is now Utah, where they established Salt Lake City. Nine years later, fearing a federal invasion, Young and other Mormon leaders wrestled with the question of how to bring thousands of impoverished European converts to Zion. Young conceived of a plan in which the European Mormons would travel by ship to New York City and by train to Iowa City. From there, instead of crossing the plains by covered wagon, they would push and pull wooden handcarts all the way to Salt Lake.
But the handcart plan was badly flawed. The carts constatnly broke down, the baggage allowance was far too small, and the food provisions were woefully inadequate. Five companies of handcart pioneers left Iowa for Zion that spring and summer, but the last two of them left late. As a consequence, some 900 Mormons in these two companies were caught in early snowstorms in Wyoming. When church leadership in Salt Lake became aware of the dire circumstances of these pioneers, Young launched a heroic rescue effort. But for more than 200 of the immigrants, the rescue came too late.