And I will wait upon the LORD, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Isaiah 8:17


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Friday, January 24, 2014

New Book : Villages on Wheels

 BYU Studies published this review of Stanley and Violet Kimball's new book, Villages on Wheels.  It makes me want to find a copy!  Enjoy.


Villages on Wheels: A Social History of the Gathering to Zion, by Stanley B. Kimball and Violet T. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2011).

Of course there are problems with the caption since this is not a daguerreotype: but it's better than a photo from our Stake Trek.

With all that has been said and written of the pioneer heroes of early Mormon­dom, Villages on Wheels beats down the partition of dates and facts to channel the voices of those who were “called to pass through it.” Uniquely organized to attract both the scholar and lay reader, Villages on Wheels presents the unadul­terated history of the pioneers through hundreds of diaries, journal entries, and poems written by those who blazed the trail. Unlike other works on the exodus, Villages is a social history—a history of the common man told by the common man—independent of the political and economic approach that is more com­monly discussed in academia. This characteristic makes the book accessi­ble, educating and entertaining readers of all interest levels and disciplines.
Villages is clearly not a devotional work; the Kimballs include the good, the bad, and the ugly to honor the reality of the journey and give human dimension to the experience. The authors realize such human dimension in the book’s focal point: the daily life of those on the trail. The title itself encap­sulates the development of community identity that grew among the Saints during the period of the migration. No longer were these early members of the Church defined by their individual her­itage or nationality, but rather as a trav­eling faith-culture united in purpose and eternal inheritance—a concept that is key to the book’s thesis.
A distinguishing feature of Villages on Wheels is its chapter entirely dedi­cated to the lives of the unsung heroes of the trek—the draft animals that paved the trail with their hooves. Expli­cating journal entries of those who owned and cared for the animals, the Kimballs pay homage to the grit and resilience of these animals.
Featuring thousands of firsthand records never before compiled, Villages reaches beyond the Sunday School sto­ries, strips away the romanticism, and sinks the reader deep into the day-to-day experiences of the Saints. With copious references to these personal accounts, the Kimballs step back and allow the Saints to tell their own tales of suffering, love, humor, tragedy, and joy. Villages on Wheels is a riveting compila­tion for any reader looking to discover this monumental and defining experi­ence in Mormon history through the accounts of the common people who lived it.

—Haleigh Cole

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