Samuel Morris Brown. New York, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Hardbound, 6.5x9.5". 408 pages.
"In this groundbreaking and important volume, Brown... delves deeply into the many streams of thought that informed Smith's formulation of the life hereafter... Emerging at a time of intense religious competition, Smith and his closest associates developed a wonderfully complex belief system that mapped out the next life with clarity and consistency. Brown offers us a masterful look at this intriguing aspect of the Mormon worldview. This is must reading for students of the American religious tradition."--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"This is a book purportedly about the dead and the conquest of death in early Mormonism. It is actually much more than that. It traces the development of a large number of Joseph Smith's most fundamental teachings from the beginning to his death. Brown weaves the most exotic elements of Mormonism-seerstones, new names, hieroglyphs, angels, the Adamic tongue, Masonic catechisms, seals, ritual adoptions-into an illuminating and compelling explication of Joseph Smith's beliefs about the temple, family, and human salvation."
---Richard Bushman, Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University
"Scholars have looked long and hard at the Puritan way of death as well as the development of the funeral industry's way of death. Working in between those historical domains on early Mormon views and practices of holy dying, Samuel Brown has produced an imaginative, yet gravely serious book-one of obvious consequence for Mormon studies, but also one of broad resonance in American studies."
---Leigh E. Schmidt, Edward Mallinckrodt University Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
"This is a brilliant work of intellectual and cultural history, in which Brown finds compelling continuities between Joseph Smith's early supernatural quests and his later ministry. All the while, Brown charts Smith's death-defying project as one that is both intensely personal and steeped in a rich and wondrous culture of death. Superbly executed."
---Terryl L. Givens, co-author of Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism
"Brown ably tackles Mormon beliefs about death in a highly readable series of connected essays . . . He has covered the primary sources in depth and unearthed little-used materials to support his argument. Students of American religious history will be interested in this readable book as will a more general readership." --Library Journal
"[T]his book is one of the most significant Mormon titles to come out in a while . . . an interesting and well-researched version of Mormon history . . . Brown's work is a major accomplishment and an example of where Mormon historiography is headed."
--Association of Mormon Letters
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