The Deseret News just ran a lengthy article giving some details on the long-awaited but soon-to-be-released book Massacre at Mountain Meadows, by three LDS historians.
First, some useful information. The book is due out August 19 and can be preordered at Amazon for $19.77. The full clutter-free text of the Deseret News article is available at this link. A detailed review of the book by Kramer & Stapley was posted last month at BCC.
As for the linked review at the Deseret News, it offers a few new hints about the book. It minimizes blame assigned to members of the emigrant party that was attacked. It will not pull any punches when it comes to laying responsibility for the tragic events at the feet of local LDS leaders in Southern Utah. It does not conclude that Brigham Young was directly involved in the events leading up to the massacre, although it does note that the preaching and counsel he and other LDS leaders gave in the months preceding the massacre may have “contributed to the atmosphere of unquestioned authority, conformity, fear and suspicion” that suppressed the usual sense of civilized restraint that generally prevents this sort of thing from happening.
The DN article also notes that the researchers had access to and provide details of “affidavits given to a 19th century church historian by those who participated in the slaughter or learned of it firsthand.” It states that these affidavits have “never before been available to researchers” and came from LDS Church archives.
In addition to quotes from two of the authors, the article offers quotes from Jan Shipps (“the information age and ready access to technology have created permanent changes in the ability of any institution to keep sensitive information under wraps”) and Philip Barlow (“People, including Latter-day Saints, want some substantive, authentic history.”). A closing teaser is offered by author Ron Walker, who states that “a second book is in the works.”