Historian Davis Bitton earned his academic spurs during his graduate years at Princeton and his professorial tenure at the University of Utah. Of the ten books he has written, best known to LDS scholars are his co-authored work with Leonard J. Arrington, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (1979), and his detailed reference book, Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies (1977). As a past president of the Mormon History Association and as an emeritus professor, Bitton is widely respected for his contribution to Latter-day Saint history.
Images of the Prophet Joseph Smith is the most recent contribution to Mormon literature by Davis Bitton. It is not a conventional biography of the founder of Mormonism. His perceptive approach to the life of Joseph Smith dramatically differs from the monochrome, but faithful, biography by John Henry Evans, the objective work by Donna Hill, and the biased portrayal by Fawn Brodie. Bitton despairs, “How flawed . . . must be any effort to write the life of another person,” but then confesses, “We humans keep trying.”