Charles Shumway

A Pioneer’s Life

Review

Contents

Mormon biography has typically been a small province bordered on three sides by family pride, and on the fourth by misspelled words, to paraphrase Guedalla.

Kenneth Godfrey breaks out of this province on his excellent study, Charles Shumway: A Pioneer’s Life. The pioneer patriarchs often seem to have been selected by destiny for greatness. The long trek across half a continent and half a century turned bland New England farmers onto charismatic leaders, who, seen from a distance, tower like mountains between the foothills of their ancestors and the plains of their descendants. If they had several wives, as Charles had, their fourth generation descendants are usually of sufficient number to justify publication costs for a biography, and the Shumway family is fortunate to include a Dr. Godfrey to undertake this job.

 

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