Robert C. Freeman, director of the Saints at War project at Brigham Young University, and colleague Dennis A. Wright have published two previous volumes that focus on the experiences of Latter-day Saints during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. This present publication focuses on the nineteenth-century wartime experiences of Latter-day Saints.
Nineteenth-Century Saints at War is a collaborative effort involving several scholars. Andrew C. Skinner provides an excellent analysis of Latter-day Saint doctrines and principles as they pertain to war and peace. Larry C. Porter discusses Latter-day Saint involvement in the Mexican-American War. Lieutenant Colonel Sherman L. Fleek (United States Army, retired) provides an overview of the causes and the impact of the Utah War. David F. Boone writes about the Civil War, including Joseph Smith’s prophecy of that war. James I. Mangum gives an interesting account of Latter-day Saints in the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars.
The editor provides a brief introduction to each war and also entertaining sidebars, which highlight significant individuals and places associated with each war. For example, one fascinating sidebar focuses on Charles Henry Wilcken, a former member of the Prussian Army who arrived in the United States in 1857 and joined Johnston’s Army. Captured by Lot Smith’s cavalry in Wyoming, Wilcken eventually joined the Church and went on to serve as a bodyguard for two Church presidents (89).
Notes at the end of each chapter will lead the interested reader to further reading. The book is well illustrated with over forty photographs and paintings. Many readers will likely be un-familiar with the interesting artwork, which comes from both museums and private collections.
This work provides a good overview of the nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint wartime experience in one convenient volume. It succeeds in placing the Church experience against the broader American experience as it relates to war.