Matthew Bowman is an up-and-coming young scholar of the generation now rising with the relatively new field of Mormon studies. Having completed his doctorate in American religious history at Georgetown University in 2011, he has nevertheless already been very visible for some time at academic conferences and in periodical literature of both Mormon and American religious histories. He has appeared on various public media sites, electronic and otherwise, as a commentator about Mormons and Mormonism, including discussions of his new book.
This book provides eight solid chapters, a brief introduction, and an even briefer conclusion, followed by four appendices, a bibliographic essay, endnotes, and an index. The chapters are arranged chronologically, with the first taking us to 1831, the second to 1839, the third to 1846, the fourth to 1877, the fifth to 1896, the sixth to 1945, the seventh to 1978, and the final chapter to 2011. The significance of this periodization will be readily apparent to many Mormon readers, and Bowman makes it clear enough to non-Mormon readers as well. He appropriately dedicates the book to Richard Bushman, who is not only his principal mentor but also was instrumental in connecting him with the publisher.