Generally speaking, Latter–day Saint knowledge of Church history after 1847 is spotty at best. The reason for this deficit is that most Church members read little LDS history beyond what they get once every four years in Gospel Doctrine class, and, until recently, the curriculum covered little after the Saints' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. Twentieth–century history, in particular, is largely uncharted territory, especially the latter half of the century. A few historians and biographers have tried to correct this deficiency in the past decade or so. The latter portion of Matthew Bowman's The Mormon People comes to mind, as do David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, by Gregory A. Prince and Wm. Robert Wright; Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, by Edward L. Kimball; the last two sections of Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter–day Saint History, published by BYU Studies; and a smattering of articles appearing in the Journal of Mormon History and other scholarly venues.
This means that the anthology Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945 should be of interest to many readers who are curious about this period of LDS history. As one of the editors, Patrick Mason, puts it in his introduction, "We need more robust, multifaceted, and analytical accounts of Mormonism in the period of its greatest growth, acceptance, and success as an increasingly global church" (5). This volume definitely succeeds in contributing to that goal. Divided loosely into four parts—"Internationalization," "Political Culture," "Gender," and "Religious Culture"—the book features essays by an impressive roster of scholars on an array of historical topics.