I just received my copy of the final book in Peter Crawley's trilogy; A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume Three 1853-1857. The trilogy covers the years 1830 to 1857. Crawley argues that these years are the most vital in understanding Mormon thought on its theology, doctrine and history. Pete writes in the introduction of volume one: "In large part the Church is defined by these books [written during these first twenty-eight years]."http://www.amazon.com/Descriptive-Bibli ... 0842528105
Pete Crawley is all class. He thanks people deserving of thanks in helping him find additional works that he did not know about when he did the first two volumes and adds an addendum that includes these new entries.
Pete's book is amazing historical work and bibliographic resource. It is hard to explain how Pete has raised the bar on bibliographic works in this three volume series. What he has produced will stand for generations. There is no other work like this about Mormonism that compares with his scope and breadth.
Some examples: Pete spends five pages with his description of Orson Pratt's the Seer and explain that Pratt's work really over shadows everything for this time period. Polygamy is the huge subject since it was in 1852 when Pratt announced the strange Mormon practice of marriage to the world and this book covers 1853-1857; those years where the defense of polygamy that was established for the next generation. Much of the arguments are still being used by fundamentalist groups today.
Pete also spends six pages in detailing every bit of bibliographic information on Lucy Smith's "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet." If you want to know about what happened, it is here!
Pete's introduction is a who's who and a what's what of Mormon publication during this period. The amount of detail in eight page introduction is mind exploding.
Mormonism is a young faith and immature on many levels. But Crawley's trilogy provides the reader with evidence that the Mormon faith had theologians and historians that gave the faith a solid footing with this early literature. Clearly we do not have our Origens or Augustines, but I suggest you place Mormonism with any new faith and we stand up quite well. Crawley gives us all a thorough lesson on why we should all be proud of this body of literature from Mormonism founding years.
Have I convinced you all to run out and get Pete's book? Go now!! Get out the door and run!!!