Monday, January 2, 2017

Saints At Devil's Gate {Review}

Saints At Devil's Gate

Softback with gatefold, 143 pages
Published November 17th 2016 by Church Historian's Press

A beautiful art book from the Church Historian's Press, publisher of The Joseph Smith Papers.

From 1846 to 1869, some 70,000 Mormon pioneers traveled the Mormon Trail, the 1,300-mile route from Illinois and Iowa to Salt Lake City. In 2011, three award-winning Mormon painters decided to visit sites all along the historic route and capture the landscapes in oil. This full-color art book, featuring 52 landscape paintings, presents the fruit of their five-year project. Each painting is paired with journal entries or reminiscences from pioneers who made the journey. Essays by the authors and an artist interview illuminate both the art and the history of the trail.

The book gives written and visual context to the pioneers’ experience of the trail, bears witness to the land as it exists today, and links the experience of pioneers to the challenges of today.

Note: This book was published to accompany an exhibition of the same name at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City. Therefore, distribution of the book has been limited. Copies are available at the museum gift store, at, and at some independent bookstores in Utah.


My Review: 5 Stars

I used to wonder what it would be like to live as a pioneer and even went as far to think it would be kind of fun. As I've gotten older and read stories about life on the trail, I've definitely changed my mind. I'm so grateful these men and women went through these challenges, hard times, and heartaches so that I can have the blessings that I do today, but I'm fine living my own battles.

This book is wonderfully done! With beautiful paintings on each page, framed by journal entries, real memories, and/or historian or artist's or curator's perspectives, this is a timeless piece that is perfect for those who want to learn more about this time period and the things these pioneers when through. I feel that the stories are really brought to life by combining the art with each thought and I loved learning more about every day life. Yes, life was really hard, but there are fantastic descriptions of the beauty around them and of good times. I'm much more appreciate of these people after reading this book. It's a great addition to any historical collection.

There is an exhibition that is available at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, UT and runs through August 2017. It's also available online at

*I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


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