Historian Will Bagley and his beef with Brigham Young

Historian Will Bagley joined me on the show to talk about early Utah history, including some little known stories surrounding the migration of Mormon Pioneers.

He was recently featured on The Discovery Channel’s special, Gold Fever:  http://dsc.discovery.com/tv-shows/gold-fever

It was a real honor having a historian of his clout in the studio:

Bagley attended Brigham Young University in 1967-68, and then he transferred to University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC), where he obtained his B.A. in History in 1971. At Santa Cruz Bagley studied writing with Page Stegner and history with John Dizikes. He graduated from UCSC between Richard White and Patty Limerick, two of the leading lights of the “New Western History.” While at UCSC he received the California State Scholar and President’s Scholar awards.[citation needed] He considers an integral part of his education a trip he took in 1969, on a homemade raft built of framing lumber and barrels, down the Mississippi River from Rock Island, Illinois to New Orleans. After graduation he spent three years in North Carolina studying the local Bluegrass music and culture, and playing in bands.

Bagley has published extensively over the years and is still active. He is the author and editor of twenty books and of many articles and reviews in professional journals, such as theWestern Historical Quarterly, Utah Historical Quarterly, Overland Journal, The Journal of Mormon History, and Montana The Magazine of Western History. His column, “History Matters”, appeared every Sunday for four years (2000–2004) in The Salt Lake Tribune.[4]

Will Bagley is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Utah Rivers Council,[10] Westerners International,[11] and the Oregon-California Trails Association.[12] He currently serves on the boards of the Friends of the Marriott Library at the University of Utah[citation needed] and the Utah Westerners. He established The Prairie Dog Press in 1991 to publish A Road from El Dorado. The press eventually expanded into a consulting business that has handled book design and typesetting, publishing, historical research, and contract writing.[citation needed] The press has worked with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Marriott Library, the History Channel, and PBS.[citation needed] Bagley’s book Blood of the Prophets deals with the Mountain Meadows massacre and has won numerous awards, including a Spur from Western Writers of America and best book awards from the Denver Public Library and the Western History Association. The New York Review of Books described the study as “an exhaustive, meticulously documented, highly readable history that captures the events and atmosphere that gave rise to the massacre, as well as its long, tortuous aftermath. Bagley has taken great care in negotiating the minefield presented by what remains of the historical record.”[13]

His new book, South Pass, will be released in the very near future:

Bagley sample 44429

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