Over at Juvenile Instructor I posted an essay looking at one of the classic texts in New Mormon History and a foundational book on the subject I’m currently engaging: Robert Flanders’s Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi. Besides evaluating its strengths and shortcomings I also gauge how the field has developed in the last half-century. Here’s the closing paragraph:
It is easy to pick at methodological holes in a fifty-year-old-book. But the fact that the book is still worth dealing with is a testament to its importance. More, historiographical classics are often representative of the scholarly settings in which they were written. Kingdom on the Mississippi was one of the foundational works of New Mormon History, and it helped move the field in new and important trajectories. Yet just like the historical craft itself, revisiting it is like traveling to a foreign world, and the voyage is quite instructive not only for your destination, but also the land from which you came.
(And yes, I know this kind of stuff is very inside baseball. For the overly-specialized of the over-specialized nerds, if you will.)