Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: Attack on Pearl Harbor: The True Story of the Day America Entered World War II

This is a Scholastic Book written Shelley Tanaka.  It presents a general overview of the attack on Pearl Harbor, but also presents four personalized stories.  The personalized stories make the story more real and personal.  Two of this stories are Japanese.  Commander Mitsuo Fuchida was a leader or a group of level bombers.  His group made a successful attack on Pearl.  Their planes were three passengers, and it was he who dropped the bombs, two scoring hits and two misses.  His plane was the last of his group to leave the area, as they stayed to collect and report on the success of the attack.  They were also the last of the group to make it back to the carrier.  He recommended another strike to his officers, but he was over ruled.
Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki was a pilot of a two-man submarine.  The submarine was taken piggy back on a larger submarine to close to Pearl Harbor.  They were hoping to get inside the harbor and let loss their two torpedoes.  However the submarine had mechanical problems with its guidance system.  The hit coral reefs on several occasion.  Their two torpedoes were destroyed in these collisions, and then finally the ship itself would no longer go.  They tried to blow it up, but were unsuccessful.  They finally wee adrift in the ocean.  His companion did not make it. The waves took him to shore where he had the dishonor of being the only survivor of the the five mini-submarines, and the first Japanese POW of the war.
George DeLong was an American Sailor.  He was aboard the USS Oklahoma, a battleship.  He was below deck in his bunk when the ship was struck and sunk.  It tilted and flipped over in the water with the bow being above water.  The compartments had been sealed and they were trapped.  However the compartment where the where continued to fill with water.  The were in this compartment four 36 hours until men were able to weld a hold in the bow and rescue them.
Peter Nottage was Hawaiian and he was visiting friends close to Kaneohe Air Base.   He was outside and observed the Japanese attack of the airbase.  His family left Hawaii and moved to the main land where they would be more secure during the war.
Along with these personal stories, we also get a highlight of the day, Sunday December 7, 1941.  One thing I found very interesting was a copy of President Roosevelt's speech the next day with President Roosevelt's corrections on the paper.  It would have been nicer if it had included the entire speech as it only had the first page.  Although written for fifth or sixth grade level, this book gets its message across and I enjoyed it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Movie Review: ***^The Emmett Smith Story

This is another BYU movie made in 1979.  Without the BYU movie, we wouldn't know his story.  Emmett Smith was a high school track and cross country coach.  He was also a marathon runner. However his career was cut short as the result of a tumor.  The tumor was removed, taken out through his ear, causing permanent damage to his ear.  He was told that he would no longer be able to run.  However this result wasn't acceptable to him.  As soon as he was back on his feet, he started to push the envelope, and he ran, for four steps before falling down.  He slowly made improvement.  He was told that if he focused on a tree and ran to the tree, he might be able to control his dizziness.  He went from tree to tree, but found sometimes he couldn't turn.  He ended up in the river a few times.  He had set a goal for himself to run 20 miles on the one-year anniversary of his operation.  He achieved his goal.
At school he was introduced to a young woman, Cindy Duncan, who was hit by a car, and should have died.  She was now wheel chair bound.  This was before the days of wheel chair buses and the disabilities act.  It was rare for people with challenges to be in regular school.  Cindy had to stick up for herself to be accepted.  Over time, she developed strength in her legs, and began to us crutches. Then, with Emmett, she set a goal, to walk up to the podium to get her diploma.  He agreed to take a wheel chair trip if she succeeded.  Three days before graduation she was not there, but to the cheers of the students and everyone in the auditorium, she walked to the podium to get her diploma.
Very inspirational movie.  I think it could have been called Cindy Duncan's story just as easily.
Still has the corny BYU music and script.  But as I said very inspirational.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Movie Review: History's Mysteries: The Untold Stories: Mr. Lincoln

This movie takes as it foundation the manuscripts of William Herndon.  Herndon had been Lincoln's law partner for many.  These documents had been in the Library of Congress for many years.  It has been looked at again, and delivers a view of Lincoln as a many withe  flaws.  Some of the interesting aspects:  Lincoln used a Bible quote, which lost him the election for the Senate to Douglas, bad created him popularity nationally, "A nation divided against itself cannot stand."
But before we get to this point, Lincoln had gone through a troublesome youth.  He had a strained relationship with his father, as his father thought Lincoln was lazy.  Lincoln was intelligent, and knew he had propensity for learning.  He could be cocky, but would take the edge off by being self deprecating.  However he was required in his father's house to do physical labor all day, and then give his earnings to his father.  As a young man, he traveled to New Orleans, these formed his opinion of slavery.  After this experience he moved to Illinois, New Salem.  There he fell in love with Anne Rutledge, and they were engaged.  However she died from Typhoid, sending Lincoln into a suicidal depression.  He shortly after moved to Springfield to pursue the law at which he was successful, but continued to have issues with love.  Mary Todd pursued him.  She had also courted Stephen Douglas.  They eventually became engaged.  However a young woman turned his eye, and he felt he was not worthy of her.  However, they did marry, with a notice of only a day.  The husband wife relationship continued to have some areas of strain.  She grew up in a household with slaves; now she relied on hired help who could quit.  This was a strain for her.  Lincoln would often travel on the court circuit.  This left Mary Todd feeling vulnerable.  Even so, Mary Todd had glowing praise for her husband as husband and father.  His philosophy of parenting was based on love, not coercion.  As a politician, he started as a humble, simplistic politician.  From there he moved to ridicule and sarcasm  of his Democratic opponents. He then became a positive politician, building his career on the abolishment of slavery.  Lincoln lost and was out of politics for five years.  However after the Kansas Nebraska Act, which allowed the advancement of slavery, he came back into politics.  When he didn't get the vote in the Whig Convention, he suggested the party drop him, and he helped created the Republican Party.  He was nominated for the Senate by the Republicans in 1858.  His keynote speech included the house divided statement.  The country could not continue half slave and half free.  He lost to Stephen Douglas.  But this speech, and the Lincoln-Douglas debates promoted him to prominence.  He was nominated for president at the Republican Convention in 1860.  He won the election, and early on their were threats of assassination.  He had to sneak into Washington.  There were lots of petty things which took place.  Lincoln had issues with Mary Todd.  She is given a budget to remodel the White House.  She goes over budget, and Lincoln pays the over run from his salary.  Lincoln's son, William, dies during thh his period, and both he and Mary Todd take this loss hard.  However Lincoln did establish the emancipation proclamation.  He would not back off of his principles, despite the political cost. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Movie Review: ****^Treasure in Heaven: The John Tanner Story

This is a 2009 movie released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was directed by T.C. Christensen.  This movie follows John Tanner from his conversion to his death.  It follows a couple themes.  The first is that of consecration.  John Tanner gave his all to the kingdom of God.  He said, "Any many who would look back from the plow is not worthy of the kingdom of God."  He sacrifices, and sacrifices and sacrifices.  In a very real sense, he saved the Kirtland Temple from foreclosure, and was present for the inauguration and all the spiritual experiences that came with it.
The other theme I find in this movie recurs over and over in the  scriptures.  When God has a need, he will raise up someone to meet the need.  He did this with Joseph, with Moses, with Joseph Smith,  and with so any others.  I think he also does this with us, although perhaps on a smaller scale.  There are times when we are raised up for the benefit of a family member, a friend, a ward or some other purpose.  May we be prepared for these occasions.
Great movie.  Available through You Tube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHXcOVCrzvA

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: Boy: Tales of Childhood, Roald Dahl

This is an autobiographical history by Roald Dahl.  It was published in 1984.  He tells of his early life, particularly the British school system.  The most remarkable thing about this book is the use of corporal punishment used by the head masters, and then later the prefects.  Dahl was raised mostly by his mother.  His father and older sister both passed away when he was young.  While attending Llandiff Cathedral School in Carduff in 1924, he would have been eight, he and his buddies performed a trick on the lady at the local candy shop.  They distracted her, and put a dead mouse in the jar of gobstoppers.  The lady showed up at the school the next day, which lead to he and his four companions being caned by the headmaster while the candy lady looked on, encouraging harder blows.  The caning was done by requiring the boys to bend over and drop their drawers.  The cane was then brought to bear four times across the buttocks, drawing blood.  The blows were struck slowly so they would have he most effect.
His mother, when she saw the damage done, determined to remove him from the school, and the next year he attended boarding school.  However the canings didn't stop.  At his next school, St. Peters in Weston Super-Mare, he was also caned.  However this time, there was really no reason for his being caned.  he was accused falsely of trying to cheat.  When he tried to explain this to the head master, the head master only asked if he was calling the teacher a liar.  As he couldn't say this, he received six blows with the cane.  In this case the blows were farther apart for more pain effect, and included a lecture in between blows.
He attended Repton School in Derbyshire for secundary education.  In this school, the Boars (prefects) took care of discipline.  They made the younger students do many degrading things.  Dahl had to warm the seat for a Boar, sitting on it 15 minutes to make sure it was warm.
The book is not only about school life.  We also see Dahl's yearly family vacations Norway, where they would see family, but also go into the fjord where they would spend a month recreating, swimming and fishing and sun bathing on rocks.  On one trip Dahl played a trick on his older sister's fiance, as he put goat droppings in his pipe in place of tobacco.  The fiance noticed and said he was poisoned, but before he could extract revenge everyone jumped in and went swimming.
This was an enjoyable read.  The book pretty much ends after his school years, but he mentions that he was a pilot in WWII

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: The Legacy of the Voyage: Ship Brooklyn 1846

This is a pamphlet which has handed out to those who attended the dedication of the Oakland Temple Hill Memorial to the Ship Brooklyn.  The memorial is across of the doors to the temple, against the railing overlooking the Bay.  You will find an area with a floor that looks like the planks of a ship deck, in the shape of the front of a ship.  You can go to the front of this, and stand overlooking the Bay and pretend you are in the front of The Brooklyn. 
The pamphlet provides a brief history of the voyage.  This voyage left New York Feb. 4, 1846, heading for California.  It would be a journey of 20,000 miles aboard a ship 125 feet by 28 feet at the beam.  There were 158 adults and 100 children; most traveled in families.  They would be blown off course by a terrible storm, almost reaching Africa.  They would stop at Juan Fernandez Island and Hawaii for supplies.  When they left California was part of Mexico.  When they arrived, as a result of the Mexican American War, they would enter the Bay to be greeted by U.S. Navy warship. 
These Saints would be tried.  There were several deaths during the journey.  As they were caught in a wild storm, the Captain was ready to give up for lost.  “There is a time in every’ man’s life when it is fitting that he should prepare to die.  That time has come for us and unless God interposes, we shall all go to the bottom; I have done all in my power, but this is the worst gale I have known ever since I was master of a ship.”  The response of most of the passengers was one of faith.  One exclaimed, “We have been called b the Lord to go to California.  I have no more fear than though we were on solid land.”
They had to endure hardship, from lack of food and water.  The water would grow a thick and ropey slime.  The food would be infested by cockroaches and rats.  While on board ship they read from the Bible, Book of Mormon and Harper’s Library.  They were anxious to learn and improve themselves. 
They passengers of the Brooklyn had a deep pioneer heritage.  Many eventually went to Utah when the Saints stopped there.  Others, such was John Horner, stayed in Utah, but helped the Saints as he could, and would hold meetings in his home. 
This pamphlet includes a list of the Brooklyn Saints, as well as a good biography.  Even though it is short (15 pages) there is lots of good information.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Book Review: Wit and Whimsy In Mormon History

This book was edited by Davis Bitton and published be Deseret Book in 1974.  It has little bits, looking for a humorous bent.  Some of the stories are cute, but by the end of the book, it seemed to be just stuff from Deseret News, and much of it was tired.  However I found these two items enjoyable, among about ten of the hundred. 
Advise on corsets  The motions of the body, as well as beautiful, erect position, depend upon the action of numerous which should always be free from any artificial restraint; tight lacing, and corsets, and every form of dress, which compresses to the least degree any of the muscles, in the same proportion reduces their size and fullness, and destroys their tone, and the result is a shriveled, bony, emaciated appearance; I hope that mother in Israel will remember the responsibility that rests on them, to instruct the rising generation to refrain from such pernicious customs.  Desert News July 6, 1850

This poem has to do with the polygamy and a bill before congress.  Many women's groups popped up all over Utah and numerous rallies were held in support of the Church and there position on polygamy.

Little Eva’s Question 
Mamma, do you think that Congress,
Cannot stop that naughty Bill?
Then, wherever will he go to,--
Down!  Down! Don’t you think he will?
If he puts papa in prison,
O, how hard I’ll pray and cry!
And I’ll hope—I could not help i--
Every one of us may die!

Will he make poor aunty leave u--
Will her baby have to g--
And our darling brother David,--
Do you think it will be so?
Then I’ll have no sister Rettie,--
And papa will have no girl,
Only baby Hat and Allie;
And myself and sister Pearl.

William Cullom—what a mean name!
Sounds just like he was a knave;
And I know he is a rascal,
To want pa to be a sloave;
Simply  ‘cause he loves you mother,
And my dear, good auntie too;
He must think that men in Utah,
Don’t have enough to do!

And no little boy but Archie;
And I ‘spose he’ll have to oath,
That, when grown, should two girls love him,
He will never have them both:--
Aint that Bill a stupid fellow!
I just think he’s sick, don’t you?
And I wouldn’t wonder either,
If great Congress thinks so, too.

Let me ask you one more question,
Ere you tell me to be still;
He’s no brother to us, is he,
This base, low-lived, horrid Bill!
No he aint—but I’m not angry,--
Don’t you see I’m very cool?
No just once, ma, may I whisper,
Old Bill Cullom—what a fool!
Deseret New February 16, 1870


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Movie Review: ***^Abraham LIncoln's Assassination

This is a documentary available through Netflix Instant and produced by History Channel.  As the title states, it reviews of death of President Lincoln, who was the first president assassinated.  Things I hadn't realized before.  President Lincoln had a nightmare a few days before his assassination, in which he saw the funeral procession at the White House.
Major Rathbone, in the box with the president, tried to prevent Booth from getting away.  Booth pulled a knife and stabbed him in the arm.  However he did try to grab him, causing him to catch on the decorations, and he fell awkwardly to the stage, rather than the graceful jump he had planned.  This caused him to break a bone in his ankle.
A young doctor, Dr Charles a Leal was the first MD to arrive to the President's side.  The president was without pulse or respiration.  The doctor provided rescue breathing.  When he examined the wound, blood came out, and the president improved.  He started breathing.  Quickly other doctors reached the scene, and the all concurred the wound looked fatal.  The determined to move him to a bed, but did not think he would survive being carried to the White House.  He was taken to the Peterson House, across from Ford's Theater.  He was placed diagonally on a bed too small for his 6'4" frame.  He continued to breath, but did not regain consciousness.  President Lincoln passed away the next morning at 7:22 a.m. April 15, 1865.
His funeral services were attended by those who loved him, as well as those who may have hated him, as they decided they did not actually hit him so much.  This was the largest funeral in our country up to the time.  Thousands of mourners paid their respects.
The funeral train traveled to Springfield Illinois.  It also included the coffin of his son Willie.
Booth headed South with a co-conspirator David Herold.  He sought medical attention from Dr. Samuel Mudd.  Dr. Mudd likely didn't realize what had happened.  However he collected his mail, and there were soldiers looking for Booth.  Rather than tell the soldiers, he returned to his place and told the two fugitives to leave.  Booth made his way across the Potomac River and into Virginia.  He followed newspapers, thinking his act would be accepted as heroic.  He was shocked that it was not. 
Both was finally overtaken as he and Herold were holed up in a tobacco barn near Port Royal.  Herold gave himself up.  Booth did not.  He was shot by Sergeant Boston Corbett in the neck, severing his spinal cord.  He died three hours later.  Corbett was put on detention for disobeying orders of bringing Booth back alive.  Booth's last words were "Useless, useless," talking about his hands which someone had put before his face at his request.
Eight persons were arrested for conspiracy to kill the president.  They were tried in military court.  All were found guilty, with different penalties based on their involvement.  Some had dropped out of the conspiracy before the assassination (they had previously planned to kidnap government leaders) and these were given prison sentences.  Four, including Mary Surrat, the first woman condemned to death by the American government where condemned to death.  They were executed July 7, 1865.
Mary Todd Lincoln would never again  attend a theater.  In 1901 Lincoln's coffin was unburied, and moved to a more secure location.  His remains were viewed.  Because of the embalming process, he was still recognizable as Abraham Lincoln.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week of Pentacost: Kirtland Temple Dedication

http://makingpreciousthingsplain.blogspot.com/2013/04/freebie-all-about-kirtland-temple-22.html
This is a review of an article offered for free.  These were incredible times in the church.  This is more a summary than anything else.  It lets us know what experiences are possible in the church through faith.

Kirtland
Construction on the temple commenced in June 1833 and the dedication took place three years later march 27, 1836.  “The members started with little more than hope.  But by using every available resource, including donations of fine china, which was crushed and missed with mortar to give sparkle to the buildings outside walls, the Saints accomplished the near back-breaking commitment.”
The doors were scheduled to open at 8 a.m.  Long before this time hundreds had lined up to share in this special day.  The hall was crowded to capacity.  Between nine hundred and a thousand people attended the service.  Singing, scripture reading and supplication for Divine grace were followed by brief addresses.
Sidney Rigdon spoke.  After his two and a half hour presentation he presented the Prophet.  The Prophet read a dedicatory prayer which had been given to him by revelation.  Following the dedication the choir sand, “The Spirit of God Like a Fire.”  Then the hosanna shout was shouted in unison.  Heavenly manifestations followed.  Many recorded seeing angels.  A divine presence was felt by all.  Hearts were filled with joy and full of glory.  Speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues were also common.
The Lord’s supper was administered.  “Many of the elders bore solemn testimony to the divinity of the Gospel as restored.”
That evening over 400 priesthood bearer met in the temple for instruction.  The prophet prayed; “Let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon those on the days of Pentecost’ let the gift of tongues be poured out upon they people, even cloven tongues as of fire, and the interpretation thereof.  And let they house be filled, as with a rushing might wind, with thy glory” (D&C 109-36-37)George A. Smith stood to prophecy.  “Immediately the room was filled with the sound of a violent motion of wind.  William draper affirmed, “The outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord was so immense ‘that my pen is inadequate to write it in full or my tongue to express it.’” 
After this noise “many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; other saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation.”  The people of the neighborhood came running together to see what had caused the noise. 
April 3 was Easter Sunday.  This was a special day at the temple.  While the Jews left the doors open waiting for the return of Elijah, (there is a standing tradition that Elijah will return on the Passover.)  he returned and visited Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith in Kirtland.    Elijah was not the only visitor; but also Jesus, Moses and Elisha also visited, restoring vital keys for this dispensation.  (See D&C section 110)
April 6 was a day similar to the dedication of the temple.  There was the sound of rushing wind, and many spoke in tongues or had visions.  On an occasion a girl saw angels on the roof of the temple.  This was in broad daylight, in the afternoon.
The temple ceremony had not yet been received.  The Kirtland Temple was not designed for performances of ordinances.  Those blessing would become available with the completion of the Nauvoo Temple.  But what great times, must have been those days of Pentecost.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Movie Review: ****Taylor Swift: Journey to Fearless (to mmboe)

This is a 2010 documentary film shown on the Hub.  It shows Taylor Swift's rise in the music industry, the release of her first two albums, "Fearless" being the second, and the concert tour that resulted form that album.  It also includes video of most of the 13 songs from that album.
This is an interesting film, first because it shows you the determination of a girl to be a success in an industry which doesn't allow a lot of winners.  Swift was determined, but her dream was not accepted well at her school because she was different.  She and her family moved to Nashville to support her dream.  Swift wanted to record her own music, and was able to do that with Big Machine Records.  However her big break came with the release of "Fearless"  in 2008.  It includes the title song as well as "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me."
This movie goes into lots of detail about the concert which supported  the album.  This includes selection of the dancers, building of the set, rehearsals, p.r. and relations with fans.  Taylor Swift is very enthusiastic, and her enthusiasm is easily caught  by those around her.  We see her mother as well as her father.
An interesting part of the movie is Swift's song writing style.  She writes about her life experiences, a girl friend, freshman year of high school, boy relationships, bad and good (usually bad.)
I enjoyed this movie, but I like her music, at least the songs in this album.  I must admit, I have not followed her next two albums, but "Love Story" is as good as it gets.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Movie Review: ***^Stonewall Jackson: Biography

This is a 1995 made for t.v. movie.  It presents several historians telling Stonewall Jackson's story.  It presents the fact that he was an orphan, brought up by relatives, and had only limited school as he lived a rural farm life.  Consequently, when he started at West Point, he was towards the bottom of the class.  However his determination brought him into the upper third when he graduated.  His life long attitude was, "You may be whatever you resolve to be."
Jackson distinguished himself in the American Mexican War.  He was in three engagements, and did not really consider the danger he was in at times.  He received three brevet promotions, and returned the highest ranking member of his class. (His class graduated the year before the war.)
When he returned he received a post at Virginia Military Institute.  He proved himself to a poor teacher, but and excellent field teacher or artillery, and a leader at the school and community. 
However, it is for the Civil War that he is most known.  He distinguished himself in the Valley, and this movie does a good job of telling this, five to one odds and facing three armies with his army of light-footed Calvary.  It tells of other engagements he fought with Lee, including his final engagement at Chancellorsville. Friendly fire brought him down, and his arm was amputated.  However he passed away a week later of pneumonia.  His final words, "Let us cross the river and rest in the shade of the tree."
Stonewall Jackson's legend is one of "what if."  If he hadn't passed away would the outcome have been different.  If the war had played out, certainly the North's number and resources would have played out, but had Jackson been at Gettysburg, the result may have been different with some boldness on the part of the Confederates. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Movie Review: ***^The New World: Book of Mormon Documentary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pIBTr-x2gs

Just finished watching this documentary available on You Tube.  It presents nuances from the book of Mormon, which are now being proven through archeology, and would point to increased faith in the book.  However I like the conclusion.  It is impossible to create a testimony based on archeology.  However archeology can strengthen the testimony which one may have through the spirit. Ior that reason, I find this type of movie very entertaining.

This movie presents 32 scholars, many BYU scholars, who talk about the Book of Mormon.  They talk of Nephi, King Benjamin, Captain Moroni, Helaman's 2000 warriors, the destruction when Jesus was crucified, the visit of Christ to the Americas, Mormon and Moroni.  Some very incredible insights and testimonies.  This film concludes with the statement, "It is all about Jesus Christ."  This is a worthy movie, but one must find a testimony in the traditional way, through God's spirit.

But if you're looking for a quick look at archeological summary of the Book of Mormon, check this You Tube short out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMjNCFcG4-o

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: ***^John Baker's Last Race

John Baker's Last Race (1976, BYU) is a biographical presentation of the life of John Baker.  He was a track and cross and country star at the University of New Mexico and WAC champion in the mile run as well as cross country.  He had aspirations for the Olympics, and started training for the 1972 Olympics.  While training he took employment at Aspen Elementary teach physical education.  He also started a women's AAU track and field team.  He continues to train for the Olympics, but cannot get his times down.  He goes to see the doctor and is diagnosed with incurable cancer, and given six months to live.  He contemplates suicide, but in the end, determines to do his best until the end.  The movie portrays how he discovers a young girl, who has difficulty fitting in because of arthritis in her legs.  Treatment has been successful, but she resists physical therapy because of the pain.  Baker shows her how to overcome this with making funny faces to herself to forget the pain.  She eventually does this, and becomes a star.
Baker lead his AAU team to the national finals, and wants to go with them to the championship.  He has an episode at school where he loses control, screaming at the children.  He then collapses in pain.  He cancer ruptured, making him basically bed ridden.  However he makes the effort to go back to school to apologize for his behavior.  He doesn't make it to the finals, passing away a couple days before, a year and a half after he was diagnosed.  However the girls take the title in his name.
This is a very motivational and uplifting story.  To enjoy the show you have to get past the music, which is sort of corny.  I understand it is available through BYU communications.  I have an old VCR copy from Church Distribution.

Book Review: Of Dugouts and Spires: The History of South Jordan, Utah

This is a book published by City of South Jordan in 1998.  It was written by Ronald R. Bateman. I enjoyed this book, although I could see that it wasn't perfect in every regard.  The part I enjoyed the most was being taken back to a period which I did not live.  I could really see and feel with the early residents of South Jordan.  I was studying with the idea of understanding my great-great grandfather Isaac better; and his family.  Isaac lived in South Jordan for 41 years, half of his life.

Bateman describes South Jordan before the settlers arrived.  He describes the life of the settlers, initially living in adobe dugouts mad into the hill.  The fronts were adobe, but the were dug into the hillside, so the entire back wall was earth, as well as most of the side walls.  A hazard of these buildings was for a cow to walk on the roof and cave it in.  Bateman gives a brief history of the families who settled before 1900.  He then gives a nice chapter on pioneer life.  In this chapter he describes housework, farming and many other aspects of early life in South Jordan.  Many of the stories could have happened in any other Mormon pioneer town. 

There is a chapter on development of the Church in South Jordan, another on the history of the schools.  One chapter was his description of tragedies that struck South Jordan.  Among these was the train-school bus crash of 1938.

He tells of the coming of the South Jordan Temple.  The land was donated to the Church. 

The appendices are also very interesting.  They include a synopsis of important events in the city, store receipts, history of bishops, history of mayors, maps, etc.