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Bringhurst is definitely writing within a Turnerian framework. Emphasizing BY's frequent moves west and of course the nod to the census's statement about the closing frontier are both themes from Turner's work. It's a paradigm that began losing much of its vigor long before Brighurst wrote his book in 1985, but one that would not be discredited until the New Western History's historiographical revolution in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I haven't read Bringhurst's book, but I've never heard it recommended over Arrington's biography. Perhaps that's because Arrington's book is superior, or it may be because Bringhurst framed his biography within a paradigm that lost vitality within a few years of pubication.

What do you think Dave? How would you compare the two biographies?

Certainly Arrington's American Moses is a longer and more detailed look at Brigham Young's life. Bringhurst's book came out about a year later, and in the bibliographical notes Bringhurst described the Arrington book as the nearly definitive BY biography (or something like that).

Bringhurt's work was short and was part of a series of 25 or so biographies (Oscar Handlin was the series editor). They each carried topical subtitles, like "Harry S. Truman and the Modern American Presidency," so Bringhurst was probably required to adopt the frontier theme as a context for the biography.

Thanks for the comparison, Dave. I was aware that Bringhurst's volume was part of a series, but not that it was a short work. You're probably right that he was likely required to use that frame.

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