Here’s a compilation of pre-publication praise (and occasional criticism) of Pioneer Prophet:
▪ The New York Times featured Pioneer Prophet in a discussion of Mormon history. Turner, the article reported, “expects the book will displease some people. In particular, he noted its sustained consideration of Young’s polygamous marriages, his complicity in various violent episodes, and other unpalatable subjects that previous biographers … had brushed past quickly.”
▪ The New Yorker declared Pioneer Prophet “a definitive biography of Mormonism’s greatest activist and apostle.
▪ The Times of London (no link available) questions whether Turner is “kinder to Young than the facts might allow. He suggests, for example, that male Mormons went along with ‘plural marriage’ (a misnomer, since it was “plural” at the convenience of the men only) mostly out of piety.” Read my biography’s sections on polygamy and decide for yourself!
▪ Library Journal renders a positive verdict: “There aren’t enough superlatives for this book. It will remain the standard biography for a long time. Because of its thorough documentation, academics will take it seriously, while general readers will appreciate its clarity of prose and argument.”
▪ The Cleveland Plain-Dealer concludes: “Responding to all the notoriety that surrounded him and his people, Young once mused ‘Well, we are a curiosity, ain’t we?’ When finished with this superb biography, readers will find him less of a curiosity but still fascinating.”
▪ Booklist (no free link) praises Pioneer Prophet as “an impressively detailed portrait of a controversial giant.”
▪ Bryan Buchanan, writing for the Association of Mormon Letters, terms Pioneer Prophet “a landmark in Mormon biography.”