Where others saw only sage, a salt lake, and a great desert, the Mormons saw their "lovely Desert," a land of lilacs, honeycombs, poplars, and fruit trees. Unwelcome in Illinois and Missouri, they migrated to the dry lands between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada to establish Mormon country, a wasteland made green. Like the land they settled, the Mormons' habits stood in stark contrast to the frenzied recklessness of the American West. Opposed to the often prodigal individualism of the West, Mormons lived in closely knit - some say ironclad - communities. The story of Mormon country is one of self-sacrifice and labor spent in the search for an ideal in the most forbidding territory of the American West. "Stegner's book makes excellent reading and is also solidly based. He has even (and this is not a bad test) prepared a really careful index. His residence of fifteen years in the region he is describing allows him to mingle ease with authority." - "New York Times". "Stegner combines a great amount of information and lively comment with fine description of one of the most beautiful and least known regions of the United States." - "Boston Globe".
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