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“Lyrical, resonant . . . Brooks writes with an urgent intimacy reminiscent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ coating even the most painful memories with a honeyed warmth.  There is a steady strength here.”–Boston Globe “A talented memoirist.'”–Minnesota Star-Tribune “Entertaining . . .moving”–The New Yorker “A rare memoir that ended too soon. A triumphal declaration of unorthodox faith.”–The Washington Post “Ground-breaking, honest, and deeply poignant.  Genuinely thought-provoking on many levels.”–Literary Inklings


“This volume will bring awareness to some and enlightenment to many. This book will enrich the legacy we treasure and point us to a proud future.”–Aileen Hales Clyde, Chair, Utah’s Task Force on Gender and Justice (1989); Regent, Utah System of Higher Education (1989-2003); Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1990-1997)  “These essays are, indeed, ‘essential.’ The study of contemporary Mormonism should not be attempted without them.” –Kathleen Flake, Richard Lyman Bushman Professor of Mormon Studies, University of Virginia.  “Hopeful, heartbreaking, faithful. As a church we owe these women–their words and work–much recognition for their progress and perspective.”–C. Jane Kendrick, writer at


“A surprising, bold, and altogether brilliant contribution to our understanding of why people crossed the Atlantic to live in a strange new world. Haunting voices sing to us across the centuries a rich and disturbing ‘history from below.’” —Marcus Rediker, author of The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom

“Joanna Brooks compellingly recreates the lives of British peasants who came to the New World. She traces their collective memories through the folk ballads sung by their descendants and collected diligently by scholars and revivalists. Riveting, harrowing, Why We Left will forever change the way we listen to ‘folk music.’”—Charles McGovern, William and Mary




Winner, 2003 Modern Language Association William Sanders Scarborough Prize.  “American Lazarus is a stunning resurrection of a buried chapter of American literary history and the redemption of a host of misread, ignored, and undervalued African American and Native American literary artists whose works have long awaited the interpretive powers and methods of Joanna Brooks. Brooks’s revealing, heroic narrative will change how we think about the formation of the nation.” –Emory Elliott, University of California, Riverside  “An important and powerful refiguring of early American literature.” –Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles “A model of imaginative and rigorous interdisciplinary research.” –Early American Literature “A groundbreaking and illuminating book.”–The North Star



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