by David J. West:
Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents is just such a work that will carry you forward in understanding gospel principles, politics, and strategy.
Now let me introduce Morgan Deane. He is a professor and veteran with a passion for military history and The Book of Mormon. I've been following his blog for years. The rest of you had no idea that you could be enlightened through side by side examinations of Mao and the Gadiantons but LO there it is.
And it came to pass that Deane's book, Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents is a brilliant tutorial for the rest of us who aren't quite to that "Hugh Nibley understudy" level just yet. Beginning with comparisons to Asian origins and world outlook, Deane shows (as Nibley did) similarities between Jaredite and ancient Chinese culture as well as known Mesoamerican practices. Continuing onward we see the examples and comparisons of the Gadianton Robber/Nephite conflicts (using Hebrew distinctions) and the resemblance to the circumstances of the Roman city states after the empire fell.
My favorite chapter may be The Inward Fire: Judging the Leadership of Captain Moroni. Herein Deane brings in the big guns, Nibley and Clausewitz, to back his case for Moroni's military genius and Patton-like righteousness. Ever the staunch veteran, Deane is in support of both Moroni and Bush’s policies and gives an outstanding argument for military preparedness.
Everything is footnoted, Deane isn't prone to spouting opinion or leaving any statement to dogmatic chance. He knows exactly why he thinks this way and I respect that – even if I don't necessarily agree on everything. Still he is a friend of mine and I did give him a back cover blurb as follows:
Morgan Deane's new book, Bleached Bones and Wicked Serpents, is an absolute must for anyone studying The Book of Mormon. His words are clear and give a new dynamic approach to the field with so much yet to offer and hidden from cursory glances. It needs to be studied and Deane brings a well-rounded approach to that purpose. Wide ranging examples from history tie the parallels from the ancient world in remarkable efficiency. Deane's personal experience also gives a strong eye to the military aspect so often neglected in other collections. This is a book that will be talked about for years to come by any serious student of The Book of Mormon.
David J. West has been writing as long as he can remember, winning a number of secretive awards too prestigious for you to have heard of. He lives in Utah with his wife and three children. Among his published works are Heroes of the Fallen (a Book of Mormon sword & sorcery adventure) and Bless the Child, the great American Mulekite/Spartan novel you never heard of.