Even after ten years out, I never read it. In the early stages of leaving, I didn't quite trust my own judgment as there was a heavy stigma attached to Brodie's work (I was a Nibley-reader as a TBM). Funny how that works.
Now, I just don't care anymore to read about Joe the Glasslooker. From what I gather, it seems like every assertion in Brodie's book that was once deemed anti-Mormon lies is now firmly established truth that even the Church is forced to admit.
Praise to the conman who conversed with the ladies...
It's one of the first authentic LDS accounts I read that helped me navigate my way out. My first copy was a university holding - very old copy from the dusty antiquated book shelves in the research department. That, and Mormon Enigma, the life of Emma Hale Smith. Both were instrumental reads for me.
Glad it's now available on Kindle. Mormon Enigma is out of print. I ordered a copy recently online. Not many of those are left.
No Man Knows My History is well-written and very interesting IMO. Now my husband is reading it and he enjoys going over with me what he is reading. I think for most people, history is boring, but this is book is not tedious at all.
Don't care how old it is. For me it is the best book written ever on Joe and his scam.
I left the church in the seventies and knew none of the supposedly "anti" smoking guns. I had to go with my gut based on my opinion that SWK was poisonous. I never looked into the church again at all--just buried it all with no way to process it.
Nearly four decades later I read a few 10 best lists from I believe it was the NYT of some reviewers best books ever and one listed NMKMH. He said regardless of the subject matter that it was a fascinating read. I remembered as a youth being told never to read it and I remembered the response from Nibley. Bought a copy and devoured it. I reveled in the fact that a famous biographer had done it and it had foot notes. Reference. Court records, newspaper clippings, letters, journal entries, and you name it. Reference!
I owe Fawn a lot for what she did for me. Finally everything made sense. I had a way to process.
I got a copy from the public library and read it on my lunch hour sitting in a public plaza. I remember quietly swearing under my breath as I read about his fraudulent Kirkland Banking scheme and philandering with young girls. He was a charlatan, but he wasn't even a particularly good one who got himself killed before he turned 40. We were taken in by a sh!tty, garden variety conman! That added insult to injury for me.
Brodie is an excellent writer. Of all the 4-5k pages of Mo history I read, I place her in the No. 1 spot for excellent writing.
I read NMKMH just before leaving CES and the church in Aug 2002. I expected to read wild, unfounded accusations because of the lies and propaganda pumped out by the church about Brodie and her famous book. Instead I found Brodie to be measured, methodical, balanced and even somewhat charitable to the scoundrel Smith.
I have heard some academics on both sides of Mormonism criticize her book, but for my money, it is one of the best books written about the con man Joe Smith.
I have heard from people, and this might just be a way to subvert her writings about Joseph Smith and make her seem less credible, that her Thomas Jefferson biography was full of odious missstatements and even some complete falsehoods. I should underscore that all of these statements came from Mormons who probably had a bone to pick with her because of her Joseph Smith biography. For some reason I've never bothered to validate this claim about the Jefferson biography, but I have heard it from a few different people.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/13/2017 02:22AM by midwestanon.
Brodie's bio on Jefferson was the first time I really realized what was going on with slaves and my role-model Jefferson. Like every other hero, I realized that there were things about him that were not admirable at all.
Brodie laid it all out, and even pointed out that others (in France especially) had advised him about the issue. He could have done the right thing but he didn't.
My thought after reading her Jefferson bio was exactly the point you made, midwestanon. I realized that there was an expectation not to trespass into some topics and she did it with Jefferson and with Joseph Smith. She boldly told the truth and it hurt.
I wish she were still alive. I would send her a thank you for her research and honestly.
Half the problem with what the church teaches is what they dishonestly leave out.
Her ability to write history and have it read like a novel is amazing to me. I owe her a lot in my journey discovering that ole Joey was a lying woman-chasing lazy conman who was concerned with only himself and his pleasure be it wine, cigars, women and wealth.
No reasonable, honest, critically thinking person could read NMKMH without concluding JS was a con man. But even if your head is totally up your arse about the subject, you'd surely have to admire the beautiful prose. A deeply researched history by an eminent scholar and historian.