News From the Antipodes: The Australian Letters of William Griffiths Reese (1906 - 1909))

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9781492284987: News From the Antipodes: The Australian Letters of William Griffiths Reese (1906 - 1909))
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William Griffiths Reese was not quite three years old in the summer of 1861 when his family, who had converted to Mormonism in Wales, left their homeland to settle in Utah's Cache Valley. Forty-five years later, in 1906, when William was married and the father of nine children, he answered a call to serve as a Mormon missionary in far-off Australia. During the twenty-seven months of his missionary labors, William also served as the Australian correspondent to the Logan Tri-Weekly Journal. It was an unusual arrangement, but William took his assignment seriously, producing an article at least every other week--seventy-six in all. This book contains all of these articles, along with an introductory biography, an epilogue, footnotes and illustrations. Elder Reese's communiques evince an intellectual curiosity and a desire to educate himself about Australia. The government, culture, economy, agriculture, law, racial issues and political climate all drew his study and comment. He took the opportunity to attend cultural and sporting events, observing and commenting on personalities of the day. His letters provide a fascinating glimpse of the Australia of the early twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of a Mormon missionary from rural Utah.

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About the Author:

Morris Ashcroft Thurston, who edited this volume, is an author, lecturer, independent historian and retired lawyer. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School who practiced law for thirty-five years with the global law firm of Latham & Watkins. He has published a number of books and articles relating to Mormon and family history and has received an Award of Excellence from the Mormon History Association. He and his wife, Dawn Parrett Thurston, are co-authors of the book Breathe Life into Your Life Story: How to Write a Story People Will Want to Read, a Signature Books bestseller. They frequently lecture at venues across the country on many aspects of family history and life story writing. The Thurstons have four children and five grandchildren and live in Villa Park, Orange County, California. Morris is a great-grandson of William Griffiths Reese.

Review:

News from the Antipodes is a beautifully produced volume that makes a significant contribution to the history of the LDS mission in Australia in the early twentieth century.... Other contemporary Mormon mission journals survive, and it would be good to see them published, but none that I have seen were written with the insight, descriptive skill and humor that make this book so enjoyable to read. -- Marjorie Newton, award-winning author of Southern Cross Saints: The Mormons in Australia.

Adroitly edited by Morris Thurston, the letters of William Griffiths Reese invite a wide readership. The correspondence from the observant 50-year-old missionary bequeaths an uncommon portal into several spheres. Among them are the nature of missionary life and practice circa 1910...and the extraordinary quality of ordinary experience. Philip L. Barlow, Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, author of Mormons and the Bible.

Thanks to [Morris Thurston's] thoughtful introductory material and skillful presentation of the letters of William Griffiths Reese, readers are given a remarkable window into the personal life of an individual missionary and a glimpse into the larger world of Mormonism down under. Thurston provides helpful annotation and illuminating images to his meticulously edited collection of letters. Reid L. Neilson, Managing Director of the LDS Church History Department.

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Morris Ashcroft Thurston
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2014)
ISBN 10: 149228498X ISBN 13: 9781492284987
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