The Oatman Massacre (Nonfiction)

Brian McGinty, University of Oklahoma Press, $14.95, Softcover.

oatman-massacre_olive_mohave-indians_gila-riverOn a trek to find the “Land of Bashan” as prophesied in the Book of Mormon, Roys Oatman led his family of nine into the brutal Sonora Desert.

On the family’s last leg to the Gila River, roving Indians attacked them. Teenager Lorenzo escaped. All others, but young Olive and Mary Ann, were killed. The girls lived with their abductors, Mohave Indians, for five years; only Olive survived. After her rescue, her story was sensationalized in the national press and a popular book. The photo of a healthy, tattooed Olive taken right after her rescue is haunting. This historical review of the case separates 19th-century fantasy from fact.

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