I came across this old post (March 2010–old at least by blogging standards) when I was browsing The Juvenile Instructor, an excellent blog dealing with Mormon history. The post is by Steve Fleming, a graduate student in religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
I always enjoy reading stories about how people entered the historical profession. Steve tells about the books that influenced him to pursue a career in academia.
The post ends with a discussion of John Brooke‘s award-winning book, Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844. Brooke’s book has been criticized on a variety of fronts by Mormons, but Fleming liked the book. He discusses the relationship he was able to build with Brooke through a failed attempt at getting an essay published. Brooke not only offered suggestions that improved Fleming’s scholarship, but was gracious enough to write him letters of recommendation for graduate school.
It is good to see future scholars like Fleming finding their vocations and senior historians like Brooke extending their time and energy to help young historians find their way. Great post.