UNC Asheville History Professor Grant Hardy has released "Understanding the Book of Mormon: A Reader's Guide" (Oxford University Press, April 2010) to positive reviews. The work provides a thorough literary analysis of the religious text, especially focusing on its narrative structure, the style of its main writers and the characterizations of its principal characters. Publishers Weekly, which gave the book a starred review, said, "This will be a classic work in the field of Mormon studies for decades to come."
With more than 140 million copies in print, The Book of Mormon is the central text of one of the largest and fastest growing faiths in the world. "In Understanding the Book of Mormon," Hardy takes readers through the characters, events and ideas of the holy book, while helping to unlock the story and its messages.
Publishers Weekly concludes, "In Hardy's hands, the Book of Mormon begins to come alive as a kind of Shakespearean tragedy as Hardy nimbly employs various tools of literary criticism. It is past time for a study like this, which eschews tiresome debates about the Book of Mormon's historical authenticity in favor of a careful, lucid exploration of the book's construction, themes, and characters."
In addition, Booklist gave "Understanding the Book of Mormon" a starred review, calling it "a clarifying perspective on a culturally important book."
Hardy is also author of "The Book of Mormon: A Reader's Edition" (University of Illinois Press, 2005). He previously served as associate editor for the Journal of the Book of Mormon and Restoration Scripture.
Hardy, who joined the UNC Asheville faculty in 1994, holds a doctorate from Yale University. A noted Chinese scholar, he is the author of "The Establishment of the Han Empire and Imperial China" (Greenwood Guides to Historic Events of the Ancient World, 2005) "Enduring Ties: Poems of Family Relationships" (Zoland Books, 2003); and "Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian's Conquest of History" (Columbia University Press, 1999).