Utah’s path to statehood was the most tortuous in U.S. history, due in no small part to the Mormon practice of polygamy. Frank J. Cannon, newspaperman, Congressional delegate, and senator, guided Utah toward becoming the forty-fifth state in the Union in 1896. But when he lost favor with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his contributions fell into obscurity.
Val Holley has written a new biography titled “Frank J. Cannon: Saint, Senator, Scoundrel.” Historian Will Bagley says this biography of “one of the most controversial men ever to be born in Utah, is worth the wait. Cannon’s role in ending the political warfare over polygamy is what made him matter in Utah’s history. His scandalous conduct—and how he got away with it—is what makes him interesting.”
Val Holley is an independent historian living in New York City. His 25th Street Confidential: Drama, Decadence, and Dissipation along Ogden’s Rowdiest Road won the Utah Book Award in Nonfiction.