"This is not a study of Mormon history but of Mormon historians" (xi), explain the authors, two prominent historians themselves. Thus begins the most ambitious attempt to date in Mormon historiography to analyze the lives and contributions of the movement's principal chroniclers. In this volume Bitton and Arrington answer the questions: "How well did [Mormon historians] do their job? What do we owe to them? Where is it necessary to move beyond them?" (ix). Contending that Mormonism is not merely the story of its "men and women of action," but also "the people of the pen" (ix), the authors insist that "the way we think about our past does much to shape our identity" (xi). This volume is, then, both "a study in intellectual awareness and an exploration of group self-awareness" (xi).