In 1834-35, Oliver Cowdery wrote eight letters to W.W. Phelps describing the events of the restoration. These letters were published in the Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate and constitute the first published history of the Mormon Church. These letters were reprinted throughout the nineteenth century by various Latter Day Saint groups. In 1854, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) published them in pamphlet form, complete with a preface by James J. Strang. Strang also authored an appendix, elaborating on his views of the Book of Mormon. A selection from that appendix is posted below.
The Book of Mormon is not a text book among the Saints of the last days. In all their public controversies the Bible is the universal standard; but in their domestic affairs, the Book of the Law of the Lord is the end of controversy.
The Book of Mormon is not a book of doctrine, but a book of history.-Its subject is a branch of the house of Israel, who left Judea in the times of the Kings, coasted along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, passed through Eastern Asia, crossed the Northern Pacific to the Northwest Coast of America, migrated by slow stages though Mexico and Central America, and spread over the Continent from the Lakes to the Equator.
The last scenes of its history are in the State of New York, very remote from most of the important events mentioned in it.
The Book of Mormon was first published in 1830, and a large edition immediately put in circulation. Its style is exceedingly simple, indicating inferior literary attainments of its authors, but the most excellent morals, and a high regard to religious duties and obligations, and considerable knowledge of theology.
The translation into English, evidently has not improved or embellished the original. The English is exceedingly barbarous and ungrammatical, evidencing extreme want of literary qualifications in translator and editor. The proof reading of the first edition was worse done that is usual with country newspapers, and occasionally the most gross errors were designedly committed by the printers.
The grossest of these were corrected in the subsequent editions, to some limited extent. But the stereotyped edition, which it was intended to make an accurate standard, having been executed by men who had no interest in the faithfulness of the work, abounds with numerous and gross inaccuracies.
But, aside from literary defects and editorial and mechanical blunders, the Book of Mormon is the most extraordinary book of the productive and progressive age. It traces, for a period of one thousand years, the history of a semi-civilized population, extending over half the American continent, with such minuteness that the student in modern geography finds no difficulty in locating their nations and cities, and all the events in their history.
Their cities, fortresses, temples and numerous public works, from the same prominent feature in their history which such works usually do in the history of a people in a low state of civilization, and in some instances are minutely described. Such a work should have commanded the attention of antiquarians and historians in all the world. Prejudice has shut the eyes of the learned to this vast fund of knowledge. 
 James J. Strang, Ed. The Epistles of Oliver Cowdery, on the bringing in of a New Dispensation (Saint James: Cooper and Chidester, 1854), 54-55.