New Books on Polygamy
However, high profile news stories concerning polygamist groups and individuals finally propelled the issue of polygamy into the conscience of the public, capturing a voyeuristic curiosity. For better or worse, polygamy is now popular fodder for television and other media.
A plethora of new books on polygamy have been released in the last several years. Most are written as personal accounts and, with only some exceptions, focus primarily on the Fundamentalist Latter-day Saints (FLDS). I recommend the following books that have been recently released on the issue of Mormon and Christian fundamentalist polygamy:
Secrets and Wives, The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy, Sanjiv Bhattacharya, Soft Skull Press, Release date set for May 2011. Bhattacharya’s examination of Mormon fundamentalist polygamy contains explosive information through interviews and documents. The London journalist gained access to several Utah groups and also reports on key figures who have campaigned for and against polygamy.
Cult Insanity, Irene Spencer, Center Street, 2009. This book is the sequel to Shattered Dreams. Spencer again writes a personal narrative of living in polygamy in the LeBaron’s Church of the Firstborn, where Blood Atonement is exacted on those deemed as enemies.
For those wishing to explore polygamy as it is lived and as it impacts those living in fundamentalist Islam, I recommend the following books by Ayaan Hirsi Ali:
Though fictional, these last two books deserve mention due to the quality and style of writing as well as the “true to life” nature of the stories:
Andrea Moore-Emmett is the author of God’s Brothel, The Extortion of Sex For Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped. She is the author of several articles covering polygamy for various national magazines and was the researcher for the A&E documentary, Inside Polygamy, which also aired on the BBC. As a journalist, she has been the recipient of five awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Utah Headliners Chapter, including the Don Baker investigative Journalism Award. She was also awarded a Women in Communications Leading Changes Award and the Leadership Council on Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma 2008 Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence in Journalism. Moore-Emmett served as Utah NOW President, a Salt Lake City Mayor’s commission and as an advisor to Tapestry Against Polygamy. She has a BA in Sociology.