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Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy Paperback – June 7, 2011
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"Many of us recognize the stock images of polygamy: the child brides from isolated compounds, like the Yearning for Zion ranch, and the suburban homemakers on television, yearning for their husbands. In Secrets and Wives: The Secret World of Mormon Polygamy, British journalist Sanjiv Bhattacharya pushes past these caricatures to show what Mormon polygamists are really like." Slate
"Though fundamentalist Mormon polygamy is portrayed in a benign light on TV (e.g., Big Love), the reality is for the most part much grimmer . . . This is a riveting read for both Bhattacharya’s wry and heartfelt style and the nature of the material." LIbrary Journal
Praise for The Man with 80 Wives
Sanjiv Bhattacharya, a likable reporter who smoothed over rebuffs (there were many) with charm, tracked [Warren Jeff’s] trail of destruction from Canada to Texas . . . Sanjiv seemed worried Warren might kill himself and his followers. He is, as I said, a nice young man.” The Guardian (U.K.)
A compelling portrait of a sex-obsessed, racist false prophet . . . [Sanjiv] has a nice manner for a documentary TV interrogator . . . slightly bumbling, ingenuous, soft-spoken, wide-eyed, innately self-critical.” The Sunday Herald (Scotland)
About the Author
Sanjiv Bhattacharya has written for Details, Los Angeles Times Magazine, and Maxim. He has appeared as an expert on polygamy, discussing his Channel Four documentary, The Man with 80 Wives, on MSNBC Live, Montel Williams, and elsewhere. He lives in Connecticut.
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I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to really understand mormon polygamy. Even though I've been around this culture my entire life, I still couldn't put the book down!! I always dreamed of writing a book about my perspective and experiences with mormon polygamy. Sanjiv has done it for me, and may I say, BRILLIANLY!!! I can not thank him enough!
He begins the book by visiting the mainstream LDS enclave in Salt Lake City. He delves into their history, concentrating much effort on how Joseph Smith established Mormonism. It seems incredible to me that people actually bought into Joseph Smith's stories. The author brings out the policies the church had towards women and African Americans. He uncovers some history that the Mormons would rather be kept hidden away. All this makes sense. How can we hope to understand the off-shoot cults if we don't understand the LDS church.
The author then begins digging into the particulars of several of the diverse Mormon cults. It turns out that whether they are the oddly dressed FLDS or the modern, can't tell by looking at them groups, they are all oppressive to women and children. Most of them revolve around a prophet who is corrupt and controlling. Patterns began to emerge showing what kind of people are drawn into these cults--women with low self esteem, people with a need to belong.
Despite the often depressing subject matter the author has a wonderful wit about him. His humor is often self deprecating. I know it sounds strange to think that a book on this topic could also be funny, but trust me, it works. I enjoyed his writing style a lot, and will watch for other books that I hope he will write.
I think a reader interested in the topic will still do well to read a couple of books by some of the wives, but I do recommend this book as well. It would have been nice to have some pictures, but it is understandable that these mistrustful people weren't posing for pictures.
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