Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy

Sanjiv Bhattacharya. Counterpoint/Soft Skull, $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-59376-408-1
Veteran journalist Bhattacharya builds upon his Marie Claire article and Chanel 4 documentary, The Man With 80 Wives, to arrive at a book-length investigation of polygamy that is as much about this fringe community as it is about Bhattacharya's efforts to get them to talk to him. From his telling beginning, a quote from Bob Dylan, Bhattacharya is amusingly off and running, and readers will want to follow his punchy magazine-trained voice wherever it may lead; "dating is verboten in Centennial Park. Only God decides who hooks up with whom." His access into polygamist compounds is impressive, and the subjects that accept him into their home are given ample room to make the case for or against the practice. Ultimately the author finds polygamists to admire, polygamists who are amusing "nutjobs," and polygamists who are utterly terrifying. He inserts himself into the narrative from page one, often voicing the skepticism he expects of most readers ("I believe that the title of this book has already pissed off several million people."). As the story unfolds, focus shifts more inward, and Bhattacharya examines his own spirituality in a move that feels less like a tangent than his obvious, if unexpected, destination. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2011
Release date: 06/01/2011
Ebook - 401 pages - 978-1-59376-574-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-59376-453-1
Paperback - 379 pages - 978-1-59376-521-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5226-0862-2
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