When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back
Stephen Singular, . . St. Martin's, $24.95 (294pp) ISBN 978-0-312-37248-4
This ripped-from-the-headlines exposé uncovers the rise and fall of polygamist Warren Jeffs, former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Based on interviews with ex-members, newspaper stories and trial records, it provides a raw and bracing account of Jeffs's sex crimes and fugitive years. Unfortunately, Singular's account is not burdened by nuance or significant attention to history or theology, ignoring important prior research on Mormon fundamentalism and painting all polygamists with the same broad brush. Some of this could be forgiven if Singular's lapses in understanding Mormon fundamentalism were not exacerbated by his frequent tactic of comparing the FLDS to Islamic extremists, which evokes the intended fear response but remains tenuous. However, the book's second half, which hews closely to the chronology of Jeffs's flight from the law and the individuals who helped to bring him to justice, is more balanced than the first. Singular is a strong writer who uses pacing, dialogue and drama to good effect. Readers will find this a troubling and fascinating, if careless, account.
Reviewed on: 03/24/2008
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-5788-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-312-56499-5