Dr. Tara Westover

Westover’s memoir of life in an isolated, paranoid Mormon household is gripping, grim and terribly sad. Her bipolar father believes the End Times are near and they spend countless hours prepping. He also distrusts the government, the schools, doctors, safety gear and seat belts. His family pays …

EscapeCarolyn Jessop

This true and grimly gripping biography pulls you in and grabs your imagination. To the average, educated midwesterner this story of polygamy, abuse and life in a totally insular religious community sounds like soap opera madness. But Jessop both lived it and survived it. As her community slid …

Hella Winston

unchosenI LOVE books on insular, orthodox religious groups. No idea why. They just fascinate me – Amish, Hutterite, Hasidim, Mormons. Why? Perhaps, as Winston points out in her introduction, we are both fascinated and revolted by the idea of living in such a close-knit, rule-ridden community because of …

leaving-the-saintsMartha Beck

I’m not sure really what to classify this book as. After deciding to have a Downs Syndrome baby, Beck describes her decision to leave grad school and Harvard to return to her hometown of Provo Utah and her Mormon family. Through a winding path she describes the friendliness …

Under the Banner of HeavenJon Krakauer

Krakauer has fast become one of my favorite non-fiction/journalistic writers. A writer for various travel magazines, Krakauer has turned a number of his articles into full size books. Under the Banner of Heaven follows the trial of Ron and Don Lafferty, two Mormon brothers who believed God had …