The best books about polygamy

3 authors have picked their favorite books about polygamy and why they recommend each book. Soon, you will be able to filter this list by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books.

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Book cover of The Scent of Rain

The Scent of Rain

By Anne Montgomery,

Why this book?

This book was so hard for me to put down. I was caught up in the many twists and turns, and wanted to know how this young girl would escape. This story not only looks at the horrors of modern-day polygamist cults but also the challenges of the foster care system. I was swept up and cheering her on as she escaped into the treacherous terrain of the Arizona desert. With Montgomery’s vivid descriptions, I could feel the heat and the struggles these young people faced while trying to escape. This book is beautifully written and had me connected to…
From the list:

The best novels about escaping polygamist cults

Book cover of Silver Sparrow

Silver Sparrow

By Tayari Jones,

Why this book?

I have to tip-toe around descriptions of this book as they are hard to give without spoilers, but that’s a testament to how good it is and how amazing it is to read. The twist and turns across the lives of two young girls in Atlanta, Dana Lynn and Chaurisse, only get more winding as they age with (drumroll) the same father who just happens to be married to both their different mothers. You’re in for a ride as the story progresses with readers knowing the secret some characters know, some don’t and some will find out. Filled with humor…

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Book cover of Riders of the Purple Sage

Riders of the Purple Sage

By Zane Grey,

Why this book?

Here is a great classic taking us back in time to southern Utah and the early ranches and Mormon settlements. I love Grey’s perspective on the history of this region. Here, horses are king, and those that ride them are their worshippers. Hero Lassiter falls in love with the lovely, independent ranch owner, Jane Withersteen, who is being stalked by wife-hunting Mormons. But the most compelling part for me is Vetner’s (a second male protagonist) discovery of the hidden redoubt he names Surprise Valley, a forgotten home of ancient cliff dwellers, and described by Grey with all the amygdala-rousing prose…

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The best books in southwest mystery fiction with a touch of paranormal and Native American mysticism

Book cover of Polygamy: An Early American History

Polygamy: An Early American History

By Sarah M. S. Pearsall,

Why this book?

Pearsall’s book is the sort that leaves a reader entertained, deeply informed, and unable to see the past the same way again. Polygamy, she shows, was at the center of the social and political systems of many Indigenous nations. As European soldiers and settlers attempted to trade with—or dominate—the people of these nations, they provoked violent reprisals. Opposition to monogamy drove Indigenous resistance movements. Europeans increasingly argued that their monogamous practices made them racially and religiously superior to the people they subordinated. The centrality of metaphors about monogamy and polygamy to American revolutionary political ideas is one of the book’s…

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Book cover of Women Shall Not Rule: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Han to Liao

Women Shall Not Rule: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Han to Liao

By Keith McMahon,

Why this book?

Imperial China provides an incredible case study for queenship and the agency of royal women. Keith McMahon’s two volumes, Women Shall Not Rule and the follow-on Celestial Women: Imperial Wives and Concubines in China from Song to Qing are the ideal introductions to the lives and roles of women in Imperial China. You won’t need a background in queenship studies or an understanding of Asian history to enjoy this book and absorb both the anecdotes of the intriguing women featured and the key arguments that McMahon makes on how the position of royal women shifted over individual reigns as well…

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Book cover of Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride, and Breaking Free of Warren Jeffs

By Elissa Wall,

Why this book?

I found Wall’s first-hand account of what life is like inside a polygamist cult to be both revealing and tragic. The book is nonfiction but reads like a novel. I loved how the pages were full of descriptive passages that gave me an insider’s view of what these young girls are taught and must face as child brides. It helped me see that what began decades before is still happening under a cloak of secrecy. I found this book revealing and disturbing, and one I couldn’t put down.
From the list:

The best novels about escaping polygamist cults

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