While a considerable corpus of works on plural marriage already exists, the number continues to multiply. The three works under review, each detailing the life of a polygamist or plural wife, reveal the diversity of experience in plural marriage, a diversity that partly explains the continuing fascination with the subject.
In general, works about polygamy deal with its most dramatic and problematic periods—its controversial origins in Nauvoo or its demise at the end of the nineteenth century, entailing flights from U.S. marshals life, on the underground, time in prison, and secrecy. These three books concern the latter period.
To be sure, the period has been covered elsewhere, including B. Carmon Hardy's recent Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage.1 Some primary documents from the period passaged have also been published, such as the oft-quoted autobiography of Annie Clark Tanner.2 The edited journals, memoirs, and letters being reviewed are significant additions to the body of published primary works.
Two of the books portray the experiences of plural wives, while the third describes prison life for a polygamist. That the three books be reviewed together is fitting, not only because the subjects of these books were contemporaries, but also because their lives intersected. The two plural wives, Ida Udall and Catharine Romney, fled together from St. Johns, Arizona, to hide from U.S. marshals, and later Rudger Clawson took a daughter of Ida's husband, David Udall, as a plural wife.
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