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Escape

 

Escape

Escape, Carolyn Jessop

Rating: ★★★★★ 

I read Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven a few years ago and was absolutely dumbstruck by the existence and far-reaching control of a cult like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) inside the United States borders.  Krakauer’s book was a great read; but Krakauer’s an outsider, Escape is the harrowing tale of one of the few women who have escaped from inside the FLDS and remained outside the cult, able to share the tale.  Jessop begins her story as a child in a polygamist family in Colorado City, a small town straddling the Arizona Utah border.  At a young age she’s forced into an arranged marriage as wife number three (or four, I can’t quite remember…) to one of the most powerful men in the FLDS.  She spent more than a decade in a life of servitude, forced to do without proper medical care and enduring some jaw-dropping physical and sexual abuse, until finally fleeing the cult with her eight children and authoring this book.

Jessop’s story gained national attention in 2008 with the raid of the FLDS YFZ Ranch in Texas, during which more than 500 women and children were removed from the compound and placed into state custody.  The raid followed the 2006 arrest of the FLDS leader and prophet, Warren Jeffs, who is discussed at length in the book and who eventually made it on to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.  Following the publication of the book Jessop appeared on NBC’s Today Show and was even called to testify to congress of her first-hand knowledge of the FLDS.  Really and amazing book, I couldn’t put it down.

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