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Kidnapped from that Land
The Government Raids on the Short Creek Polygamists
Martha Sonntag Bradley
In the early morning hours of July 26, 1953, several hundred Arizona state officials and police officers moved into the polygamist community of Short Creek, Arizona, to serve warrants on thirty-six men and eighty-six women. Officials staging the raid believed they were rescuing the community’s 263 children from a life of bondage and immorality.
Kidnapped from that Land is the first book to bring together the story of the 1953 raid and two previous raids in 1935 and 1944. Martha Bradley tells the story with insight and compassion for the families that were fragmented by the arrests. She also deals with the complex legal issues that persist in both Arizona and Utah, where the practice of polygamy is a felony that is no longer prosecuted.
Kidnapped from that Land will appeal to those interested in the study of Mormon history, of polygamy, and of western regional and American social history.
Martha Bradley is assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University.
Table of Contents:
1. Mormon Polygamy: A Historical Overview, 1830–1890
2. The Roots of Modern-Day Fundamentalism, 1896–1935
3. Short Creek: First Settlements, 1860–1935
4. The Search for Refuge and the First Raid, 1935
5. The Boyden Raid and Prosecutions, 1944–1950
6. The Aftermath of the 1944 Raid
7. The Women of Fundamentalism
8. Howard Pyle and the Raid of 1953
9. The "Capture" of Short Creek
10. The Legal Experience
11. Denouement: The Black Case, 1954
12. Short Creek in 1992
Appendix A. Fundamentalist Families Involved in the 1953 Raid
Appendix B. Statement by Arizona Governor Howard Pyle
Notes to Chapters
Praise and Reviews:
“With insight and compassion for the families that were fragmented by the arrests, Martha Bradley reveals the complex legal and religious issues surrounding the practice of polygamy. A masterpiece of scholarship and a ‘window in time’ upon one of the more curious and enduring subcultures in America.”
—Midwest Book Review
“A careful, humane observer and a sharp, resourceful writer and researcher, Bradley has carved out a chapter of our collective past that many will find disturbing.”
—The Salt Lake Tribune
“One of the most accurate…insightful and analytical study of the roots and complexities of modern-day fundamentalism. [A] splendid volume. The value of Bradley’s book is immeasurable. It illuminates a period of Mormon history largely misunderstood, and provides a heretofore unseen glimpse of yesterday and today’s fundamentalist polygamist culture.”
—The Journal of Arizona History
“Good writing and good scholarship combine to make an intelligent and engrossing book; Bradley here secures her reputation as a formidable scholar of some of the divergent paths of Mormonism.”
“This important and starkly relevant history addresses issues of religious freedom and politics as they relate to any denomination. Bradley brings to her subject fine research and a solid understanding of Mormon culture and social structures. She resists one-dimensional treatment of gender issues in polygamous family unions by providing insightful glimpses into the actual lives of a sincere community earnestly living not just religious tenets but a cultural consciousness.”
—Religious Studies Review
—Journal of Church and State
“A well-researched, ethnographically sensitive, and very readable book that invites further inquiry into Mormon fundamentalist communitarianism.”
“A serious student of Mormonism certainly will find the book interesting, as will anyone concerned with small, close-knit religious communities.”
—Utah Historical Quarterly
“A very good book indeed. The defining text in its field. It is a must read for anyone interested in alternative family structure and dissent.”
—Western Historical Quarterly