In their book Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding, authors Brian and Laura Hales provide readers with a concise history of Joseph Smith’s practice of plural matrimony. At only 175 pages in length, excluding endnotes and the index, the Hales’ work will be both easy to read and informative for the general public. Despite the book’s brevity, it is detailed enough to address, or touch on, the full range of controversies associated with this topic. This book is a welcomed condensation of Brian Hales’s massive 2013 Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, which is a three-volume set on the same topic.
As in that earlier three-volume set, the authors continue to write from a perspective of faith, as believers in the divine mission given to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The authors, who have exhaustively studied this subject, acknowledge that they are not absolutely “bias-free,” and they openly affirm their unequivocal witness that Joseph Smith was “a virtuous man and a true prophet of the living God” (xvii).