A riveting memoir of a brutal upbringing

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Escape from Eden

Educated. By Tara Westover. Random House; 385 pages; $28. Hutchinson; £14.99.

IN A lecture during her first semester at Brigham Young University, a Mormon college in Utah, Tara Westover encountered an unfamiliar term. “I don’t know this word,” she told her professor. “What does it mean?” He snapped at her angrily—but Ms Westover was not making a tasteless joke. She had never been taught about the Holocaust. Nor had she learned about the civil-rights movement, or physics or any geography beyond the mountains and valleys that surrounded her family home in rural Idaho. That semester was the first time she had ever set foot in a proper classroom. She was 17.

Ms Westover was the youngest of seven children raised by Mormon survivalists in a town of 234 people. Like her siblings, she was kept out of school, which her father regarded as “a ploy by the government to lead children away from…Continue reading

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