Despite the fact that polygamy was declared illegal in 1890, there are an estimated 60,000 practicing polygamists in the United States, most of them living in the western states. In The Secret Story of Polygamy, author Kathy Tracy examines the current state of polygamy, revealing the shocking abuse of women that often comprises life in a polygamist family. Her investigation exposes a world where women are treated as breeders of children, and daughters are taught to become faithful servants to the man they marry, often at the age of 14 or 15. Some of the men have as many as 14 to 16 wives; and even when the family has wealth, the women frequently live impoverished lives in run-down homes or dwellings and are forced to claim independent status in order to collect welfare and food stamps. The revelations of The Secret Story of Polygamy are centered around a dramatic narrative of the story of the Kingston brothersa 1999 case in which a father in a polygamist clan pleaded no contest to beating his daughter until she was unconscious because she defied the mores of the clan; and in which the girls husband, her fathers brother, was convicted of incest. It is also the story of the young woman, Mary Ann Kingston, who had the courage at age 16 to come forward and expose her familys secret.