All the King’s Horses and All the King’s Men: Love, Alienation and “Reconciliation” in a Big, BIG Mormon Family recounts the horrors of life in a family of fourteen and a childhood worthy of the title “Irish Catholic” but in this case “American Mormon.” For the author, the oldest born to Clyde Sr. and Virginia, had it not been for the extreme emotional and physical abuse he suffered, he might not quibble–the housework and childcare truly necessary evils. Two questions drive him out of the house and into the arms of academe. Why so many children? And who ́s to blame? His parents? Their patriarchal church? Ironically, he makes his escape about the same time his poor mother makes hers, chosing life on the streets over living with Clyde Sr. Spending the next fifteen or so years in and out of mental hospitals (in search of answers?), she will eventually come home to roost–to the shock and dismay of her older children at least, Clyde Jr. in particular. Gone is the fire in her belly. Thankfully, gone are most but not all of her children. Plans to re-marry secretly–with the assistance of church officials–will be averted only when the older children (who remember what “it” was like and fear for the two or three still at home) lodge a formal complaint. Clyde Sr. and Virginia will be indicted in a church court for “un-Christian-like conduct”–though no ruling is handed down. The end of the beginning or the beginning of the end? in fact it will be a little of both for the family in any event. And although the Mormon faith should not be blamed for the abuse–that honour going to mental illness–a demonstration of true moral courage and vision was not forthcoming and is perhaps telling.