Tara Westover

Born in the mountains of Idaho to a father who opposed public education, Tara was never put in school. Now a bestselling author, Harvard Fellow and Cambridge PhD graduate, Tara Westover shares her moving story in 'Educated' and how she escaped from a life with her survivalist parents by pursuing higher education.

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Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.”

In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. Her father forbade hospitals, so Westover never saw a doctor or nurse.Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism.

The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Westover’s older brothers became violent.

Looking for an escape but lacking formal education, Westover began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement.

Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge, and this transformation changed how she saw and understood the violence at the heart of her family.

She returned home to confront that violence, and in doing so discovered that for her parents, loyalty meant keeping the family secrets, and in speaking out, she risked losing her place in her own family.

Westover’s powerful keynotes get to the heart of what education is: an instrument of self-creation. Educated, her moving coming-of-age memoir was released in early 2018 and was a #1 New York Times bestseller upon its debut.

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