Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

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9780385509510: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this “divinely inspired” crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest-growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

Krakauer takes readers inside isolated communities in the American West, Canada, and Mexico, where some forty-thousand Mormon Fundamentalists believe the mainstream Mormon Church went unforgivably astray when it renounced polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the leaders of these outlaw sects are zealots who answer only to God. Marrying prodigiously and with virtual impunity (the leader of the largest fundamentalist church took seventy-five “plural wives,” several of whom were wed to him when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties), fundamentalist prophets exercise absolute control over the lives of their followers, and preach that any day now the world will be swept clean in a hurricane of fire, sparing only their most obedient adherents.

Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism’s violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism. The result is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Under the Banner of Heaven is a riveting read. The Lafferty boys were brought up in a squeaky clean All-American family. So what made two of them follow revelations from God to slit the throat of their ex-beauty queen sister-in-law and her infant daughter? The problem was that they got involved in the fundamentalist, survivalist wing of the Mormon Church.

Author Jon Krakauer expertly jumps from the immediate horror of the Lafferty boys to the context of Mormonism and the wider questions of religious violence. In the process we are taken on a house of horrors ride through the badlands of fundamentalist Mormon religion. Krakauer introduces us to red necks with more than 30 "wives"--many who were "married" in their early teens. It's a story of fraud, child abuse, incest, physical violence and spiritual and emotional rape at a deep level.

The contemporary story is lurid and shocking, but as Krakauer relates the picaresque story of Joseph Smith--the founder of the Mormon religion--you realise that present day fundamentalist Mormons are far closer to their founder in spirit and behaviour than the more squeaky clean manifestations of modern Mormonism. This well researched and tightly written account gives a great potted history of Mormonism and illuminates the psychotic fringes of religious mentality. In doing so it reveals the wild dangers of spiritual free wheeling and the need for caution and restraint in religion. --Dwight Longenecker

Review:

"Fantastic. . . . Right up there with In Cold Blood and The Executioner's Song.""" --"San Francisco Chronicle
""Powerfully illuminating. . . . Almost every section of the book is fascinating in its own right, and together the chapters make a rich picture. . . . An arresting portrait of depravity." --"The New York Times Book Review"
"This year's most audacious work of nonfiction. . . . A white-knuckle mix of true-crime reporting and provocative history." --"New York Post
""Scrupulously reported and written with Krakauer's usual exacting flair, Under the Banner of Heaven is both illuminating and thrilling. It is also the creepiest book anyone has written in a long time--and that's meant as the highest possible praise." --"Newsweek
""Krakauer writes with almost astonishing narrative force. It is hard to stop reading." --"The Baltimore Sun
""Stunningly researched. . . . Elegant reportage. . . . An evenhanded inquiry into the nature of religious belief itself." --"Newsday
""Captivating. . . . Fascinating and appalling. . . . [Krakauer] should be applauded--and read." --"The San Diego Union-Tribune
""A great book. . . . Krakauer has found a fascinating story in plain sight, right in the heart of the American West, and told it with the narrative drive and unflinching honesty that marked his 1998 best seller, "Into Thin Air."" --"The Oregonian
""Jon Krakauer is at his provocative best." --"The New Orleans Times-Picayune
""A fascinating page-turner. . . . Engrossing. . . . Krakauer's knack for crackling narrative and taut focus . . . drives this thought-provoking story." --"The Columbus Dispatch
""A hair-raising true-crimer." --"Chicago Sun-Times
""Terrifying. . . . Startling. . . . Mov[es] deftly between past and present [and] provides a fascinating glimpse of the church today." --"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
""A powerful portrait of how two seemingly ordinary Americans became murderers." --"The Economist
""Illuminating . . . provocative. . . . Krakauer is an adept chronicler of extremists [and] the tour guide of choice for secular quests." --"Los Angeles Times Book Review
""Marvelous. . . . A departure from Into Thin Air""and Into the Wild . . . but every bit as engrossing." --"Entertainment Weekly
""Well-researched and evenhanded. . . . Thought-provoking." --"USA Today
""Startling. . . . Timely. . . . Krakauer uncovers a ghastly trail of forced marriage, polygamy, violence and mind control. . . . A chilling look at Mormon fundamentalism." --"The Charlotte Observer
""Horrific, gripping. . . . Soberly written and courageously reported." --"Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
""Engrossing. . . . Incisive. . . . [Krakauer is] a very careful reporter. . . . His clear-headed, unbiased examination of the church--leavened with genuine respect--and his conclusions . . . are hard to argue with." --"Boulder Daily Camera
""One hell of a chilling read." --"Maxim
""Compelling. . . . Provocative. . . . Illuminating. . . . A gripping tale." --"The Christian Science Monitor
""A disturbing picture of Mormon fundamentalists. . . . Krakauer's straightforward style and excellent storytelling ability make the book interesting." --"Rocky Mountain News
""A terrific read." --"Reader's Digest
""Riveting. . . . Intriguing. . . . Breezy, smooth and vigorously written, this ambitious book is entertaining and informative. . . . Krakauer reconstructs the Lafferty brothers' descent into fatal fanaticism magnificently, interweaving their story throughout the book and giving this wide-ranging work narrative coherence and emotional resonance. . . . [He is] a superb storyteller." --"The News & Observer
""A powerful look at how religious belief can cross the line into fanaticism." --"San Jose Mercury News
"

Fantastic. . . . Right up there with In Cold Blood and The Executioner s Song."" "San Francisco Chronicle
" Powerfully illuminating. . . . Almost every section of the book is fascinating in its own right, and together the chapters make a rich picture. . . . An arresting portrait of depravity. "The New York Times Book Review"
This year s most audacious work of nonfiction. . . . A white-knuckle mix of true-crime reporting and provocative history. "New York Post
" Scrupulously reported and written with Krakauer s usual exacting flair, Under the Banner of Heaven is both illuminating and thrilling. It is also the creepiest book anyone has written in a long time and that s meant as the highest possible praise. "Newsweek
" Krakauer writes with almost astonishing narrative force. It is hard to stop reading. "The Baltimore Sun
" Stunningly researched. . . . Elegant reportage. . . . An evenhanded inquiry into the nature of religious belief itself. "Newsday
" Captivating. . . . Fascinating and appalling. . . . [Krakauer] should be applauded and read. "The San Diego Union-Tribune
" A great book. . . . Krakauer has found a fascinating story in plain sight, right in the heart of the American West, and told it with the narrative drive and unflinching honesty that marked his 1998 best seller, "Into Thin Air." "The Oregonian
" Jon Krakauer is at his provocative best. "The New Orleans Times-Picayune
" A fascinating page-turner. . . . Engrossing. . . . Krakauer s knack for crackling narrative and taut focus . . . drives this thought-provoking story. "The Columbus Dispatch
" A hair-raising true-crimer. "Chicago Sun-Times
" Terrifying. . . . Startling. . . . Mov[es] deftly between past and present [and] provides a fascinating glimpse of the church today. "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
" A powerful portrait of how two seemingly ordinary Americans became murderers. "The Economist
" Illuminating . . . provocative. . . . Krakauer is an adept chronicler of extremists [and] the tour guide of choice for secular quests. "Los Angeles Times Book Review
" Marvelous. . . . A departure from Into Thin Air" "and Into the Wild . . . but every bit as engrossing. "Entertainment Weekly
" Well-researched and evenhanded. . . . Thought-provoking. "USA Today
" Startling. . . . Timely. . . . Krakauer uncovers a ghastly trail of forced marriage, polygamy, violence and mind control. . . . A chilling look at Mormon fundamentalism. "The Charlotte Observer
" Horrific, gripping. . . . Soberly written and courageously reported. "Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
" Engrossing. . . . Incisive. . . . [Krakauer is] a very careful reporter. . . . His clear-headed, unbiased examination of the church leavened with genuine respect and his conclusions . . . are hard to argue with. "Boulder Daily Camera
" One hell of a chilling read. "Maxim
" Compelling. . . . Provocative. . . . Illuminating. . . . A gripping tale. "The Christian Science Monitor
" A disturbing picture of Mormon fundamentalists. . . . Krakauer s straightforward style and excellent storytelling ability make the book interesting. "Rocky Mountain News
" A terrific read. "Reader s Digest
" Riveting. . . . Intriguing. . . . Breezy, smooth and vigorously written, this ambitious book is entertaining and informative. . . . Krakauer reconstructs the Lafferty brothers descent into fatal fanaticism magnificently, interweaving their story throughout the book and giving this wide-ranging work narrative coherence and emotional resonance. . . . [He is] a superb storyteller. "The News & Observer
" A powerful look at how religious belief can cross the line into fanaticism. "San Jose Mercury News
""

Fantastic. . . . Right up there with In Cold Blood and The Executioner s Song. San Francisco Chronicle
Powerfully illuminating. . . . Almost every section of the book is fascinating in its own right, and together the chapters make a rich picture. . . . An arresting portrait of depravity. The New York Times Book Review
This year s most audacious work of nonfiction. . . . A white-knuckle mix of true-crime reporting and provocative history. New York Post
Scrupulously reported and written with Krakauer s usual exacting flair, Under the Banner of Heaven is both illuminating and thrilling. It is also the creepiest book anyone has written in a long time and that s meant as the highest possible praise. Newsweek
Krakauer writes with almost astonishing narrative force. It is hard to stop reading. The Baltimore Sun
Stunningly researched. . . . Elegant reportage. . . . An evenhanded inquiry into the nature of religious belief itself. Newsday
Captivating. . . . Fascinating and appalling. . . . [Krakauer] should be applauded and read. The San Diego Union-Tribune
A great book. . . . Krakauer has found a fascinating story in plain sight, right in the heart of the American West, and told it with the narrative drive and unflinching honesty that marked his 1998 best seller, Into Thin Air. The Oregonian
Jon Krakauer is at his provocative best. The New Orleans Times-Picayune
A fascinating page-turner. . . . Engrossing. . . . Krakauer s knack for crackling narrative and taut focus . . . drives this thought-provoking story. The Columbus Dispatch
A hair-raising true-crimer. Chicago Sun-Times
Terrifying. . . . Startling. . . . Mov[es] deftly between past and present [and] provides a fascinating glimpse of the church today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A powerful portrait of how two seemingly ordinary Americans became murderers. The Economist
Illuminating . . . provocative. . . . Krakauer is an adept chronicler of extremists [and] the tour guide of choice for secular quests. Los Angeles Times Book Review
Marvelous. . . . A departure from Into Thin Air and Into the Wild . . . but every bit as engrossing. Entertainment Weekly
Well-researched and evenhanded. . . . Thought-provoking. USA Today
Startling. . . . Timely. . . . Krakauer uncovers a ghastly trail of forced marriage, polygamy, violence and mind control. . . . A chilling look at Mormon fundamentalism. The Charlotte Observer
Horrific, gripping. . . . Soberly written and courageously reported. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
Engrossing. . . . Incisive. . . . [Krakauer is] a very careful reporter. . . . His clear-headed, unbiased examination of the church leavened with genuine respect and his conclusions . . . are hard to argue with. Boulder Daily Camera
One hell of a chilling read. Maxim
Compelling. . . . Provocative. . . . Illuminating. . . . A gripping tale. The Christian Science Monitor
A disturbing picture of Mormon fundamentalists. . . . Krakauer s straightforward style and excellent storytelling ability make the book interesting. Rocky Mountain News
A terrific read. Reader s Digest
Riveting. . . . Intriguing. . . . Breezy, smooth and vigorously written, this ambitious book is entertaining and informative. . . . Krakauer reconstructs the Lafferty brothers descent into fatal fanaticism magnificently, interweaving their story throughout the book and giving this wide-ranging work narrative coherence and emotional resonance. . . . [He is] a superb storyteller. The News & Observer
A powerful look at how religious belief can cross the line into fanaticism. San Jose Mercury News
"

"Fantastic. . . . Right up there with In Cold Blood and The Executioner's Song." --San Francisco Chronicle

"Powerfully illuminating. . . . Almost every section of the book is fascinating in its own right, and together the chapters make a rich picture. . . . An arresting portrait of depravity." --The New York Times Book Review

"This year's most audacious work of nonfiction. . . . A white-knuckle mix of true-crime reporting and provocative history." --New York Post

"Scrupulously reported and written with Krakauer's usual exacting flair, Under the Banner of Heaven is both illuminating and thrilling. It is also the creepiest book anyone has written in a long time--and that's meant as the highest possible praise." --Newsweek

"Krakauer writes with almost astonishing narrative force. It is hard to stop reading." --The Baltimore Sun

"Stunningly researched. . . . Elegant reportage. . . . An evenhanded inquiry into the nature of religious belief itself." --Newsday

"Captivating. . . . Fascinating and appalling. . . . [Krakauer] should be applauded--and read." --The San Diego Union-Tribune

"A great book. . . . Krakauer has found a fascinating story in plain sight, right in the heart of the American West, and told it with the narrative drive and unflinching honesty that marked his 1998 best seller, Into Thin Air." --The Oregonian

"Jon Krakauer is at his provocative best." --The New Orleans Times-Picayune

"A fascinating page-turner. . . . Engrossing. . . . Krakauer's knack for crackling narrative and taut focus . . . drives this thought-provoking story." --The Columbus Dispatch

"A hair-raising true-crimer." --Chicago Sun-Times

"Terrifying. . . . Startling. . . . Mov[es] deftly between past and present [and] provides a fascinating glimpse of the church today." --The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A powerful portrait of how two seemingly ordinary Americans became murderers." --The Economist

"Illuminating . . . provocative. . . . Krakauer is an adept chronicler of extremists [and] the tour guide of choice for secular quests." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Marvelous. . . . A departure from Into Thin Air and Into the Wild . . . but every bit as engrossing." --Entertainment Weekly

"Well-researched and evenhanded. . . . Thought-provoking." --USA Today

"Startling. . . . Timely. . . . Krakauer uncovers a ghastly trail of forced marriage, polygamy, violence and mind control. . . . A chilling look at Mormon fundamentalism." --The Charlotte Observer

"Horrific, gripping. . . . Soberly written and courageously reported." --Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"Engrossing. . . . Incisive. . . . [Krakauer is] a very careful reporter. . . . His clear-headed, unbiased examination of the church--leavened with genuine respect--and his conclusions . . . are hard to argue with." --Boulder Daily Camera

"One hell of a chilling read." --Maxim

"Compelling. . . . Provocative. . . . Illuminating. . . . A gripping tale." --The Christian Science Monitor

"A disturbing picture of Mormon fundamentalists. . . . Krakauer's straightforward style and excellent storytelling ability make the book interesting." --Rocky Mountain News

"A terrific read." --Reader's Digest

"Riveting. . . . Intriguing. . . . Breezy, smooth and vigorously written, this ambitious book is entertaining and informative. . . . Krakauer reconstructs the Lafferty brothers' descent into fatal fanaticism magnificently, interweaving their story throughout the book and giving this wide-ranging work narrative coherence and emotional resonance. . . . [He is] a superb storyteller." --The News & Observer

"A powerful look at how religious belief can cross the line into fanaticism." --San Jose Mercury News

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