Brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty insist they were commanded to kill by God. Krakauer's investigation is a meticulously researched, bone-chilling narrative of polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith: an incisive, gripping work of non-fiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behaviour. 'A provocative look at the twisted ...
Brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty insist they were commanded to kill by God. Krakauer's investigation is a meticulously researched, bone-chilling narrative of polygamy, savage violence and unyielding faith: an incisive, gripping work of non-fiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behaviour. 'A provocative look at the twisted roots of American fundamentalism' Will Self, Evening Standard Books of the Year 'Excellent ...a lucid, judicious, even sympathetic account not just of Mormon Fundamentalism but of the seductive power of fanaticism in general' Daily Telegraph 'Krakauer writes exceptionally well: as thrilling as Capote on true crime, as devastating as Nietzsche on religious fundamentalism' Scotland on Sunday 'Remarkable ...for anyone interested in the wilder frontiers of spiritual conviction, this book is a must' Independent 'Krakauer is an adept chronicler of extremists, and he's as intent on understanding religious fanatics as he was in his earlier books on exploring the obsessions of monomaniacal adventurers' Los Angeles Times
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Under the Banner of Heaven is an excellent book; easy to read; a real page turner. It is written by a journalist and covers major stories in the history of the Mormon church.
Jan 28, 2010
Don't read this book if you're looking for an objective view of Mormonism, but if you wish to learn about the extremist, fundamentalist branch, denounced by the mainstream, a group known as the FLDS, and their horrendous practice of polygamous marraiges to very underage girls, it's certainly an eye-opener.
Apr 24, 2008
This is an incisive look into the fundalmentalist mormon culture. I assume it was used to a great extent by HBO in the making of its series Big Love. Anyone wanting a better understanding of what is going on in El Dorado Texas should read it.
Jun 24, 2007
A Real Thriller
John Krakauer is, I think, one of the very best storytellers of our time! In this book, he takes history and factual current events, and turns them into a spine-tingling thriller. He is concise, with an intelligent and interest-holding way with words, and brings the reader into the very heart of the subject he is writing about. I simply could not put this book down, although in the beginning, I picked it up more from a sense of duty to be informed, rather than expecting to be "entertained" by reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, religion, the American past, or to anyone just plain wanting a "good read"!
Jun 10, 2007
Powerful as the 48 hour mystery TV series!
I was somewhat reserved in choosing to read this book at first, but at the time there was so much news going on (being televised) about Mormon Fundementalism and polygamy that I had to grab it. By covering a savage murder orchestrated by two brothers along with intertwining the profound yet evolving history of the Mormon religion kept me interested throughout the entire book. The author does a fantastic job in covering the foundations of early Mormonism along with disecting from it the extreme side of the religion being the fundementalist side where the murderers from this story evolve. I have read "Into Thin Air" by the same author which i enjoyed but not as much as this book. I recommmend it strongly to anyone whom wants a taste of what impast Mormonism has had in the past and what it deals with in the future as well.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-06-30 Using as a focal point the chilling story of offshoot Mormon fundamentalist brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty, who in 1984 brutally butchered their sister-in-law and 15-month-old niece in the name of a divine revelation, Krakauer explores what he sees as the nature of radical Mormon sects with Svengali-like leaders. Using mostly secondary historical texts and some contemporary primary sources, Krakauer compellingly details the history of the Mormon church from its early 19th-century creation by Joseph Smith (whom Krakauer describes as a convicted con man) to its violent journey from upstate New York to the Midwest and finally Utah, where, after the 1890 renunciation of the church's holy doctrine sanctioning multiple marriages, it transformed itself into one of the world's fastest-growing religions. Through interviews with family members and an unremorseful Dan Lafferty (who is currently serving a life sentence), Krakauer chronologically tracks what led to the double murder, from the brothers' theological misgivings about the Mormon church to starting their own fundamentalist sect that relies on their direct communications with God to guide their actions. According to Dan's chilling step-by-step account, when their new religion led to Ron's divorce and both men's excommunication from the Mormon church, the brothers followed divine revelations and sought to kill, starting with their sister-in-law, those who stood in the way of their new beliefs. Relying on his strong journalistic and storytelling skills, Krakauer peppers the book with an array of disturbing firsthand accounts and news stories (such as the recent kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart) of physical and sexual brutality, which he sees as an outgrowth of some fundamentalists' belief in polygamy and the notion that every male speaks to God and can do God's bidding. While Krakauer demonstrates that most nonfundamentalist Mormons are community oriented, industrious and law-abiding, he poses some striking questions about the closed-minded, closed-door policies of the religion-and many religions in general. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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