Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

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Synopsis

Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. He now shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders, taking readers inside isolated American communities where some 40,000 Mormon Fundamentalists still practice polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these Taliban-like theocracies are zealots who answer only to God.

At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, 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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Jon Krakauer

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Jon Krakauer is a part-time mountaineer and a full-time writer. He is a contributing editor at Outside magazine and writes for many national magazines and newspapers. He lives in Seattle, Washington. "From the Paperback edition.
 
Published June 8, 2004 by Anchor. 432 pages
Genres: History, Religion & Spirituality, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Under the Banner of Heaven

Kirkus Reviews

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Fundamentalist Mormons differ from mainstream Latter-day Saints in many ways, but their practice of polygamy, notions of blood atonement (revenge), and belief in the importance of personal revelation—their listening to that “still small voice” of God, once a hallmark of Joseph Smith’s religion, u...

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BC Books

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In John Krakauer's latest book he looks at one of the fastest growing religions in the world.

Jan 06 2004 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

BC Books

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A true page-turner full of sex, murder and Mormons

Jul 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

BC Books

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And when Smith said that the angel had taken the golden plates and magic eyeglasses back, but he, Joseph Smith, would tell them what had been written there, people still believed him.

Jul 06 2009 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

BC Books

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As his primary case study, he examines brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, former members of mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who left the church to join a fundamentalist LDS sect.

Jan 06 2004 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

Entertainment Weekly

On a July afternoon in 1984, Dan and Ron Lafferty, members of a tiny Mormon fundamentalist sect, appeared at the door of their sister-in-law's American Fork, Utah, duplex, forced their way in, beat her, and slit her throat with a 10-inch boning knife.

Aug 01 2003 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

About.com

In his author’s note at the end of “Under the Banner of Heaven,” Jon Krakauer confesses that the book he wrote was not the book he intended to write;

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About.com

Although Krakauer spends quite a bit of time describing particular violent incidents in Mormon history, he does not really demonstrate that Mormon history is uniquely or even particularly violent, only that its history is more recent and more well-documented than that of many other religions.

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Patheos

This is the true subject of Krakauer’s book: its narrative wanders from the central story of the mentally disturbed Lafferty brothers, for whom the twilight religion of Mormon fundamentalism became fuel for violent insanity, into the nooks and crannies of Mormon history more generally and, at the...

Jun 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

Daily Kos

She departs from Dad's work , which gives a little initial stiffness - probably more in my eyes than her key-fingers.Excuse me - he's my favorite novelist these last few years , and i get carried away.

Feb 13 2008 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

Business Insider

But Krakauer's book also tells the story of Mormonism in general, with several chapters devoted to the founding of the religion, the "exodus" that took the early Mormons west, the current church, and one of the favorite Mormon topics of non-Mormons, polygamy (more on this soon, I promise).

Jul 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

News Review.

Focused on splinter sects of the Church of Latter-day Saints, his new book is about the murder of a mother and child by some of one group’s most extreme adherents.

Aug 21 2003 | Read Full Review of Under the Banner of Heaven

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Michael Manley 19 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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