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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

by

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

ISBN13: 9781400032808
ISBN10: 1400032806
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"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

Review:

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

Review:

"[T]old with raw narrative force and tight focus....Krakauer lays the portent on beautifully, building his tales carefully from the ground up until they irresistibly, spookily combust." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"In collecting evidence, Mr. Krakauer ventures out to a lunatic fringe of polygamous self-appointed prophets....[T]his book provides more voyeuristic astonishment than curiosity or understanding." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

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

Review:

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

Review:

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

Review:

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

Review:

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

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 Americas fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

About the Author

Jon Krakauer is the author of Eiger Dreams, Into the Wild, and Into Thin Air and is editor of the Modern Library Exploration series.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Janet Harrison, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Janet Harrison)
Fascinating history of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints leading up to the Warren Jeffs scandal. In depth look at church founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, leading the pioneers from New York, through Missouri and Illinois, to Utah. The narration is intertwined with a detailed investigation of a murder plot involving members of the modern-day radical fundamentalist branches of the main church. Highly recommended!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Janet Harrison, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Janet Harrison)
Fascinating history of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints leading up to the Warren Jeffs scandal. In depth look at church founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, leading the pioneers from New York, through Missouri and Illinois, to Utah. The narration is intertwined with a detailed investigation of a murder plot involving members of the modern-day radical fundamentalist branches of the main church. Highly recommended!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Sierra Volk, September 24, 2011 (view all comments by Sierra Volk)
Every religion has its raw, burning core that simultaneously  inspires and terrifies its mainstream. (Zen Fundamentalists insist you must be two with everything.) 

"If Ron Lafferty is insane, it could be argued that so are most religious people. He believed he was receiving revelations from God, but revelation is a tenet of Mormonism. Despite carrying out horrible crimes, he felt he was doing the right thing, and was thus divorced from reality. But so is everyone who goes to war with a cross or a star or a crescent around their neck...."
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9781400032808
Author:
Krakauer, Jon
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to present)
Subject:
Mormon fundamentalism.
Subject:
Christianity - Mormonism
Subject:
Murder - General
Subject:
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Da
Subject:
United States - 20th Century (1945 to 2000)
Subject:
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saomts (
Subject:
Christianity - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (
Subject:
Murder
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20040631
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
3 MAPS
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
8 x 5.2 x .9 in .75 lb

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Religion » Christianity » Counterculture
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Religion » Christianity » Mormon » Controversial Literature
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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Anchor Books - English 9781400032808 Reviews:
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Well-researched and evenhanded....Thought-provoking."
"Review" by , "[T]old with raw narrative force and tight focus....Krakauer lays the portent on beautifully, building his tales carefully from the ground up until they irresistibly, spookily combust."
"Review" by , "In collecting evidence, Mr. Krakauer ventures out to a lunatic fringe of polygamous self-appointed prophets....[T]his book provides more voyeuristic astonishment than curiosity or understanding."
"Review" by , "Terrifying....Startling....Mov[es] deftly between past and present [and] provides a fascinating glimpse of the church today."
"Review" by , "Marvelous....A departure from Into Thin Air and Into the Wild...but every bit as engrossing."
"Review" by , "A fascinating page-turner....Engrossing....Krakauer's knack for crackling narrative and taut focus...drives this thought-provoking story."
"Review" by , "A powerful look at how religious belief can cross the line into fanaticism."
"Review" by , "A hair-raising true-crimer."
"Synopsis" by , 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 Americas fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

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