Knowing nothing about the Mormon religion, I found the historical account interesting but there were so many characters it was hard to follow.
The abridged version may be the reason for the reason it was hard to follow as it jumped around. It was informative in the history of the Latter Day Saints, but frightening regarding the extreme philosophies of some of the radical members and sects. I work in Utah, and polygamy is not uncommon. As a woman, I learned to use more caution after reading this book.
I read "Into the Wild" and "Into Thin Air" - really liked the first, the latter was ok. "Under the Banner of Heaven" was a disappointment. Instead of discussing the crime, the book is really about Mormon history. It was so dry that I stopped listening after 2 discs. If you're looking for a book on Mormon history, this is a good book. If you like true crime stories (that's what I thought this was), then this isn't the story for you.
What a great listen. I learned, I was scared, and I wanted to know more. You should have a lot to learn from this book if you believe in a loving god.
I liked this book. Krakauer weaves the current timeline of recent events of the Lafferty killings, the Elizabeth Smart case and polygamist fundamentalist sects with a historical perspective of the LDS church. He attempts to show the motivations of religious fundamentalism and what grievous acts people will committ in the name of god.
Some people who are LDS members may be upset with some of Krakauer's historical accounts, especially regarding polygamy. I do not think Krakauer does this to attack LDS members, but to attempt to show the source of these fundamentalists' beliefs.
It is a great book and should receive a higher score, but some people have some moral problems with the book and are very harsh. I have read all of Krakauer's books and trust that he put a good amount of research forward.
The publisher says this is a book about Mormon fundamentalists. Mormons have not practiced polygamy since the 1800's. The people are not Mormons! They are groups totalyy unrelated to the LDS church.
Incredible amount of facts and reported unemotionally. Krakauer did his homework although I am sure religious zealots will try to downplay the role of religion (any religion) in unpleasant events. Any kind of religious bashing is nixed unless it is bashing Islam. I think Krakauer's book is thought-provoking and well done! Bravo.
I think that Mr. Krakauer has over-extending himself on this one, doing only cursory research from the most biased and subjective sources, obviously hoping to drum up an interesting novel, but not necessarily an accurate depiction of the facts. Just as we saw after "Into Thin Air" came out (where Jon's portrayal of the story was criticized by those who knew the facts) this book is so lop-sided and full of historical conjecture that it is a shame to see it placed in the "Non-fiction" section. (In the paper text there are suspiciously few source materials referenced.) In addition, the fundamental premise that authoritative religion has caused submissiveness and thus led to horrible acts such as murders clashes with:
1. The main story of the book about the Lafferty brothers. Brenda Lafferty was clearly thinking for herself and standing up to the fundamentalist fanatics in her family, contrary to the author's depiction of most LDS members.
2. The most fundamental Christian teachings of the LDS church to love one another, not kill, not steal, etc.
Using historical anomalies and fundamentalist heretics is no way to depict a specific religion, or a religion in general. Once again, Jon Krakauer is twisting the facts and making a profit at the expense of others. Does that sound like someone qualified to be writing about religion?