Krakauer's UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN is interesting and well researched. His examination of the origins of the Mormon church were eye-opening as was his breakdown on the origin of the fundamentalist sect of the LDS church.
I am not a Mormon but one flaw I found here was a disturbingly anti-religious bias on the part of the author. Although he claims toward the end to be fascinated by the "culture" and "faith" of Mormons and other religious folks, it comes off as a bit disingenuous after many statements throughout the book which belittle people of faith or cast all people of faith in the same light.
Again, I'm not a Mormon and my personal opinion of Mormonism is not entirely favorable from a theological point of view; however, I am a person of faith myself and hate to see any group of people painted with the same broad brush.
Yes, the murders detailed in this book are deeply disturbing and some of the history of the LDS church past and present gives one the impression that it's a bit cultic in nature. But to say all Mormons are exactly alike, that they're all just like the two murderers in this book, is patently unfair to mainstream Mormons. To go further and suggest that ALL people of ANY faith are equally corrupt, as he does suggest in more than one spot, is even less fair-minded and betrays the author's admitted agnostic bias; that bias makes the book as a whole a bit suspect.
That said, there's a lot of good information and a fascinating "read/listen" to be had. Just go in knowing the author's bias and you'll be fine.
I've been a fan of Bernie Goldberg from his news days, but especially since he broke the code of silence about bias in network news. Liberal or conservative, there isn't a person on this list that didn't need the scolding he dished out.
I only recently discovered Dekker. Was looking for a new source of Christian thrillers, now that LEFT BEHIND has wrapped up, and a friend insisted Dekker's THR3E was great. I liked that so when BLACK became available, I jumped on it. While quite different from THR3E, BLACK is satisfying and Dekker's becoming my new favorite author of Christian thrillers. It's nice that the spritual aspects, so far, are allegorical and not blatent sermons. LEFT BEHIND started out good in that respect, but the last few volumes were fairly sermon-filled. I find myself, like Thomas Hunter, getting enthralled by both his worlds, a neat narrative trick to pull off. I just got the second book, RED, and I hope Audible adds WHITE in by November, when I'll be done listening through RED...
Jennifer Government was an entertaining listen, though a bit predictable at times. The slant contributed to the predictibility; corporations bad, NRA bad, etc... Not that there's anything terrible about that, but it'd be more interesting to see an unexpected target as "the villain" in a satire like this for a change. But within the scope of what it tries to be, Jennifer Government is fun... but not as funny as I had hoped.
A book like this is fascinating, but I learned my lesson with previous purchases: wait for the unabridged edition!
The topic -- playing off the concept of school shootings, the most disturbing of which was, naturally, Columbine -- was what caught me, but kind of in the way one gets their attention grabbed by a car wreck; you know maybe you shouldn't be looking, but you can't help but look.
This book's topic is a bit like that, but fortunately the novel inside is pretty darn good. For me, the most likeable character was Cheryl Anway, the easiest to like, naturally. From there, the novel is a bit uneven; the sections dedicated to each of the four leads are unequal in length, which is troublesome in that some characters feel more two-dimensional as a result, most notably in the last part.
I did appreciate the way the whole truth of circumstances involved only become clear after reading the whole book; it's a time-honored trick but nicely pulled off here. Well done, overall.
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