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.
©2003 Jon Krakauer; (P)2003 Books on Tape, Inc., Published by arrangement with Random House Audio Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Krakauer lays the portent on beautifully, building his tales carefully from the ground up until they irresistibly, spookily combust." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Krakauer presents details that indeed sound stranger than fiction." (The New York Times)
I've read Krakauer's other books and although this is not as good as Into the Wild, it is up to his standards. The foreground murder story is interesting, Krakauer reads it well and overall, I enjoyed it. Some of it was a bit hard to take but the history, especially of polygamy and the history of the Mormon Church was well done. If you're not interested in that, the abridged version might be better. But I liked the historical aspect. Krakauermay not have an agenda but he certainly has a bias; the book kind of outlines why.
I would be inclined to believe the author's assertion that he had no agenda behind writing about religion fueled violent behavior if it weren't for the over-zealous narration of Scott Brick. After stumbling on to works narrated by Brick, I now avoid purchasing anything narrated by him. Brick's affectations and eggaterated emphasis drive me to distraction and rob the book of any useful meaning.
This is an interesting read for anyone who is concerned about religious fundamentalism. This tells a story about the Mormon fundamentalist church which I think can be applied to other churches and severe doctrines. Well read, well documented - he explains the Mormon church, its various sects, and its development in a easy and clear manner.
Even with 162 sources, there are no cited documents from or interviews with any of the following highly credible, but mainstream, sources: Utah Historical Society, Arizona Historical Society, Univ of Utah, Utah State Univ, Southern Utah State Univ, Univ of Arizona, Arizona State Univ, and Northern Arizona Univ, all of which have history departments and experts on the history of the region. One would think Krakauer might have found something relevant from them. The two most complete sources for Mormon history would likely be Brigham Young University and the LDS Church history department. While Krakauer explains in the book that Mormons are prodigious record keepers, he fails to cite any references originating from either resource.
Unfortunately, Krakauer relies most heavily on three sources, as noted in the Author?s Remarks, the last chapter of the book. Since he was basing his entire hypothesis on these three books, Krakauer would have been wise to conduct deeper research into the credibility of these works. In fact, they have been widely discredited by mainstream historical organizations and independent professors and authors. While historically provocative, these three books Krakauer so heavily relies upon are simply not credible.
Sadly, Krakauer?s lack of skill in research methodology, his inability to document sources, and his propensity to utilize data that fits his premise while ignoring all other relevant data, demonstrate weaknesses which overshadow his literary talent. Krakauer should have focused this book on the Lafferty case and stopped there. But, he chose to delve into the psychology of the case, and the history driving the Laffertys? state of mind. Because of Krakauer?s limited skills noted above, the attempt simply doesn?t work.
The biggest tragedy of all is that Krakauer is a popular author, and his personal, distorted image of history will become accepted by many that simply do not have the knowledge to refute it.
If you want a breathtaking listen and learn about Mormonism at the same time, this is a good one. It is thrilling, well written and gives insight into the following that call themselves Mormons. I am always on the look-out for something new with depth and this book ranks high on my list of recent listens that gave me what I what I look for. Other reviews give the necessary details.
Krakauer can write a good yarn, even when he's reporting on fact instead of fiction. This is a chilling, informative, and maddening book that sheds light on Mormon fundamentalism as a way of understanding fundamentalism in a broader context. You will learn about the history of the Mormon religion, its founders, its secrets and its current paradoxes. Along the way the book paints the portrait of true "believers" who just can't seem to fit into the world... they end up dead, in jail, or in the desert, hiding from the rest of the world. The reader is crisp and equally remote/emotional when he needs to be. A great listen.
This is a interestingly written story
about Mormonism and the preceipts of the
faith. I found myself questioning the begings of most religions and the profits that
ussure in these faiths.
If you like human behavior, why people behave the way they do and the power of religion, this book is for you. Every chance I got, I listened.
No, because of Scott Brick
When Scott Brick shut up
only reading Nelson DeMille
Finally, a version without Scott Brick
I want to hear Jon Krakauer's work product without Scott Brick's incessant snarky and sarcastic undertones. Publishers please note, the man (Brick) is overworked and has no ability to change his style to suit the material
I think the biggest problem with this audiobook was the boring narrator's voice. I listen to a lot of audio and I've never been so bored as I was with this. Don't waste your audio credits on this - it's not worth it.
Steven Colbert's American thing.
I don't know.
It's not a matter of cutting scenes, but there needs to be a more convincing voice.
Ugh! Just ugh!
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