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)
like a breathless tabloid TV show. At one relatively unimportant point he says, "A MILLION dollars" and all I could think of was Dr. Evil in Austin Powers. I could not finish the book. Maybe I'll read it in print but my impressions is that Krakauer too amps everything up unecessarily - the story and the history of the Church and these offshoots is interesting (and bizarre and ugly) without selective information, hyperbole or reader-dragging.
I love Krakauer's writing but find the narration of this book so irritating that I have to stop listening (and ask for a refund). Scott Brick's unnecessarily animated/actorish/dramatic reading really distracts one from the quality of the writing and story. I've heard Krakauer interviewed and think he'd be a great reader of his own books. I won't get another book narrated by Scott Brick - he is completely lacking in subtlety. Too bad, I was so looking forward to listening to this.
This book reveals history and concealed truths about the Mormon faith (LDS). All this history can be researched by anyone through archived newsprint and published material since 1870. Krakauer has compiled a lot of it in this book. He reveals a lot about the fundamentalists of the LDS church (FLDS). How they have branched off from Mormonism and why they have such astonishing beliefs. He gives insights as to why there are so many of these fundamentalist groups that still practice plural marriage. He discusses and quotes from the Lafferty brothers who committed murder according to their faith. The author gives accounts of the many controversies surrounding the early LDS church and the Utah pioneers and settlers. How historically proven truths that have been revealed have been hidden and concealed from church members by LDS church leaders. Not a book for the faint hearted for it is very descriptive about the Lafferty murders and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. The author does point out that Mormonism has gained popularity among over 10,000 religious sects in the world despite all the controversy. Quote from Krakauer "All humans ache to feel love from our creator"
I am an online SPED/History teacher with a love of literature and non-fiction. I have nearly 700 titles as 2015 starts. So Grateful!!
This Audiobook sold me on the idea of "reading" by listening. I can remember where I was when I heard each section of the book. In fact, I have to admit that I missed part of the sites on a European vacation becuase I was lost in this story. It is well read, and well written. With the heat being turned up on the British Columbian community of Bountiful mentioned in this book, it is a great way to gather insights into the fundamentalist spin off of the Mormon Church that neither resemble the present day Saints, nor the average families you would expect to encounter today!! It is very interesting indeed.
I tend to like audiobooks that are read by the author. You get the emotion in the places that the book meant to relay them. This story has a very powerful message. Although the book most certainly focuses on the Mormon religion, the author makes it clear that his intent is to discuss "Faith" in general. But, with so many different religions in the world and all having their own set of rules which require unabashed faith in order to be truly religious, the author had to pick one religion to get his point across. So he picked the one that he was most familiar with as well as one that was news worthy. The tale he tells of the murder of a mother and her 15 month old daughter, by her brother-in-laws no less, is at times gruesome, but always interesting. As far as I can tell, I'm not of the Mormon religion, the history of the Mormon church is detailed very nicely in this book. From it's founding in the 1800's by Joseph Smith, to the state it is in today, he details the trials and tribulations that have transpired in order for this, 2nd fastest growing religion in the world, to survive. I listened to this book from begining to end in one sitting. If you like murder mysteries based on fact, this book is for you. If you like books on spirituality, this book is for you. If you like history, this book might be a good listen for you. Give it a shot, you may be surprised at what you learn!
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
Under The Banner Of Heaven is a controversial book highlighting the history or Mormonism and the actions of several Fundamental Mormon extremists. Because of the controversial topics this book covers I do think it is important to read. However the dry and frankly boring style the author wrote it in made it difficult to finish or for me to care about reading the book. Krauker starts the book with a murder and uses the rest of it to write about how the Mormon religion promoted this violent act of faith. He does this by jumping around in time constantly, throwing random fact at you that won't be important until much later in the book. Some could compare his writing style to that of a news article. Which is good for short news stories but not for lengthly books.
I enjoyed learning about the Mormon faith, before I read this book I knew very little of Mormonism and I knew nothing of fundamental Mormonism. After reading I now know that there is huge difference between the two. Fundamental Mormons are more of a cult, practicing polygamy and abusing women. While Mormons are normal people who follow their own religion without breaking any basic human right laws. I would recommend this book if you really want to learn about Mormons, how they came to be and what they are doing today. However I would not recommend this book if you are interested in a even remotely interesting story. I would give this book three out of five stars.
Scott Brick overly dramtic voice was too much for me. I won't listen to any other books narrated by him.
I love John Krakauer. I got much more than anticipated in this book. It was a true crime thriller interwoven with Mormon culture and history. I loved it and would listen to it again.
While I am a big fan of Krakauer's earlier works, Under the Banner of Heaven leaves a lot to be desired. I don't think that his weaving of two genres ("true crime" and history)works well here. Taken separately, a history of the Church of LDS and its offshoots, and the true crime story are both very interesting, but the constant weaving back and forth makes it just confusing, at least in audio format.
There were many times that I got lost in the narrative, particularly in the parts about about other Mormon fundamenalists (who have no relevance to the story of the Lafferty brothers). And there were other parts of the Lafferty story that he didn't explore at all -- for example, what happened to Allen after the murders? How did he react, does he still speak with his brothers, etc., etc.? There is much about Ron's ongoing trials, but very little about Dan's trial. I couldn't for the life of me remember why Dan did not get the death penalty, until after I was done listening, I went online and found an excerpt of the book's prologue, where it mentions one or two lines about Dan's trial.
The narration was fine, and the content had the potential to make an excellent book, but sadly this one falls short.
I have listened to a lot of audio books and this is one of the very best -- fascinating start to finish.
The story of the grisly muders is very well told without being macabre and totally holds your interest.
Woven through this is the intriguing history of the Morman Church and details of some of the bizarre sects that have spun off it. The book gives an in depth insight to what is becoming one of the world's major religions.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook.
Regardless of your politics or your religious persuasion, carefully listening to this book can't help but make a thoughtful, introspective person question their beliefs. Being raised strictly Catholic, now a confirmed athiest, and a registered Republican who doesn't much care for George W. Bush, I found it informative and provacatory. I could see how this book could be downright blasmephous for some people, and not indignant enough for others. The author does a great job of illuminating a subculture that isn't easy to penetrate, and expanding on its ideas as they apply to all organized relgions around the world. It makes some moral value judgements, but one has to if their work is to have any impact. I think the world would be a better place right now if more people read (and most importantly, thought about) the author's theses.
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