Book Review: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer


Goodreads Summary: 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 & 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 his book are brothers Ron & Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman & her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, he constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence & unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest-growing religion, raising provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.

Review: This was my third Krakauer book.  I have read Into the Wild and Into Thin Air before this one and really enjoyed his style of writing.  I read this one based on a recommendation from my cousin.  This book completely blew me away.  It’s amazing how many things have happened that much of American probably doesn’t know about.  Have you heard about Mountain Meadows?!  I hadn’t but I feel like it’s something we should have learned in school.  Mormons committing a mass execution of a group of pioneers on their way to California and blaming it on the local Native American tribe?  That seems like something we should have learned in school.  I’ve always had a kind of fascination with fundamentalist Mormons so this was a real eye opener into a history of the faith and what caused the religion to be so divided.  Even amongst the fundamentalists there are different factions.  This was really an interesting book.  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in history (whether it be religious history or just history in general) or those with an interest in Mormons and fundamentalist Mormons.

Five out of five stars.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

  1. Pingback: Month In Review: February 2015 | The Worn Bookmark

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