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Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire Paperback – 2 Jun 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press; annotated edition edition (2 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932360964
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932360967
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.1 x 1.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,183,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
In the mid-1990s, around the time the Left Behind novels first made their way onto bookstore shelves, I was living in the small town of Carterville, in southern Illinois. Read the first page
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Amazon.com: 7 reviews
30 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The Rise of a violent "Christian" media empire 9 Jun 2006
By Preston C. Enright - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this crucial expose of the violence of LaHaye's imperial theology, Standaert reveals how the "Left Behind" series serves US hegemony, including its bloody aggression in Iraq. Not only are people in other lands demonized, but domestic enemies of right-wing fanaticism are caricatured as well. LaHaye's antichrist character, Nicolae Carpathia, takes on virtually every liberal stereotype and becomes a figurehead for all that is evil according to LaHaye (and talk show hosts like Dennis Prager). Anybody outside of the club of war-mongering religious insiders are targeted for elimination. It's interesting how Standaert points out how this process dehumanizes both the non-believers and believers.

To make matters worse, this fall LaHaye will release "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," a hyper-violent, graphically advanced video game, similar to "Grand Theft Auto." Instead of bashing prostitutes' heads and blowing away cops, you kill assorted 'evildoers.' Standaert points out in an article entitled "Grand Theft Armageddon" that this is the latest (and most violent) in a series of video games to advance LaHaye's apocalyptic narrative, reach out to people who haven't been exposed to the book, and raise funds for LaHaye's political activism (he boasts of spending half of his earnings on his political agenda). Incidentally, LaHaye is the co-founder of the "Moral Majority."

In addition to Standaert's book, Chip Berlet has important books and a website that reveal this ominous growth of an ugly dominator world view.
10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Unlikely to convince "true believers," but impressive marshalling of facts 4 Jun 2007
By James V. Holton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very well researched--might even say exhaustively so--work about the incredibly popular Left Behind series. Standaert delivers an impressive analysis of the dispensationalist, fundamentalist mentality that pervades this book and so much of modern popular Christian culture. He does a great job of exposing many of the hidden assumptions of the series such as its pervasive violence, nihilism, intolerance and anti- mentality (anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti"moderate Christian, etc.). Apologists who would argue that such devices are just literary license to tell a story should bear in mind that without the violence, bigotry and hatred espoused by LaHaye and Jenkins in the books, there would be no story to tell.

This book more properly deserves 3.5 stars, but I went with 4 since 3 would seem like damning with faint praise. There are a couple deficiences that when known make the book more readable. First, the organization tends to be a little slipshod. The chapters read more like a group of essays rather than a cohesive monograph; as a result it often seems like Standaert is trodding over the same ground from chapter to chapter. Second, due to this lack of organization his analyses a) often come across as personal attacks on LaHaye rather than objective conclusions, b) don't really speak to those who may have sympathies towards LaHaye et al's brand of Christianity, even fleetingly, but who need to be convinced more compellingly. Such people may be inclined to see Standaert as vindicating LaHaye's paranoia and misplaced literalism (some further explanation of the author's own spiritual inclinations may have helped delineate his points). Those who do not believe in this type of millennialism will find an impressive array of facts to respond to LaHaye's supporters.

Third, there are small typos and misspellings that may drive those so inclined to notice such things crazy--e.g. referring to German chancellor Helmut Kohl as "Kohn."
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Mayor McCheese - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The content of this book was interesting and well sourced if a little bit repetitive and heavy-handed. However, the printed text was riddled with numerous typos--sometimes as many as 2 or 3 per page! I can only assume that this is the fault of the publisher and not the author. Don't read this book if typos drive you crazy!

Author: 4 stars
Publisher: 1 star
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Interesting, if flawed 5 April 2009
By Teemacs - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There's nothing worse than a fanatic, someone who single-mindedly believes in something to such an extent as to exclude the possibility of there being an alternative (and perhaps even legitimate) point of view. Religion and politics are the two most deadly forms of the disease, and when they combine, there is the potential for disaster - think of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, when it had something approaching the political authority to enforce its position as The One True Church. While the current situation in the USA is not so far gone, it continues to move worryingly in that direction, with some people clearly determined to establish America as "a Christian country", i.e., a theocracy. And when that comes, you can bet that it will be every bit as intolerant as any Islamic country. But it can't happen - can it?

In the USA, an almost religious belief in America as the cure to the world's ills (as opposed to a prime cause thereof) and Republican politics have combined to produce a frightful monster of an offspring, which has twisted and perverted the whole political discourse in the USA. It may represent the greatest danger to the planet that we have ever seen, and we probably have not seen the last of it.

Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" books are not merely badly-written religious pulp fiction based on highly dubious theology (anyone who maintains s/he understands Revelation clearly needs his/her head read), but an attempt to promote the narrow ideology of the religious right, with its complete intolerance of, well, everything except itself. They preach the rightness of theocracy by basing the story on the ultimate theocracy, the Second Coming of Jesus to establish a very non-democratic Kingdom on earth. This book documents the attempts of Tim LaHaye and the like to promulgate this ideology of America needing to be a "Christian nation" of this particularly narrow kind. In this, the author allows himself to roam beyond the confines of the publishing phenomenon that is the "Left Behind" series and look at the wider picture and history of the conservative evangelical movement in the USA, how it has become politicized, and how it is seeking to exert ever greater political control. It is a story of very deluded men masquerading as angels of light. During the Spanish Inquisition, the Dominician friars, with tears in their eyes, would plead with heretics to repent, even as they lit the faggots under their feet. You just know that LaHaye and Co. would be just the same.

The book is interesting (and worrying), but it could have used a good editor, one who knows grammar and spelling. It has some real howlers ("the militia movement begins to horde weapons"). It could also have been more even-handed. The author is clearly antagonistic to the evangelicals, which, while understandable, is perhaps not the best attitude to strike. There are many fine Christian people in the USA who have not sold their souls to the lunatic fringe. They will be needed to show genuine Christian values, as opposed to the false ones of LaHaye & Co.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good book, needs a proofreader 12 Aug 2008
By Zorya - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this an interesting and well researched book. However, it had numerous proofreading errors that were very distracting.
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