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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under The Banner Of Heaven
'Under The Banner Of Heaven' is written with Jon Krakauer's usual easily read and digested style and tells the story not only of the Mormon fundamentalist murder of a mother and baby in the early 1980's, but also the history of the Mormon faith. Knowing nothing about Mormons, this historical aspect of the book really added to my overall understanding of the murders (and...
Published on 7 Feb 2008 by Spider Monkey

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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars under the banner of heaven
The book waves together two historical events: the roots of the Mormon Church and the crimes committed by Fundamentalist Mormons today.
Amongst these countless crimes, the attention is mainly focused on the murder committed on July 24th 1984 by two former LDS, Dan and Ron Lafferty, who butchered their 24 year old sister in law, Brenda, and her 15 month old daughter...
Published on 14 Oct 2011 by a Christian family


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under The Banner Of Heaven, 7 Feb 2008
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
'Under The Banner Of Heaven' is written with Jon Krakauer's usual easily read and digested style and tells the story not only of the Mormon fundamentalist murder of a mother and baby in the early 1980's, but also the history of the Mormon faith. Knowing nothing about Mormons, this historical aspect of the book really added to my overall understanding of the murders (and what may have lead to them) and the two aspects of this book are weaved together perfectly. The parts about the murders are shocking and a touch distressing to read in places and the origins and development of the Mormon faith is hard to believe at times. Jon Krakauer seems to write in a measured way and doesn't seem excessively biased. A great deal of the points he makes are backed up by various Mormon texts and interviews. The extent of Mormon fundamentalism is unnerving to discover and read about and casts their self proclaimed religious superiority in a rather dubious light. This is a clear and readable account of some horrific murders and the history of the Mormon faith and it kept me engrossed the whole way through. It's not Krakauer's usual outdoor adventure type book, but it is a fascinating read never-the-less. Worth a read.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling but brilliant book by Krakauer, 3 Jun 2007
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This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
This is quite simply one of the most breathtaking books I have ever laid hands on.

It is extremely revealing educationally, but also contains the power to shock and surprise, as its author John Krakauer deftly and compellingly interweaves Mormon history with the current LDS church situation, and the more fundamentalist modern disciples of Joseph Smith. He received death threats for this work, and considering how it exposes the shameful and disturbing roots and beliefs of Mormonism, it is hardly surprising. Joseph Smith's claims to revelation lack any credibility in their historical, scientific and logical foundations; they make no sense whatsoever and are easily proven false. While they are indeed laughable, the deception that he has brought to millions, is not.

Krakauer has a scintillating writing style and is to be applauded for bravely bringing all this to light. I borrowed this book from a friend, but I have just purchased it from Amazon as it is well worth another read. Get this, and be gripped.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fundamentalism from Within, 30 Aug 2004
This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
This book no doubt has its detractors. In typical fashion they will try to defend themselves which of course is completely justified. However, if one reads Jon Krakauer's book with an open mind (I know of no other way to properly read a book) then you will appreciate the sheer enormity of the challenges this book poses in trying to understand the human condition. This book is about way more than religious fundamentalism, it's an inquiry into the extent that we justify our thoughts, rituals, beliefs, actions and even the 'justification of our justifications' in an effort to find our appropriate place in this infinitely complex human 'order'. It's a powerful book dedicated to the ever-elusive pursuit of truth. To come away from this book unchallenged means only one thing, ignorance. Well done Jon. A masterpiece.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary explorations in American fundamentalism, 18 Oct 2004
This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
...although nominally about Mormonism (with a handy picture of a mountain on the cover, just to tempt in Krakauer fans who liked'Into Thin Air'), 'Under the Banner of Heaven' is really about how fundamentalism distorts everyone who touches it.
There's a wonderful scene near the end where he asks Ron Lafferty, who's spent half his adult life in prison for his part in a 'religious' murder of a woman and a baby whether he sees any similiarities between himself and Osama bin Laden... and for just a second, he almost does.
Unusual and utterly engrossing, this book is wonderful reading for almost anyone: it's beautifully written (if often harrowing), and if Krakauer rarely conceals his own prejudices, without his passion, it wouldn't be nearly so intense and fascinating.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A chilling story of religious fundamentalism, 26 Oct 2007
By 
Linda Bulger (United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
This book is entirely absorbing, which is no surprise coming from this fine author.

There are two strands woven together throughout the book -- the shocking 1984 murders attributed to fundamentalist Mormons, and a historical perspective on the origins of the Latter Day Saints. The skillful way in which Krakauer weaves the strands together holds the reader's interest and is very effective.

The book includes extensive interviews with fundamentalist Dan Lafferty, incarcerated in the Utah State Prison for the murders of his brother's wife and daughter. The interviews, along with the recounting of the murders, are chilling in their details. Just as chilling is the the historical perspective on how the polygamous fundamentalists splintered from mainstream Mormonism, claiming their religious direction to be directly received from God. The facts of this frightening phenomenon were probably not widely known before this book was published.

Knowing very little about the Church of the Latter Day Saints, I came away from this book with much more knowledge about the religion. The distinction is clearly drawn between the mainstream LDS and the fundamentalist sect, giving the book a balanced feel when it could have been pure sensationalism. Krakauer seems to stand aside and let the story tell itself without interpretation or judgment; only the best writers can give that impression.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 21 Nov 2007
By 
K. Harbottle (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
Another substantial nail in the coffin of religious fundamentalism. Gives the reader another perspective on those smart "elders" in black suits and ties knocking on doors. Utterly compelling and anger inducing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of a religion and how it lead to a modern day murder, 30 Sep 2008
By 
Lee Abbey (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
Brilliant account of a religion and how it lead to the murder of innocents by people carrying out what they thought was God's work. Sound familiar?

This is a stunning book. It so incredibly well researched and written that despite the amount of details you don't ever lose your way. It describes everything so richly that you almost feel part of events. A warning though - it makes the retelling of the actual murders all the more harrowing and almost unreadable at one point.

I'd like to think it's for everyone but I think you need more than a casual interest in religion (more so atheists! Anyone whose read God Delusion or Sam Harris MUST read this) to really enjoy a pretty full account of Mormon history but it really rewards. It made me shake my head in disbelief several times and reflect on how a religion (?!) like Mormonism or it's offshoots can gain such a foothold in modern times.

I'd also recommend it for fans of Brian Masters crime writing as it feels similarly well written and the subject matter does cross over.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern take on 'In cold blood', with added Mormon..., 29 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (Paperback)
Well, just finished this, and its a riveting read, deconstructing the murder of a woman and her young child by fundamentalist Mormon Ron Lafferty in 1984, because "God told me to".

'Under the Banner of Heaven' tracks the history of Mormonism, and the growth of its fundamentalist wing, from the 19thC to the present day. All those wives! All that need for 'blood atonement'! As Krakauer says, though Mormonism is now accepted as part of the American mainstream, it "usually hugs the right edge of the flow", articulating reactionary - and usually offensive - views on race, gender, and sexuality.

If you were sceptical about the worth of organised religion of any creed, this book will confirm and reinforce your view that, though religion may have some minor social benefits, its tendency to exclude (and 'damn') non-believers (with varying degrees of social exclusion or physical harm) in the name of 'god' tends to negate any intrinsic worth it may bring.

Currently (as at September 2012), Mitt Romney - Mormon - is Republican candidate for US President. I doubt he'll win, but the LDS must be delighted he's got so far, and take it as evidence that the Final Day (second coming) is near...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, 31 Jan 2011
I read this book because I enjoyed Into the Wild, both book and film, and because I read in the February issue of Vogue that Kristen Stewart was reading it. She has good taste in my opinion and so I followed. Anyway, being from the UK and so having never had first hand experience with the Mormon religion I was very interested in finding out what the truth was amongst all the media driven ideas that are fed to us. The book reads like a long newspaper article, wonderfully intertwined stories, mixing politics, history and culture of a people and of a religion. Although parts of the book shock, parts also make you understand what, on the surface, you think impossible to understand. Would more then recommend this book, quick to read and highly addictive, one of the best things I have read in a long time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 31 Jan 2014
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Interesting background to a weird phenomena. Easy read. The book explains how Mormonism began and resulting current behaviors. Human beings can be scarily like sheep at times, but there are clear 'benefits' here for the ones with the power - the men as usual- why are women so often so gullible?
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Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith
Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer (Paperback - 1 July 2011)
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