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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer Review

Title: Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

Author: Jon Krakauer

First published July 1, 2003

400 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780330419123 (ISBN10: 0330419129)

Rating: 4


Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith is a gripping nonfiction work by Jon Krakauer that delves into the depths of religious belief and the shocking extremes it can lead to. The book follows the story of Ron and Dan Lafferty, two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers who committed a double murder after claiming to have received a divine revelation from God.

Krakauer’s meticulous research uncovers the shadowy world of Mormon Fundamentalism, a sect of the fastest-growing religion in America that believes the mainstream Mormon Church has strayed from the true path. With bone-chilling detail, Krakauer reveals the savage violence, polygamy, and messianic delusion that underlie the beliefs of these zealots, who answer only to God and defy both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City.

Through his exploration of the Lafferty brothers’ story, Krakauer raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief and the American brand of religious extremism. Under the Banner of Heaven is a thought-provoking and utterly compelling work of nonfiction that sheds light on a confounding realm of human behavior.

About the Author

Meet Jon Krakauer, a talented American writer and mountaineer whose passion for the great outdoors is reflected in his captivating writing about mountain climbing. He has gained much recognition for his works in this genre and has become a prominent figure in the outdoor community.

For more information on Jon Krakauer, be sure to check out his Facebook page.

Editoral Review

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer is a gripping narrative about the role of religion in extreme violence. Released on July 1, 2003, this book is written by the same author who penned the acclaimed book, Into Thin Air.

With a thorough research and immersive storytelling, Krakauer delivers a thought-provoking commentary on the violent consequences of religious extremism. The book follows the story of the Lafferty brothers, who committed a gruesome murder of their sister-in-law and her infant daughter in the name of a divine revelation.

The narrative is set against the backdrop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), also known as the Mormon Church, and its long history of violence and radicalism. Krakauer dives deep into the origins of Mormonism, exploring the beliefs and practices of the faith, and how it has evolved over time.

Krakauer masterfully weaves together multiple narratives, drawing from a range of sources, including interviews with family members, law enforcement officials, and religious scholars. He also delves into the thorny issue of religious freedom, and how it intersects with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The book is a fascinating study of the human psyche, and the ways in which faith can be manipulated and weaponized to commit heinous acts of violence. From the Lafferty brothers to the larger history of the Mormon Church, Krakauer draws a clear connection between religious extremism and violence.

The writing style is immersive and captivating, drawing the reader in with vivid descriptions and expert pacing. The characters are complex and nuanced, with Krakauer providing a nuanced look at the motivations and perspectives of both the victims and perpetrators of violence.

One of the strengths of the book is its historical and cultural significance. Krakauer provides a detailed exploration of the history of the Mormon Church, including its battles with the US government over land, polygamy, and other issues.

He also sheds light on the various off-shoots of the Church, some of which are known for their radical and violent behavior. However, some readers may find the book’s in-depth exploration of the more violent aspects of religious extremism to be too graphic and disturbing.

Additionally, while Krakauer is effective at connecting the dots between past and present, the book could benefit from a more explicit discussion of how the issues explored in the book relate to current events and issues. Overall, Under the Banner of Heaven is an expertly crafted book that explores the darker side of religion and the potential for violence that can accompany extreme beliefs.

It is a must-read for anyone interested in the intersections of faith, violence, and human behavior. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for: readers interested in true crime, religion, and the intersection of faith and violence.