Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer

Under the Banner of Heaven

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 and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the renegade leaders of these...

Details Under the Banner of Heaven

TitleUnder the Banner of Heaven
Release DateMar 28th, 2017
PublisherPan MacMillan
Number of pages372 pages
GenreNonfiction, Religion, History, Crime, True Crime, Mystery

Reviews Under the Banner of Heaven

  • Len
    I don't know where to start with this book -- I couldn't put it down. It was enthralling. A quick note about Krakauer: this was the first book I've read by him and I was duly impressed with his story telling ability and his writing style. I will definitely add his other books to my reading list.Now for the book -- holy shit! Like most people I didn't know much about Mormons beyond the basics. And let it be known right off the bat that I am a devo...
  • Colleen
    I read this book for the book club at my local library. Afterwards, I felt indignant, confused, intrigued, and disgusted about all forms of faith. So, I sincerely hoped that a Saint or two would show up at the book club meeting, to nullify my extremely negative view of the church. Alas, no LDS believers showed, so I am left to my own conclusions about the book and faith in general. Here are some of my conclusions and questions after reading this ...
  • Stephen
    4.0 to 4.5 stars. For non-fiction, this book had me absolutely riveted from the very beginning. This true crime narative has three main themes, all of which I think Krakauer accomplishes extremely well. First, this is a true crime story of the brutal double murder of Brenda Lafferty and her 15 month old baby girl at the hands Ron and Dan Lafferty (the older brothers of Brenda’s husband). Second, is a survey of the origin and early history of Mo...
  • Petra Eggs
    This is a hard book for me to review given that I have quite a few Mormon friends and that although my own philosophy leans more towards existentialism than anything else, I feel its differents strokes for different folks, who am I to criticise and all the other cliches to do with tolerance. Hard because this is my review, my feelings and yet I do not seek to be offensive, and don't want to be taken that way. Hard because I am led inescapably by ...
  • Mateo
    You know, I probably shouldn't have read this directly after finishing In Cold Blood. I'm not saying the combination brought out the homicidal psychotic in me, but I did have to pay for stabbing the hell out of a turkey in the Albertson's meat section the other day. Is there a stranger sect out there than the Mormons? I mean, golden plates ... lost tribes ... Nephites battling Lamanites ... Orrin Hatch.... Well, yes, I guess one look at Tom Cruis...
  • Karen
    This book makes a lot of big promises, but it suffers from several serious flaws:1. Lack of focus.2. Too long.3. Preposterous claim.4. BoringThis is a true crime novel--maybe--set against the history of the Mormon Church--but not really--trying to tie in a couple of murders committed by a couple of sickos--all too common--into an historical and political climate of post-terrorist, millennial religious revival--unsuccessfully.For true crime, it's ...
  • Cheryl
    Hmmm...where do I start? First of all, I didn't finish reading this book. It was intriguing in the beginning to learn about the Fundamentalist Mormons and the interestingly odd things they believe and practice. It was also interesting to contemplate the power of faith. Faith in something or someone, regardless of what or whom they are, can make people do unbelievable things. This is true.I can see how Krakauer would have been frustrated when acce...
  • John
    I really enjoyed Into Thin Air, but now I wonder if it is poorly done as this book was. As a Mormon I was amazed at Krakauer's complete naivete that he's trying to pass off as expertise and a well-researched book. I'd be scared of Mormonism too if I read this and didn't know better. The logic leaps he makes are simply massive. For a story about the Lafferty's, this is a nicely told yarn. For understanding its extrapolation into a story about Morm...
  • Marissa
    My father's family is obsessed with Mormons, I think it's fair to say. Well..not Mormons. Most of the Mormons I've known have been perfectly regular people. If you're Mormon, please forgive me if that sounds callous. We are, however, obsessed with Mormonism, and have been since my aunt and uncle took a trip to Salt Lake City many years ago and came back with something we call "The Mormon Movie"."The Mormon Movie" is like the axis point of a fasci...
  • Gwen
    This book is fantastic. Krakauer looks at the history of violence in the Mormon religion (both against them and perpetrated by them) and how this violence, romanticized by modern fundamentalist Mormon polygamists, led two men to kill their sister-in-law and her baby because they said God told them to. These men felt, and continued to feel, no remorse because of their doctrine that "killing for the Lord" is entirely acceptable if it is necessary t...
  • Perry
    Intriguing and Incisively IconoclasticRon & Dan Lafferty, convicted of vicious 1984 murders of their brother's wife & infant daughter (shown below)A razor-edged examination of fanaticism in religion, focused primarily on the Mormon Church and its fundamentalist offshoot sects that continue to adhere to the norms the federal government forced the Church to abandon over a century ago: polygamy and the marriage of pubescent females. Jon Krakauer con...
  • Jonathan Ashleigh
    This book is great for it's depiction and unbiased view of Mormonism.
  • Snotchocheez
    I don't know if I can write an unbiased review of Under the Banner of Heaven. I'll say this: Krakauer's well-researched, exceedingly well-written 2003 book, which is 1/3rd a true crime examination of the brutal 1984 murders of Brenda Lafferty and her young daughter Erika by two Fundamentalist (i.e. polygamous) Mormons Dan and Ron Lafferty (her brothers-in-law) and 2/3rds an exhaustive examination of the Mormon religion (particularly its violent ...
  • Caroline
    Gosh, I still feel a bit stunned. This book gives you a lot to think about, and it does it with a thwack. Basically this is story of the Lafferty brothers, born into a deeply fundamentalist Mormon family with a sometimes brutal but sometimes loving father, whom they adored. As they grew older they really went off the rails, and they did so by becoming even more fundamentalist than their father, immersing themselves in old Mormon writings, and liv...
  • Eric_W
    Good grief. At the time of this posting there are almost 70,000 ratings and baskets of reviews. So why another one? Good question.Predictably, if you are a Mormon you won’t like this book, although it does seem to be well-researched and relatively even-handed. What appears to us skeptics as just silly nonsense is, for some people, inspired holy writ. Go figure. The Mormons themselves can't figure out what's revelation or not and who is or is no...
  • Beth F.
    This book was intense. I’m a sucker for religious studies anyway, especially those different from my own, and this book has been on my radar for awhile now because Mormonism (in general) and fundamentalists (of all kinds) have always interested me, so when I found out this book was about Mormon fundamentalists, there was never any doubt that I’d read it eventually. But what I was expecting from this book and what I got were two totally differ...
  • Lucy
    Somehow, in Krakauer's and every other story of Christian fundamentalism and extremism that is exposed, those involved justification for doing evil and ignoring good is all founded on extreme and polarizing doctrines. Polygamy. Holy Wars. Visions. Revelation. Line of succession. All legitimate things to think and worry about, but they seem to completely ignore the important things that Christ taught while on earth. Say...something like....blessed...
  • Mike
    If you, like me, were enlisted in Catholic school as a child, or even if you weren't, you may remember the story of how god commanded Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Issac (the "only", I seem to remember, was always emphasized in the telling). But just as soon as Abraham got little Issac up to the top of the mountain and was standing over him with a dagger or something like that, god said, and I'm paraphrasing here, "LMFAO... you were really g...
  • Alex Telander
    UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN: A STORY OF VIOLENT FAITH BY JON KRAKAUER: I finished Under the Banner of Heaven two days ago now, and I haven't written the review yet, waiting to see if anything would change in my mind about Mormons, and so far nothing has. I still think it's a horribly misogynistic religion that goes even further than all other religions I know to take away all responsibility, independent thought, and individualism, and literally sa...
  • Ellen
    Wow. I'm slowly becoming more of a fan of non-fiction, and this book is great for that! Krakauer gives a well-researched (judging from the length of the bibliography) account of the history of the Mormon church, interwoven with an absolutely chilling look at Mormon Fundamentalist communities that practice polygamy in the desert wilds of Utah, Arizona, and Canada. These people are nuts, plain and simple. I can have a limited respect for a watered-...
  • Moira Russell
    Somewhere, there is a story aching to be told about Mormonism, the positive and negative effects of religious faith on thought and psychological development, the painting of an integrated mainstream with the tarred brush of extremist fringes, and the general place of religion in US culture. This book is oh, so totally not it.
  • Jonathan
    Leave it to me to avoid a bandwagon (see: "Arrested Development") and finally opt to read this heralded book about Mormon killers while on vacation. Shew.And by Mormon killers I do mean both people who kill Mormons and Mormons who kill (kill "Gentiles" [anyone not Mormon, including Jews] and kill their own). The book is timely in that Mormon fundamentalists recently sprang into the news again, though hardly by their own desire, with the Texas pol...
  • Zuky the BookBum
    Also read my review here: http://bookbum.weebly.com/book-review...TRIGGER WARNING: rape, incest, domestic abuse, child abuse, animal abuse, child murderI’m speechless. (OK, maybe not). What the heck did I just read? You’re telling me this is non-fiction? ...How? HOW? This isn’t just some freak incident either, people live like what’s described in this book, I’m baffled by it. I mean I’m a little baffled by strict religious following...
  • Justin
    This book is a wet dream for wiseass, arrogant agnostics like myself. It's ostensibly about (a) the history of Mormonism; and (b) the brutal murder of a mother and her 2-year-old daughter by a couple of Mormon Fundamentalists who strayed way too far from the flock in the early 1980's. However, the deeper subject is the uneasy coexistence of faith and reason, and how the two have trampled each other throughout history. Without reading this book, y...
  • Jen
    The low rating isn't because the book is poorly written--it's not. At times the book is fascinating and at times horrifying (my husband just finished it too and found it riveting). The subject matter, however was pretty dark and gruesome for me personally to enjoy. Although well researched and even-handed at times, as he explored the "underbelly" of Mormonism, there was undercurrent of contempt from the author. It showed in the description of a m...
  • Sammy
    I wouldn't be surprised if Krakauer's first books were fiction novels, which I don't think they are, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were. Why? This book reads like a novel, a very confusing novel, but a novel nonetheless.First things first, there should have been some sort of family tree or timeline or some sort of organizational medium provided besides a map. By the end of the book you have so many people and so many families roaming around...
  • Dave
    This is a great, well-researched book on fundamentalist Mormons that will freak you out. Half the book is true-crime drama and the other half is an excellent history of LDS and the many fundamentalist sects that splintered off in order to practice Mormonism Joseph Smith-style (which included polygamy as a key principle). I learned a lot about Mormonism from this book, however I initially felt that Krakauer was a little unfair to mainstream Mormon...
  • Shaun
    Dear Jon, This is the third book by you that I've read, the first two being Into the Wild and Into Thin Air. I've given all three books five sparkly stars because I absolutely love your journalistic though artful writing style. However, I must admit that while I thoroughly enjoyed both Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, I just could not relate in any shape or form to the adventure/thrill seeking mentality that drove the characters in those two work...