Under the Banner of Heaven A Story of Violent Faith

ISBN-10: 1400032806
ISBN-13: 9781400032808
Edition: 2004
Authors: Jon Krakauer
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Description: Jon Krakauer's literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders.  More...

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Book details

List price: $16.00
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 6/8/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 432
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.012

Jon Krakauer's literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this "divinely inspired" crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America's fastest-growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief. Krakauer takes readers inside isolated communities in the American West, Canada, and Mexico, where some forty-thousand Mormon Fundamentalists believe the mainstream Mormon Church went unforgivably astray when it renounced polygamy. Defying both civil authorities and the Mormon establishment in Salt Lake City, the leaders of these outlaw sects are zealots who answer only to God. Marrying prodigiously and with virtual impunity (the leader of the largest fundamentalist church took seventy-five "plural wives," several of whom were wed to him when they were fourteen or fifteen and he was in his eighties), fundamentalist prophets exercise absolute control over the lives of their followers, and preach that any day now the world will be swept clean in a hurricane of fire, sparing only their most obedient adherents. Weaving the story of the Lafferty brothers and their fanatical brethren with a clear-eyed look at Mormonism's violent past, Krakauer examines the underbelly of the most successful homegrown faith in the United States, and finds a distinctly American brand of religious extremism. The result is vintage Krakauer, an utterly compelling work of nonfiction that illuminates an otherwise confounding realm of human behavior.

Jon Krakauer was born in Brookline, Massachusetts in 1954. He received a degree in environmental studies from Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 1976. He worked as a carpenter and fisherman. He also wrote articles on mountain climbing, which appeared in several publications including GQ, National Geographic, Architectural Digest, Playboy, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone. In 1996, he climbed Mt. Everest, but a storm took the lives of four of the five teammates who reached the summit with him. An analysis of the calamity he wrote for Outside magazine received a National Magazine Award. An article he wrote for Smithsonian about volcanology received the 1997 Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism. He is the author of several books including Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, When Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, and Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way. His book, Into the Wild, was made into a movie in 2007.

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