Customer Reviews for

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

WOW!!!! FABULOUS READING! FASCINATING! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

I have been in a reading slump with not too much interest in books for the last few years, well after reading this I am a total reader again! After my ski trip to Utah this winter I was a bit fascinated with the culture there...so this book was immediately appealing. ...
I have been in a reading slump with not too much interest in books for the last few years, well after reading this I am a total reader again! After my ski trip to Utah this winter I was a bit fascinated with the culture there...so this book was immediately appealing. It reads like an in depth newspaper article or nat. geo. article, but 1000x cooler! The layers are intense and complicated, but the author does an excellent job going back and forth. I was easily able to remember names and relationships combined with the history. To the Mormons who freak out that this book portrays the Church in a bad light- I don't think it does. The Mormon histroy is a more recent history, more memorable because of that. Last time I checked the Catholic Church has just as violent and cultish history! But we forget because it was at least 200 years to 2000 years back. Religion evolves; the Mormons evolved waaay faster than the Catholics did! The uniqueness of this book is the position that Mormonism is a inherently American religion; the philosophies are so uniquely American, that concept is an amazing exploration into what it means to be an American. The stories of the Mormons and the old west are sooo flippin cool! To an agnostic who was raised with no Christian background or belief- All the biblical stuff, book of mormon, old new test., saints, prophets, etc. are all meaningless to my frame of reference. At the end of this book Mormonism was no less legitamate or illegitamate than any other form of religion. It's funny when people say false religion and false prophets, because to someone who knows nothing of real prophets or "faith"...it just plays about as a fascinating invention of man. There is a chap. that decribes the murders, and I couldnt read it; it was extremely sad and gruesome. If youre a history buff with a short attention span this book is awesome!

posted by calichickadee on March 18, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 33 people found this review helpful.

Ignorance and bias limit this misleading 'history'

Mr. Krakauer, in this error ridden diatribe against religion, makes so many errors of fact and logic that serious questions are raised regarding his competence and sincerity. As Prof T. Givens noted, 'To blame Judaism for Son of Sam would be anti-Semitic. To blam...
Mr. Krakauer, in this error ridden diatribe against religion, makes so many errors of fact and logic that serious questions are raised regarding his competence and sincerity. As Prof T. Givens noted, 'To blame Judaism for Son of Sam would be anti-Semitic. To blame Mormonism for Dan Lafferty is no less an act of naked bigotry masquerading as journalistic investigation.' As Jane Lampman has noted in the The Christian Science Monitor, Krakauer's book 'delivers a skewed and misleading picture of a faith now practiced by 11 million people worldwide.' Perhaps Naomi Schaefer, in her review for the The Wall Street Journal put it best, when she wrote that Krakauer's book 'is all quite misleading.' Neurophysiologists may note that Mr. Krakauer's best excuse for producing this incompetently researched, deceptive and misleading book is that he spent so many weeks at high altitude with insufficient oxygen. One can only hope he beats a hasty retreat from subjects like history and religion -- subjects apparently far beyond his abilities. R. Chris Barden, Ph.D., J.D. Sun Valley, Idaho

posted by Anonymous on July 27, 2003

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    fair-maybe borrow it from someone or "share" it from your Nook

    The information is interesting but he tends to wander around a lot in my opinion. It is a lot of information with LOTS of players so it is difficult to keep up with who is who and how they are all related. But-I did learn a lot about the Mormon religion.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2004

    Confusing, but good commuter reading

    When religion is presented in a positive or negative light, independent of specific beliefs and doctrine, someone will usually find fault with it. I did find the story hard to follow, and felt at times I needed a flow diagram to keep all the characters straight. For what it's worth.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2011

    Propaganda at its worst

    Krakauer takes rumor, gossip and individual cases to tar Mormons with a broad brush If anyone wrote a condemnnation of Christiainity using such flimsy evidence and dubious conclusions, they'd be booed off the stage. I'm not a Mormon or a Christian but i was disgusted by this book it's like virulent hate books about Jews & we know where that led

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2004

    My concern with the title and it's assertions

    While the author does a good job of walking us through the crime and the characters, the book is flawed from the outset. I was curious why the author uses the term Mormon fundamentalist. I went to the mormon church website and found that there is no such thing. People who practice 'fundamentalism', so called only in the media, are not memebers of the 'Mormon' faith. They are excommunicated when their practices stray from the very strict church teachings. The crazies who are featured in this book were, at one point, Mormon, but were far from it by the time the book starts. From my reading, the Mormon faith is far from violent. In fact, it has had likely more violence done against it than any religion other than Judaism. Haven't you ever wondered why all those people made the difficult journey across the country to get to Utah? It was for religious freedom. The author could have done a better job of distinguishing the real Mormon church from this bunch. I contend that he used the word Mormon to sensationalize his book.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2003

    Good try

    The author tries with volume to make up for quality research. I am familiar with the doctrines of the LDS Church as compared with those who call themselves fundamentalists. The author goes to great lengths to blur these differences. I get the distinct impression, at times, that he writes this book to embarrase a great American religion, and curry favor with malcontents rather than to make a distinction between a mainstream Christian church and the unlawful offshoots. I look for more respect for underlying truths which are driving rapid groth of a great religion, and less for the sensationalsim that is driving this book. It is an insult to 11 million members.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2003

    Not Very Good

    Under the Banner of Heaven has been marketed as a book about a murder and the religious inspiration for it. In truth, it should be described in the reverse. UTBOH is a lengthy dissertation about Mormonism, its fundamentalist offshoots, and the myriad reasons Krakuer seems to have for distrusting those of the Mormon faith. I'd estimate that fewer than 75 pages of the book actually deal with the murder, the murdered and the murderers.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    A fine murder investigation...but NOT the place to learn about real Mormonism

    Krakauer's got a great style, and a riveting topic...but he totally fails in separating the true story of Mormonism from the obviously deranged perception of these murderers. To learn more about Mormonism, read W. F. Walker Johanson's 'What is Mormonism All About? Answers to the 150 most commonly asked questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints', St. Martin's Press, 2002 (with a foreword by Sen. Orrin Hatch), which provides a great explanation of what Mormonism is really all about...for both the serious investigator and the curious bystander.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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