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Seems to drag on longer than it needs too. While it makes good arguments for its message, its clear unobjectivity probably needs to be taken with a grain of salt. It still raises some very good thinking points about religion and faith in general.

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If you are interested in this book for learning about anything other than the Lafferty brothers' murders (such as about Mormonism in general), this book will not give you anything resembling a balanced account. Krakauer singles out the handful of awful historical events in Mormonism and brands present-day Mormonism as a continuation of the very worst.
As far as I can surmise, the main thesis of the book is: Historical Mormonism is at heart a violent faith that promotes sexual philandering, racist indoctrination, superstition on every level, and female suppression. In the style of sensationalistic journalism, Krakauer (who is not a trained historian) certainly tows this line in the most lurid manner he can conjure. After all, stories about murder and sexual practices (whether they are true or not) sell much better than humdrum, balanced narratives of the lives of everyday folk.
So what's so bad about Under the Banner of Heaven? Krakauer systematically ignores all sorts of stories and real data that go against his thesis; after reading Krakauer, one would expect to see very high homicide rates in Utah, yet it ranks among the bottom in the US. He's not interested in portraying a balanced historical account and makes some very elementary historical errors that give a false impression of the historical record.
 

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I expected more from this book. It is as others have stated, long winded. I also had a hard time with how he went back and forth, from the Lafferty's story to the stories of early LDS church history and then back again, and not much information about the FLDS church or other fundamentalist groups other than that of the Laffertys. It seemed to bounce around alot and a book that does that has always had a hard time keeping my interest. I read it all and it was just ok for me. Not a book I am likely to read again. 

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Very thoroughly researched for historical background and the contemporary interviews. A controversial subject, but handled relatively fairly, and no doubt embarrassing to the LDS church,who do not want to be associated with their various fundamentalist schisms, past and present.
It is a reminder that fundamentalists and extremists, for better or worse, are people, too...
 

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One of my favorite books! Absolutely fantastic!

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Gripping in parts but has to work hard to balance the two timeframes -- a true crime story in the 1980s and a series of shady events in the early history of the LDS church.

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This is an eye-opening, highly readable, and thoroughly engaging piece of journalism. The bulk of the book – a brief history of Mormonism – gives the impression that it was written principally for a non-Mormon audience; which is a service in itself. The LDS Church has been a part of American life for a long time now, and their message has been ably formed and relentlessly marketed. A popular, comprehensible, and honest appraisal of the sinister bones in the LDS closet is an apropos counterpoint to the official narrative. I read "Under the Banner of Heaven" in only a few days; rarely has a work of contemporary history held my interest so consistently. Of course, I'm an admirer of Jon Krakauer's previous books… so I was predisposed to find myself right at home in his style.
For someone who may possess only a cursory knowledge of Mormonism, there's a great deal of material in this book that is worth discovering. Personally, I knew the basics of LDS history, but was still shocked to learn the details of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. I was more surprised, however, to learn the present-day state of polygamy in this country. There's no question that Krakauer draws a very creepy portrait of Mormon Fundamentalism and its mainstream antecedents; and it is a portrait that I judged to be eminently fair.
 

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Subtitled "A Story of Violent Faith" Interesting enough, when I researched this book on Amazon, there were several posts that were very hostile to the book and its message. More interesting, all of the negative posts were from LDS (Mormon) adherents who had not read the book, but were extremely angry that it had been written at all, and were of the sort "This is the One True Religion, believe in the Loving God or die" variety. The book is about a double murder that occurred against a young woman and her infant daughter, by members of a 'fundamentalist' Mormon sect who were practicing the polygamy as laid down by Smith, Young, and other Mormon leaders up until various U.S. Presidents forced monogamy on them. It is interspersed with biographical and historical information on the early cult movement, its leaders, politics, and violent philosophies. It is timely that I read it just as one of the leaders of this movement, Warren Jeffs, was arrested. Krakauer also wrote "Into Thin Air 

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