“Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer
This is officially my least favorite book by Jon Krakauer, who I would ordinarily say is one of my favorite authors. He’s a journalist/writer who normally has an uncanny way of bringing true stories to life in such well-written detail that you’d almost believe you were reading a novel. His “Into the Wild” and “Into Thin Air” are two of the most riveting reads I’ve ever had the good pleasure to encounter, but “Under the Banner of Heaven” is another story.
In 1984, two brothers (acting, they believed, on God’s orders) murdered a mother and her infant daughter in cold blood. They were Mormons, and the case was one of many things that brought the dark side of the Mormon faith into the limelight.
Mormonism, known largely in America for the whole polygamy thing, is a huge religion. Heck, we even have a Presidential candidate who is a Mormon. However, like many religions, some people take things/their beliefs way too far. My problem with “Under the Banner of Heaven” is that, while the polygamy and murder case parts of the book are fascinating, the rest of it – a detailed history of the Mormon religion – was pretty dull. It felt like I was reading a textbook. So I started skimming those parts, which to me doesn’t equal a strong read.
Mr. Krakauer is awesome, and I realize not everyone can be amazing all the time, but “Under the Banner of Heaven” was disappointing to me. Good thing I got it for $1.o0 at a used book store, right? Read “Into the Wild” instead to get a better idea of the power of this gifted non-fiction writer, but this book isn’t worth your time.