Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Review: Under the Banner of Heaven

I'll try to limit myself in reviewing the 26 books I plan to read in 2009 by participating in Abraham Piper's project, 22 Words: Experiments in Getting to the Point.

John Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (New York: Doubleday 2003).

22 Words
"Krakauer relays a compelling, page-turning account of the fundamentalist strains of the LDS church, and encourages the reader to appreciate uncertainty in faith."
"The wake that followed the Second Great Awakening was a peculiar American phenomenon, in which modern-day Fundamentalist Mormans would have fit perfectly."

A note of interest: This book was sent to me by a good friend. I initially resisted reading it, because 1) I have so many good books to get to already, and--perhaps more importantly--2) I have good Morman friends who I knew would insist that most of what Krakauer has to say does not pertain to them. Indeed, Under the Banner of Heaven is primarily a description of the fanatical outer edges of the LDS community throughout history, and not the current mainstreem LDS church. It would be uncharritable at best and dishonest at worst to view my Morman friends in a way that they, themselves, would reject. However, I do think that some of the issues Krakauer raises (though he's certainly not the first to do so) do pertain to my Morman friends, and I would love to hear their feedback about this book. You can be honest with me; I strive to be an honest, charritable critic. Of course, Krakauer would probably say the same thing.

Another note of interest: I plan to pick up the 2004 paperback edition, which, apparently, includes some introductory criticisms raised by LDS historian, Richard E. Tulley, and answers to those criticisms (even a concession or two) by Krakauer himself.


Rhett and Leena said...

After you read it, I'll take a stab at it...

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