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Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild and Into Thin Air) often writes about those living on the margins of society. In Under the Banner of Heaven, he turn his attention to fundamentalist zealots of the Mormon church. Centering his novel around brothers Dan and Ron Lafferty, who murdered Ron's wife and infant daughter, ostensibly under God's orders. Telling the story of their violent and virulent beliefs, Krakauer also ties in Mormon history from Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young to the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. The sect of Mormons that still practice polygamy practice a system of feminine abuse, rape, incest, and intermarriage in the belief that they are preparing for the the Great and Dreadful Day of the Lord. It's an eye-opening look at the history of polygamy within the Mormon church and the abuse and violence it often engenders. The San Francisco Chronicle says of Under the Banner of Heaven, "His new work is a fantastic read, right up there with In Cold Blood and The Executioner's Song in its depiction of that strange American blend of piety, violence and longing for the End Times."