Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
Read it with a frosted mug of Polygamy Porter by Wasatch Brewery
You know your brewer has a sense of humor when he moves to Utah and brews beer with names like “Polygamy Porter” and “Brigham’s Brew.”
But I digress, this isn’t about the beer, it’s about the book … or is it? What was my assignment again?
I’m not sure why I felt the sudden urge to read this book. I attempted a decade ago and got as far as satellite dumping in the desert (for some reason, that specifically remained in the memory banks). I think what actually may have happened is I couldn’t get past the gruesome murders the book is centered around. I mustered through this time, but geesh.
Seriously. Gruesome, disturbing murders.
Not to mention the polygamy of it all. Yikes.
However, I’m always a fan when history is mixed with intrigue (straight history makes me bury my face and take a little brain snooze), and this provides loads of intrigue. Conspiracy theories co-mingle with historical accounts and it all tells the story of how the Mormon church came to be alongside its ugly friend polygamy. It’s juxtaposed beside the murder of Brenda and Erica Lafferty in 1984 committed by fundamentalist fanatics (Brenda’s brother-in-laws, in fact – total sick bastards).
This book isn’t for the faint of heart (or maybe skip the gruesome bits if you want to brave it anyway). Regardless, Krakauer always drafts a good tale (whether you believe every word he writes or not*), and Under the Banner is no exception.
If Under the Banner isn’t quite your mug of beer, try The Nineteenth Wife which is a fictionalized account of the real life of Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham Young’s expulsed wives. It begins with a murder, too, but is considerably lighter and less theological. The book isn’t the best, but it is gossip-y and a good way to spend an afternoon in a hammock with a frosty beverage.
*Google The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev; in fact, read Into Thin Air by Krakauer and The Climb by Boukreev and figure out the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
Literary Libations is a monthly post where Amanda pairs a book with a beverage (it may be beer, wine, a cocktail–or it may have nothing at all to do with alcohol). Some may even include recipes. So, keep an eye out near the end of each month.