Tackling a force as formidable as any nature might offer, Jon Krakauer explores the nature of religious belief in what may be his bravest book yet. In this national bestseller, he traces the history of the Mormon religion from its beginnings in 1830 in New York state to the founding of its Utah-based headquarters in 1847 to modern times. But Krakauer's real focus is on modern-day groups of fundamentalist radicals who have split from the denomination's mainstream due to doctrinal differences. The rebel Mormons' story, dotted with incidents of violence, abuse, pedophilia and murder, forms the core of Krakauer's surreal report from the American West. This darkly fascinating account of Mormonism is thoroughly researched and engaging. A reading group guide is available online at www.randomhouse.com/anchor.

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