Jon Krakauer is an American writer and mountaineer, primarily known for his writings about the outdoors, especially mountain-climbing. He is the author of best-selling non-fiction books: Into the Wild, Into Thin Air,Under the Banner of Heaven, and Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman as well as numerous magazine articles.
Born in 1954, Jon Krakauer grew up in Corvallis, Oregon, where his father introduced him to mountaineering as an eight-year-old. After graduating from Hampshire College in 1976, Krakauer divided his time between Colorado, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest, supporting himself primarily as a carpenter and commercial salmon fisherman. For the next two decades, however, his life revolved around climbing mountains.
In 1996 Krakauer climbed Mt. Everest, but a storm took the lives of four of the five teammates who reached the summit with him. An analysis of the calamity he wrote for Outside magazine received a National Magazine Award. The unsparingly forthright book he subsequently wrote about Everest, Into Thin Air, became a #1 New York Times bestseller and was translated into more than twenty-five languages. It was also Time magazine's Book of the Year, and was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. An article he wrote for Smithsonian about volcanology received the 1997 Walter Sullivan Award for Excellence in Science Journalism.
In 2003, Krakauer published Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, about religious fundamentalism in the American West. While researching Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, published in 2009, Krakauer spent five months embedded with combat forces along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In 2011, he published Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way. His most recent work is Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town (2015).
He lives with his wife in Boulder, Colorado.
This biography was last updated on 09/05/2015.
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Jon Krakauer Responds to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' Official Response To 'Under The Banner of Heaven'
At the end of June 2003, the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints issued an official "response" to
my new book, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith.
Disseminated nationwide more than two weeks before my book was scheduled to
appear on bookstore shelves, this preemptive attack was authored by Richard E.
Turley, Jr., a high-ranking church official who serves as managing director of
the LDS Family and Church History Department. In his lengthy, carefully worded
screed, Elder Turley characterized Under the Banner of Heaven as "a
decidedly one-sided and negative view of Mormon history." According to his
assessment, my book was written as "a condemnation of religion
generally," and the Mormon faith in particular.
It saddens me that Elder Turley, speaking for the LDS leadership (and by extension for the church as a whole), elected to regard my book in such a reductionist light. Other reviewers have assessed Under the Banner of Heaven quite differently. As critic Edward Morris wrote in the July issue of Bookpage, "Raised among Mormons he greatly admired, Krakauer ...
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