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Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire Paperback – June 10, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (June 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932360964
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932360967
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Having sold over 70 million copies worldwide since their 1995 inception, Tim LaHaye's Left Behind series, currently 15 novels strong, is an account of biblical apocalypse in our time-based on the New Testament book of Revelation-and has been called "the most widely experienced religious teaching ... among adults who are not born again Christians." Standaert argues that, by literally demonizing huge swaths of the population and, no less importantly, the liberal agenda (public health care, for example, is portrayed as a tool of the devil), the series is less fiction than it is militant fundamentalist propaganda, advocating the elimination of non-believers and the establishment of an American-and ultimately a global-theocracy. Standaert has done his homework, exploring the wealthy and well-connected network of like-minded Christians who, taken as a group, exert a vast influence over American society and politics through foundations, universities, radio stations, Web sites, book clubs, publishing houses, political lobbying and activist coalitions. Tracing connections between all the players in overwhelming detail, however, slows the book's momentum, potentially turning off even those sympathetic to Standaert's assessment. Despite this, his book is an important look at the premilennialist movement, illuminating the potential for such a group to evolve into the kind of violent religious factions that the U.S. and others are struggling to stamp out across the globe.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Michael Standaert has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Review, Maisonneuve (Montreal), Far Eastern Economic Review, Reason Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal Europe, and Salon.com. He received an MA in European Journalism from Cardiff University.

More About the Author

Michael Standaert is a freelance journalist currently serving as a special correspondent for Bloomberg BNA, primarily covering regulatory and legal matters related to environmental and trade policy in China and Southeast Asia. A recent contributor to GlobalPost and MIT Technology review, Standaert has also written for a wide variety of other publications as a journalist in the US and Europe since 1997. Before coming to China in 2007, Standaert published the novel The Adventures of the Pisco Kid and the non-fiction work Skipping Towards Armageddon. He lives in Shenzhen in southern China with his wife and daughter.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Preston C. Enright on June 8, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this crucial expose of the violence of LaHaye's imperial theology, Standaert reveals how the "Left Behind" series serves US hegemony, including its bloody aggression in Iraq. Not only are people in other lands demonized, but domestic enemies of right-wing fanaticism are caricatured as well. LaHaye's antichrist character, Nicolae Carpathia, takes on virtually every liberal stereotype and becomes a figurehead for all that is evil according to LaHaye (and talk show hosts like Dennis Prager). Anybody outside of the club of war-mongering religious insiders are targeted for elimination. It's interesting how Standaert points out how this process dehumanizes both the non-believers and believers.

To make matters worse, this fall LaHaye will release "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," a hyper-violent, graphically advanced video game, similar to "Grand Theft Auto." Instead of bashing prostitutes' heads and blowing away cops, you kill assorted 'evildoers.' Standaert points out in an article entitled "Grand Theft Armageddon" that this is the latest (and most violent) in a series of video games to advance LaHaye's apocalyptic narrative, reach out to people who haven't been exposed to the book, and raise funds for LaHaye's political activism (he boasts of spending half of his earnings on his political agenda). Incidentally, LaHaye is the co-founder of the "Moral Majority."

In addition to Standaert's book, Chip Berlet has important books and a website that reveal this ominous growth of an ugly dominator world view.
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10 of 16 people found the following review helpful By James V. Holton on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very well researched--might even say exhaustively so--work about the incredibly popular Left Behind series. Standaert delivers an impressive analysis of the dispensationalist, fundamentalist mentality that pervades this book and so much of modern popular Christian culture. He does a great job of exposing many of the hidden assumptions of the series such as its pervasive violence, nihilism, intolerance and anti- mentality (anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti"moderate Christian, etc.). Apologists who would argue that such devices are just literary license to tell a story should bear in mind that without the violence, bigotry and hatred espoused by LaHaye and Jenkins in the books, there would be no story to tell.

This book more properly deserves 3.5 stars, but I went with 4 since 3 would seem like damning with faint praise. There are a couple deficiences that when known make the book more readable. First, the organization tends to be a little slipshod. The chapters read more like a group of essays rather than a cohesive monograph; as a result it often seems like Standaert is trodding over the same ground from chapter to chapter. Second, due to this lack of organization his analyses a) often come across as personal attacks on LaHaye rather than objective conclusions, b) don't really speak to those who may have sympathies towards LaHaye et al's brand of Christianity, even fleetingly, but who need to be convinced more compellingly. Such people may be inclined to see Standaert as vindicating LaHaye's paranoia and misplaced literalism (some further explanation of the author's own spiritual inclinations may have helped delineate his points). Those who do not believe in this type of millennialism will find an impressive array of facts to respond to LaHaye's supporters.

Third, there are small typos and misspellings that may drive those so inclined to notice such things crazy--e.g. referring to German chancellor Helmut Kohl as "Kohn."
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mayor McCheese on June 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
The content of this book was interesting and well sourced if a little bit repetitive and heavy-handed. However, the printed text was riddled with numerous typos--sometimes as many as 2 or 3 per page! I can only assume that this is the fault of the publisher and not the author. Don't read this book if typos drive you crazy!

Author: 4 stars
Publisher: 1 star
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Teemacs on April 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
There's nothing worse than a fanatic, someone who single-mindedly believes in something to such an extent as to exclude the possibility of there being an alternative (and perhaps even legitimate) point of view. Religion and politics are the two most deadly forms of the disease, and when they combine, there is the potential for disaster - think of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, when it had something approaching the political authority to enforce its position as The One True Church. While the current situation in the USA is not so far gone, it continues to move worryingly in that direction, with some people clearly determined to establish America as "a Christian country", i.e., a theocracy. And when that comes, you can bet that it will be every bit as intolerant as any Islamic country. But it can't happen - can it?

In the USA, an almost religious belief in America as the cure to the world's ills (as opposed to a prime cause thereof) and Republican politics have combined to produce a frightful monster of an offspring, which has twisted and perverted the whole political discourse in the USA. It may represent the greatest danger to the planet that we have ever seen, and we probably have not seen the last of it.

Tim LaHaye's "Left Behind" books are not merely badly-written religious pulp fiction based on highly dubious theology (anyone who maintains s/he understands Revelation clearly needs his/her head read), but an attempt to promote the narrow ideology of the religious right, with its complete intolerance of, well, everything except itself. They preach the rightness of theocracy by basing the story on the ultimate theocracy, the Second Coming of Jesus to establish a very non-democratic Kingdom on earth.
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