Michael Standaert. Skipping Towards Armageddon

Michael Standaert. Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire. Soft Skull Press, 2006.

One major contribution this book makes is to look critically and thoroughly at the political context of the Left Behind phenomena. This examination is illuminating and alarming. Tim LaHaye has a long history of right wing political activism–fueled in part by his paranoid theology. Standaert makes an important contribution both in tracing LaHaye’s career and connections and in making clear the political impact of the content of the Left Behind books.

This is a readable book that points to many resources to help buttress Standaert’s argument. He clearly is completely negative about LaHaye’s perspective and influence.  However, while his negative perspective comes through clearly throughout, he is reasoned and careful and documents most of his critiques.

It’s not a perfect book. Standaert is not a scholar. He writes well and has done significant research, but on many issues is clearly relying on others’ research–and not always the best research (for instance, he does not refer to Paul Boyer or George Marsden, probably the two most important historians who have written on American fundamentalism and premillennial dispensationalism).

Still, I would recommend this book as an important resource for anyone who wants to understand better why the Left Behind phenomenon is problematic. Beyond most of the critiques I have read, Standaert is especially helpful for his focus on the broader political and cultural issues at play.

 

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