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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Good book really well written.
Published 28 days ago by Ron C. Samson

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No stupid puns on the title in this review. I promise!
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Tyndale, 1995)
So I figured after nine years, it was time for me to get around to reading the first book in the bestselling Christian fiction series in history, Left Behind. I had always avoided it, not because of the subject matter, but by and large books that break records tend to be writ large by those with the wit,...
Published on June 7 2004 by Robert Beveridge


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No stupid puns on the title in this review. I promise!, June 7 2004
This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Tyndale, 1995)
So I figured after nine years, it was time for me to get around to reading the first book in the bestselling Christian fiction series in history, Left Behind. I had always avoided it, not because of the subject matter, but by and large books that break records tend to be writ large by those with the wit, talent, and grammatical skill of overly enthusiastic six-year-olds. Dame Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, you get the idea. Why should Christian fiction be any different?, I wondered. But despite all that, I dove into it.
Expecting the worst may not have been enough. To call the book naïve would be, perhaps, too kind. It uses the conventions of satire without being in any way satiric, treats its readership like total idiots, has all the spelling and grammar mistakes one could possibly want from a mass-produced piece of claptrap, and various other things, all of which I will attempt to make sound as tactful as possible below. But the bottom line, for those who would rather stop reading now, is this: plot's not bad, but execution is some of the worst I have seen outside self-publishing. Ever.
Without getting into the theological aspects of the book, it is impossible to write a comprehensive review of Left Behind without at least glossing over some of the more interesting (and less Biblical) assertions made by the authors, the most notable being the Rapturing (for lack of a better term) of everyone under the age of puberty. Hmmmmm. Including the ones in juvenile detention for murder? Okay, we'll drop the point. After all, our society is based (wrongly) on the idea that people can't make up their minds until they reach the magic age of eighteen. At least LaHaye and Jenkins dropped the magic age to twelve, for which they must get grudging respect.
But little niggling theological concerns are perhaps less galling than LaHaye and Jenkins' complete and utter inability to ascribe a mote of intelligence to any of their characters, and by inference any of their audience. Not being a Christian and a regular attendee at church, I can't say for certain what the average joe learns about the end times. But even without regular church attendance for the last number of years, I remember enough of the Revelation of St. John from Bible study back in the day to have seen all the major twists coming at least a hundred pages before they actually do. And yet his characters, including the wife and daughter of a fundamentalist, are completely oblivious. Writing a book like this as a mystery/thriller, it seems, was not the way to go. Or if it were, perhaps adding a couple of extras who might have looked like they, too, could be the Antichrist might have helped with the suspense angle. (They do attempt a move exactly like this, but way too late and way too ineffectively.)
I spent at least a hundred fifty pages of this book wondering, "where's the satire?" It was, of course, absent; LaHaye and Jenkins are deadly serious about approaching this series as novels mirroring the born-again Christian take on the end times. And yet despite their seriousness, they embrace the conventions of satire with open arms. Their businesses are thinly-disguised actual corporations with names that, in other circumstances, might be considered clever digs at those companies; their characters' names are ludicrous without being prophetic, a favorite mechanism of Dickens and Pynchon; the characters are often overwrought (and, really, it takes a good deal of mastery of the dime novel to make characters overact ON PAPER!); the aforementioned predictability in the mystery; you name it. It's all got the surface makings of great satire. Which makes me wonder how cool it would actually be if, after the series is finished, LaHaye and Jenkins called a press conference and yelled "April fools!" But I don't see that happening, and neither do you.
Fully addressing the spelling and grammatical horrors in this book would take a book-length review, so we'll just note their existence, sneer at them, and move on to the stilted dialogue, the characters (who are cardboard cutouts of the thinnest stripe) and their inability to relate to one another (aside from, one assumes, snickering at the silliness of each others' names in the background), the constant use of cliché, the stopping of the plot every once in a while to throw in some gratuitous moralization (but this being right-wing Christian fiction, I expected a three-hundred-page altar call; I was not disappointed), and all the other little pieces of amateurism that add up to this book being of such horrible architecture that its popularity is really worth weeping over for the lover of the English language. It is obvious, here more than anywhere, that people are more than willing to overlook fatal flaws in the language as long as they can understand the book's message. St. McLuhan has lost the battle once and for all, and sixty-two million copies of the Left Behind novels speak with the public's booming voice: the message is the medium.
It's enough to make a body want to give up reading. * 
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Left Behind in the Ratings, June 22 2004
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This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
I read this book quite some time ago, and managed to struggle through the second and part of the third in the series. I find it incredibly preachy and poorly written. The plot was sketchy, the characters were weak (especially the women, who seemed incapable of anything but emotional displays and never were adequately developed as characters).
Additionally I have a problem with many of the rather doomsday, narrow interpretations of Biblical eschatology that seem to be circulating among the evangelical community these days. I find these views exceedingly narrow and sometimes disturbing: how about trying to solve some of our problems here on earth? At its best, the church (even today) has promoted charitable efforts and positive societal change (witness the Quaker and Abolitionist stances on slavery, for instance). A Rome-based charitable organization has successfully brokered peace deals in Mozambique and Guatemala. To me, anyway, these people are fulfilling the true and noble calling of faith to help others. By contrast, I find the trends in eschatology and prophetic interpretation alternately absurd, scarist, conspiratorial, and disturbing.
My conclusion: save your money. At the risk of over-generalizing allow me to say that the entire genre of Eschatological literature is useless.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, June 30 2014
By 
Ron C. Samson "ronster" (canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
Good book really well written.
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3.0 out of 5 stars school prject, Feb. 21 2013
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This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
Did not like it the book, jumps around too much, seems like one story dosn't finish everything before another story starts.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Left behind, Jan. 27 2013
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The only thing I did not like was how they just left you hanging at the end. Is there another book?
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT, April 24 2003
This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
I've only heard of one person that I know that didn't like this book. I couldn't believe he didn't like it because I thought it was one of the best I've ever read.
** If you start reading this, don't stop because the ending is a shocking suprise.
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4.0 out of 5 stars interesting, July 19 2014
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This book made me stop and think "Would I be left behind?" Some reflecting going on. Good writing and easy to follow the storyline. Looking forward to the next book in the series.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All who think this is good writing need to be taken by God.., July 18 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
I have read some bad books before, but this is quite possible the worst one I have had the misfortune to pick up. I could not make it past page 75. Terrible writing, bad plot, one-dimensional characters. But hey, in a country where reality TV is such a hit, what do you expect, garbage sells! Of course, that will not change the minds of the religious zealots that have flocked to this series like a bunch of mindless sheep. Do yourself a favor, read something else...By the way, is there way to give this a negative 5?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a real pager turner, even for the non-Christian, July 18 2004
By 
Adam Missner (Roswell, GA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
Left Behind and the 11 sequels are really just one long novel. It is possible, though not satisfying to read only the first one. I really enjoyed the first novel, Left Behind (well enough to read the next 11), although I actually stopped reading it for a while because the focus on the disbelievers was maddening. Millions of people all over the world disappear at once (coicidentally the die-hard Christians), and there is some question about what has happened? I suppose LeHaye and Jenkins were trying to convey just how ridiculous the non-Christians must seem to the Christians, but it was a bit overboard and actually a little boring. Anyway, our heroes finally accept Christ and the rest of the novels were action packed page turners. Of course, the Antichrist takes over rule of the world using the UN and the promise of world peace. I actually laughed out loud when the Antichrist was promising peace and extolling the exact sentiments you hear in the average Hillary Clinton speech (coincidence?). The novels read just an epic disaster novel and were just as fun. I would warn people who are anti-religion that the preaching is a little thick, but I enjoyed it and it was necessary to set the proper tone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Yawn., June 20 2004
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This review is from: Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days (Paperback)
Is it fair to review a book I didn't finish reading? Sure, in hopes of saving someone else the money of buying it. Why didn't I finish reading it? Perhaps it was the:
1. Horrid logic. At the beginning, we learn that two events have already happened. A scientist has invented a chemical fertilizer for making the deserts bloom in Israel, which solves all of Israel's problems --even though Israel's problems are not generally considered to be agricultural in nature. And a nuclear attack on Israel by Russia is thwarted when the bombs explode over Israel without hitting the ground-- hardly much use when you consider the radiation that such bombs would have released.
2. Bad writing. If I ever hire a ghost writer, I'm gonna pick a guy who can write.
3. Stupid characters. By the time I threw the book across the room in disgust (around page 39), roughly 40 had been introduced, if you don't count the women. And you can't count the women, because all they do is act stupid and clingy and hang around waiting for the men to protect them, which the men do with the same consideration and kindness one might exhibit toward a wounded and exceptionally stupid sheep.
But perhaps I didn't give the series a fair shake. I couldn't. Nausea had set in. I will say this for it-- it has gotten a segment of the population reading that normally doesn't read much.
Unfortunately, it also promotes the belief that we won't be needing the world much longer, which has extremely unfortunate ramifications for the environment, public health, and international relations.
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Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days
Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days by Jenkins Jerry B." "Jenkins " (Paperback - Feb. 12 1996)
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