Of course, it’s not that every reader of the more than 50 million Left Behind books sold so far is an end-times fundamentalist any more than every Eminem fan is a homophobe. Nor are the books guaranteed to change their audiences’ views on American foreign policy — the relationship between culture and politics is never that simple. But the stories people tell themselves about the world necessarily shape the way they act in it, and right now, this is the story that’s captivating America.
The point isn’t that all these leaders are part of some kind of right-wing Illuminati. It’s simply that the seemingly wacky ideology promulgated in the Left Behind books is one that important people in America are quite comfortable with. The Left Behind series provides a narrative and a theological rationale for a whole host of perplexing conservative policies, from the White House’s craven decision to cut off aid to the United Nations Family Planning Fund to America’s surreally casual mobilization for an invasion of Baghdad — a city that is, in the Left Behind books, Satan’s headquarters.
|Title: The Remnant: On the Brink of Armageddon (Left Behind Book 10)|
Author(s): Tim LaHaye, Jerry B Jenkins
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Availability: Amazon Amazon UK Amazon CA
The opening sequence of the first Left Behind book is gripping and cinematic. Rayford Steele, an unhappily married commercial pilot, is flying to London and contemplating an affair with a stewardess, when, handing the controls over to his co-pilot and walking into the cabin, he finds her hysterical. People throughout the plane have disappeared, their clothes left in neat piles on their seats.
One reason often cited for the books' popularity is the quick pacing and action. Michelle Goldberg has written that, "On one level, the attraction of the Left Behind books isn't that much different from that of, say, Tom Clancy or Stephen King. The plotting is brisk and the characterizations Manichean. People disappear and things blow up. The also compared the series to Clancy's works. But those views are not universally shared. Other reviewers have called the series "almost laughably tedious" and "fatuous and boring."