Have a Nice Doomsday: Why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world
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Have a Nice Doomsday: Why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world

3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  110 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Journeying to the dusty heartlands of America's Bible Belt, Nicholas Guyatt goes in search of the truth behind a startling statistic: 50 million Americans believe the apocalypse will take place in their own lifetimes.





They're convinced that, any day now, Jesus will snatch up his followers and spirit them to heaven. For the rest of us, things are going to get very nasty inde...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Ebury Press (first published July 5th 2007)
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Jen
When I was young I was told that Jesus would come back like a "thief in the night." It was said to me like it was a golden, glowing promise- something sweet and something sure to happen any day now. The words thief and night scared me to death, and since I was also told that no one would know the hour of his coming I would every day wake up and say with as much certainty as I could muster, "Jesus is coming back today" just to make sure that he wouldn't.
That said, I totally got this book. I kn...more
Kate
I am so fascinated by apocalyptic culture and this is a great look into some of the US's famous personalities like Tim La Haye, Joel Rosenberg and John Hagee. Their political influence is pretty frightening, especially the fact that they are used as "middle east experts" on Fox news without disclosing that they believe war in the Middle East will hasten the apocalypse and their own rapture!!
Dave
An interesting read. The author interviews several well known evangelical christian leaders with the end of the world as the main topic of discussion. He pokes and prods, suggests and intimates, but never comes out and says what he seems to be thinking (and probably what many people who choose to read this book are thinking)...he shifts back and forth between a slightly mocking tone of narration and that of a serious interviewer/journalist. Just when you think he's gonna hit you with his punch l...more
Andrew (Ace)
What you'll think of this book depends on what you're expecting it to be.

If, like me, you're expecting a gentle mickey-take of wacky American preachers rooted in end-times prophecy (as you'd expect from the title and my edition's cover) you'll be disappointed.

The book is reasonably easy to read in most places, although I got stuck around chapters 3-4, when you suddenly hit a block of solid history, detailing apocalyptic thinking from the past few hundred years for 50 pages or so. Once you get b...more
Catherine
This is a well written easy read book and attempts to deal fairly with the people interviewed and their beliefs. The author tries to find out how such beliefs came about and what sustains them. He also looks at why they have evolved and how they are portrayed depending on the messenger.

It's hard not to see that the author feels that the beliefs are "odd" and not his own but he tries valiantly not to say that.

If your reading this book you probably already have firm views of the Rapture and this b...more
Marian Weaver

Although this book is a little dated (having been written in 2007), it's a fascinating overview of some of the biggest names in the apocalyptic Christian movement. Guyatt interviews everyone from the 1970s 'prophet' Hal Lindsey (author of the hipper-than-thou The Late Great Planet Earth) to Tim LaHaye, the driving force behind the infamous Left Behind series. For the most part, the interviews are conducted politely and Guyatt gives every impression that he sincerely wants to know the story behin...more
Cory
It is bizarre that so many people are taken in by these ideas, but it is an interesting read. Nicholas Guyatt is a Brit who tries to understand the American doomsday prophets and their message.
Melissa
"Have a Nice Doomsday" is a delightful read, but I start off with a caution - if you expect the book to answer the question on the subtitle, "Why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world," you will leave disappointed. Looking past this, I strongly recommend this book.

A British historian is intrigued by the popularity of the Left Behind series. Americans used to thrive on the ideology that God had predestined America to be a light to the world, a shining city on the hill...more
Paul
Excellent! In fact, it really explains it all... I get it now.
Jay
Throughout this book, I kept waiting for Nicholas Guyatt to come out and say that he thought the apocalyptic believers he was interviewing were a bunch of nutjobs. That's what I felt he kept building up to. He kept pointing out how wild some of their predictions/prophecies were, and how some of their predictions/prophecies failed. He also repeatedly pointed out how today's apocalyptic preacher's predecessors had been mocked in the past when their predictions didn't come true. But Guyatt didn't l...more
Michael
Jul 07, 2012 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in various religious beliefs.
Recommended to Michael by: I found it on the shelf at the library.
This book is one man's tour through the Christian Apocalypse movement. If you've ever read any of the "Left Behind" series by Tim LeHaye and Jerry Jenkins, then you have some idea of what this particular subset of Christians believes. If you haven't, then the basic idea is that the Bible basically lays out how world events will (and are) working out God's plan to bring about the end of life as we know it and usher in a new theocratic reign led by Jesus Christ.

I can say that, having been raised i...more
Liz
Jan 02, 2008 Liz rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the influence of Christian fundamentalism on American politics.
I was very excited about this book and found myself a little dissapointed by the end. A great idea--exploring why more than 50 million Americans believe that the Second Coming, or at least the Rapture, will happen in their lifetime and the influence that this belief has on American foriegn policy--ended up feeling forced and kind of shallow. The author didn't even try to hide his condecension when interviewing and reviewing Bible prophecy enthusiasts, which I think it pretty irresponsible for re...more
Dave
I liked this book, although I don't think it ever really answered "why millions of Americans are looking forward to the end of the world." It did answer why a few influential evangelical pastors and writers might be, though.
Guyatt interviews some of the key poeple in the "End Times" movement and also does a good job giving a broad history of Christian end time phrophecy beliefs (all of which did not go according to predictions). Guyatt does use a kind of humorous, slightly mocking tone in his wr...more
Vanessa
This book was difficult to read due to the subject matter but it is well worth the time to read if you are curious about the current perverse obsession in some parts of the US with the mythical End Times. I was particularly distressed that prophecy enthusiasts like John Hagee and Joel Rosenthal are presented as "Middle Eastern experts" on Fox News without their true backgrounds being explained (they are fomenting their opinions on current events from poring over the Old Testament, not from any s...more
Kenneth
I gave this book a full five stars.

It is difficult to add on to other positive reviews of this book. Like other readers, I could personally relate to this story. I grew up with a fundamentalist christian parent. I knew all about end time prophecies. I remember hearing about the rapture, the Great Tribulation, and how Jesus would come like a "thief in the night." So I was very interested in the topic. And it is a strange topic, but millions take it very seriously.

Guyatt tracks down and interviews...more
Kate
Jan 11, 2012 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Susie Meister
Recommended to Kate by: Vesna
The British-born author tackles two key questions:
Why do so many Americans believe the world is about to end? (50 million Americans believe the Apocalypse will happen within their lifetime.)
And should the rest of us be worried that they do? (Many leaders in this movement are actively involved in politics.)

Pretty interesting, though by the end I was getting a bit confused as to which Apocalyptic preacher was which. The author also does a very good job of weaving in a history of various religiou...more
Eoin
Interesting book on the resurgence of Bible based prophecy in the US and also the phenomenon that is the massive selling Left Behind books that deal with the Rapture, and the increasing political and media influence of apocolyptic preachers like John Hagee who appears regularly on Fox News calling for the invasion of Iran and suchlike. (Although he believes that the invasion of Iran is an essential part of the hastening of End Times, this is rarely pointed out when he appears on Fox).

It features...more
Megan
I expected this to be quite scholarly but it had more of a journalistic edge. Guyatt's interviews and insights are intriguing but he fails to address his primary thesis directly which makes the book seem more like a collection of experiences and anecdotes with little histories rather than a large, coherent work focused on the question of how much influence right wing evangelicals have on American politics and to what extent the movement is homogeneous and organized.
Tom Griffith
Quite an engaging read, but nowhere near as incisive and penetrating as I would have liked. Guyatt lets these nutbags spout their irrational nonsense without really questioning it, and portrays them in a cutesy-Americana kind of way which belies their dangerous and frightening mindsets. However, he does a good job of covering the issue of apocalyptic Christianity, and he has further increased my scepticism of anyone who calls themselves a prophet or evangelical.
Beth Chandler
I figured this would be a comparatively painless way to learn about apocalyptic Christians, and it is--well written and humorous. Doesn't make the apocalyptic Christians and their agenda any less scary though.

I'm halfway through now and the story continues to be informative (in matters ranging from Biblical quotations to Cromwell-era British prophetic theology) and an interesting, occasionally tongue-in-cheek humorous read.
bigmuzz
scary...scary to know that some people actually believe what is in this book, and scary to think that it isnt just a couple of people, it is MILLIONS!!!




a very interesting book with a lot of concepts and ideas i had never heard before relating to the apparent impending rapture and biblical apocalypse that we all will face very soon...
Shannon Reed
This is interesting - a good overview of Rapture theology and the men who have propagated it in America. They are sexist, racist and homophobic, which makes for a maddening read... while the author's tone is very even keeled, I really wanted him to scream "What? WHAT?? You're INSANE!" from time to time. Ah well. I suppose that's why I am not a journalist anymore.
Varina
While this is an interesting read full of all sorts of entertaining and enlightening tidbits I can't help but feel the author failed to make any sort of coherent point. This is more like a collection of interviews with apocalyptic authors than the examination of Apocalyptic Christianity on American politics that it claims to be.
Tim
Mildly interesting. The title is much more provocative than the book itself, which feels like a long-winded Harper's Essay. Some interesting details on inter-evangelical feuding, which I know little and care even less about.
Kaye
Since I am already familiar with apocalyptic culture, this book did not hold any great surprises to me. The most interesting part was the description of the "Left Behind" video game, which made me laugh out loud in horror.
mvanhouten
Interesting and somewhat alarming report on various groups and individuals in the U.S. looking forward to the (to them imminent) rapture.
Scott
Very well written and entertaining examination of the Christian Right's fascination with the End Times.
Kathi
An interesting read about people who believe in the second coming and the apocalypse.
Michael
not too bad, pretty repetitive if you know about crazy christians
h.a. eugene
A good primer on a frightening topic.
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