Reviews and Testimonials


“This just may be my favorite true-life amazing-but-true tale—never has threatening an aircraft been funnier or more thought-provoking.”

—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother and Homeland

“I devoured the more than four hundred pages of this memoir in what was essentially one sitting, with time out only for potty breaks, some quick nourishment, and a little unavoidable sleep. Yes, it was that gripping. . . . Shunn very skillfully interweaves his own personal story with the story of Joseph Smith, Jr., the prophet and founder of the LDS church. . . . This memoir is a welcome addition to the library of Mormon autobiography—educational and highly entertaining.”

—Richard Packham, Dawning of a Brighter Day

“I met William Shunn before the events described in this book took place. While I’ve heard bits and pieces of the tale over the years, I never knew the entire story. Nor did I have any real idea what Bill had been thinking at the time. The Accidental Terrorist provides the complete story and puts it into an essential context. In addition, the book grabs you on page one and never lets go. Fantastically written, beautifully paced, The Accidental Terrorist reads like a novel instead of a memoir. Only in novel form, no one would have ever believed these events could have happened. Believe it. William Shunn lived every word of this book. That he can share it so eloquently is a tribute not just to his writing skill, but his strengths as a human being.”

Kristine Kathryn Rusch, USA Today bestselling author

“William Shunn recounts the time he spent as your friendly neighborhood missionary in hilarious, exacting detail. The result is a funny, fast-paced memoir that keeps you engaged through to the last pages. By the very end, the disastrous decision that inspired the title seems almost logical.... I felt his portrayal of his younger self was somehow more compassionate than I’ve read in other coming of age memoirs. When I finished this book, I was reminded of Joan Didion’s advice that we are ‘well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be.’ Shunn resists the temptation to paint himself as either naive or savvy, opting instead for the kind of even-handed description that had me wondering pretty far into the book whether [he] was still a practicing Mormon.... But thanks to the sharp writing and heartfelt detail of author William Shunn, you will not forget for a minute that this is a true story, and a faithful account of a boy sorting out his loyalties. You should buy this book, and a few extra copies too. In fact, keep a stack by the front door. You never know when a friendly visitor might come knocking.”

—Elena Colás, Chicago Literati

The Accidental Terrorist provides vivid glimpses into the American phenomenon of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It compellingly dramatizes the plight of its memoirist, a young man driven by irresistible religious and psychological forces to embark on a two-year mission to spread the heterodox LDS gospel. Ultimately, his heartfelt desire to please his parents, his hard-earned discoveries about Mormon history and practice, and his tortured conscience prompt him, in a moment of intense personal crisis, to make a life-altering decision. You will read few other books as smart, funny, honest, and heartbreaking as William Shunn’s The Accidental Terrorist, and I unreservedly recommend it to you as both a home-grown cautionary tale and a highly original coming-of-age saga.”

—Michael Bishop, author of Ancient of Days and editor of A Cross of Centuries

“Simply fabulous. . . . In The Accidental Terrorist, [William Shunn] gives both a hilarious and painfully honest description of his struggle under the threatening heel of both his abusive father and his church community. I especially loved that he weaves into his personal narrative an engaging retelling of the history of the Mormon Church. . . . Bill even draws some subtle and ironic parallels between his own crisis and the days before Joseph Smith’s death.”

Maria Alexander, Bram Stoker Award–winning author of Mr. Wicker

“So nice when something you’ve been looking forward to not only meets expectations, but surpasses them. One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long, long time. Thrilling, poignant, laugh-out-loud funny, and remarkably informative.”

Michael Libling, World Fantasy Award finalist

“Many autobiographers try play down or soften their youthful misadventures. Shunn faces his past head on. . . . This is an engaging book, both for the pocket history of the Church of the Latter Day Saints and Shunn’s account of his brief but memorable tour as a missionary. I strongly recommend it.”

—James Nicoll, James Nicoll Reviews

“In The Accidental Terrorist, William Shunn recounts the exciting tale of how the Mormon mission machine mobilizes when a missionary attempts to escape—and the lengths they’ll go to stop him. I don’t want to give any spoilers because this is a suspenseful book . . . The Accidental Terrorist is an enjoyable read—far more action-packed than the typical mission memoir.”

—C.L. Hanson, Main Street Plaza

“Bill’s memoir of his time as a missionary and ‘accidental terrorism’ are a testimony to the indoctrination and pressures thousands of young Mormon men and women have been subjected to for decades. While most won’t end up interacting with the justice system as a result, many want to leave early—often going through much heartache in the process. A highly recommended and riveting read!”

Mark Giles, fellow former missionary and short-term escapee (Belgium Brussels Mission, 1979-81)


“William Shunn is one of those SF writers who, because they specialize in short fiction, are not given quite the recognition they deserve . . . only the plaudits of the cognoscenti of the short form. Yet Shunn is a fine writer; ingenious, stylish, closely in touch with current global trends and expert in producing thought-provoking near-future SF.”

—Nick Gevers, Locus

The Accidental Terrorist: Order Your Copy Now!

About the Book

What happens when an ambivalent young Mormon missionary is pushed to the limit in a challenge to prove his faith? Hint: the outcome is explosive. The Accidental Terrorist is the long-awaited memoir from Hugo and Nebula Award–nominated author William Shunn, based on his popular podcast. Available now from Sinister Regard!