A compelling and sometimes disturbing look into more than 50 mysterious cults, complete with stories from ex-members and profiles of their often-enigmatic leaders.
With a decline in organized religion and an explosion in social-media followers and factions, our interest in cults, sects, and radical religions continues unabated. While groups such as the Moonies or the Children of God have been dismissed as harmless, the mass suicides, atrocities, attacks, extremist rhetoric, and spiraling wealth and power of some of the more recent movements suggest a darker side. Robert Schro der places 50 ancient and modern cults--from Osiris and the Knights Templar to the Branch Davidian, Hellfire Clubs, Manson "family," Jonestown, Concerned Christians, Jesus Army, Rajneeshis, and The Apotheosis of Elvis--in historical and cultural context, tracing their existence back to the earliest days of mankind. Investigating the essence of their continued appeal through the experiences of ex-members and explorations of their leaders, he provides compelling and sometimes disturbing insight into these shadowy societies. This edition is fully updated to reflect the aftermath of the millennium, the rise of extremism, and the influence of the internet age.