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Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion

Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion
by Marc Galanter

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Cults: Faith, Healing, and Coercion by Marc Galanter

From Publishers Weekly
This report, the result of "15 years of studying the psychology of contemporary charismatic groups," offers possibilities in the treatment of mental illness and the understanding of group violence. Galanter, professor of psychiatry at New York University, demonstrates that many of the counterculture movements of the '60s, then considered exotic, are now elements of mainstream American life. Taking a scientific stance, he investigates the psychology of various zealous groups, seeking the source of their influence. Galanter's range is wide, including disparaged groups like MOVE and the one led by Jim Jones, as well as healing programs based on the AA model. First-person accounts of conversions and disillusionment, and a detailed look at the apparently successful "Moonie" movement, support this objective, comprehensive analysis of cult power.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
YA-- Without passing judgment on the groups studied, Galanter compares different cult groups for an understanding of their psychological make-up. He examines the effects of group cohesiveness, shared beliefs, and altered consciousness as common forces in what he calls "charismatic" groups, and details the similarities between cults and zealous self-help groups. Cults and zealous religious sects include the troubled People's Temple in Guyana (Jonestown), MOVE, the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, and even Alcoholics Anonymous. Based on careful research, the wealth of information and copious first-hand accounts of individual experiences illustrate the domination of the cult/charismatic leader over personal daily routines and help to explain why individuals can make strong, and in many cases enduring, commitments to absolute strangers in ways that would seem unusual in other group settings. Although the material, vocabulary, and format are scholarly, the prose is easily accessible, highly readable, and clear. The format should not deter young adults searching for information on this popular research-paper topic.
- Gwen Salama, Hastings High School, Houston
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
Based on 15 years of study on the psychology of contemporary charismatic groups, Galanter's scholarly Cults examines the social and behavioral influences that lead to cultic conversion. Though he considers some of the aspects that can cause abusive and violent extremes--discussing, for example, the Unification Church and Divine Light Mission--he sees a group like Alcoholics Anonymous as a successful and beneficial example of a similar phenomenon. His book is thus more neutral and open than Cults & Consequences , a general handbook of short articles and excerpts from various experts. Editors Andres and Lane intend their book as a practical guide for parents and others concerned with the threat of cults. They provide information on such subjects as recruiting techniques, indoctrination methods, and the legal aspects of conservatorships and forced deprogramming. A directory of organizations is provided for readers seeking help. Both books have useful bibliographies. Together, they give a mutually enhancing look at the current cult phenomenon. Both are recommended.
- C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description
From the mass weddings of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church to the ritual suicides at Heaven's Gate, charismatic cults and their devotees have become facts of American life. Using material gleaned from twenty-five years of direct encounters with cults and their detractors, as well as extensive research, Marc Galanter offers the most extensive psychological analysis of these organizations available. Cults explores not only how members feel and think at all stages of their involvement, but also how larger social and psychological forces reinforce individual commitment within the cults. . 

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