Skip to main content

Cults in Our Midst : The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace

Cults in Our Midst : The Continuing Fight Against Their Hidden Menace
by Margaret Thaler Singer

Click Here to Purchase

Cults in Our Midst by Margaret Thaler Singer

From Publishers Weekly
Clinical psychologist Singer, emeritus professor at Berkeley, and former cult member Lalich (coauthor of Captive Hearts, Captive Minds) here present an instructive report on the cult phenomenon, which they regard as a growing menace around the world. They define cults as organizations that feature "coordinated programs of coercive influence and behavioral control," many religiously or politically oriented and increasingly centered on New Age self-improvement techniques that they claim are now being peddled to businesses. They enumerate the dangers of cults to the individual, particularly the attack on the sense of self; they analyze the leaders' techniques (almost all these groups are authoritarian), including isolation from family and friends, trance induction, guided imagery and indirect suggestion; they offer practical advice on methods of helping survivors to escape and recover. Includes an appendix of resources and organizations for those seeking help.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
In 1992, Singer (emeritus adjunct, psychology, Univ. of California at Berkeley) unsuccessfully sued the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association, alleging conspiracy to discredit her research and destroy her reputation. That suit and this book hinge on whether Singer's theory of "coercive persuasion" (i.e., nonphysical coercion) is demonstrably valid. Fully a third of this book is a replay of Singer's previous studies and arguments, with the remainder applying her questioned paradigm to cult-associated tragedies. While Midst does present numerous examples of deceptive recruitment and other unethical practices, no new ground is broken. Further, as the title implies, Singer's approach is alarmist and often tabloidesque. Lalich's earlier Captive Hearts, Captive Minds (LJ 7/94) is a better choice, contending with cult-associated problems in a more pragmatic, more substantial, and less hysterical manner. In addition, all libraries should own a copy of J. Gordon Melton's definitive Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (Garland, 1992. 2d. rev. ed.).?Bill Piekarski, Southwestern Coll. Lib., Chula Vista, Cal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Though the title may seem sensational, the book is a well-researched, enlightening introduction to a serious subject. Singer is a clinical psychologist and emeritus adjunct professor at the University of California at Berkeley who has interviewed several thousand former cult members and testified about cults and their "thought reform" tactics; Lalich is a professional writer and former cult member. The strength of Cults in Our Midst is its clear explanation of the nature of cults, how they operate, the threat they pose to individuals, families, and society, and how others can help cult survivors escape and recover. Many types of cultic relationships are considered, from tiny religious or occult groups to the "large group awareness training" programs that have infiltrated workplaces. The book makes key distinctions between New Age ideas and the cults that use these concepts and between types of persuasion, from education to propaganda to cults' manipulative "thought reform." Most Americans, Cults in Our Midst stresses, will be vulnerable to cults at some point in their lives. Includes resource and suggested reading lists. Mary Carroll

Midwest Book Review
Most people believe that cult members are mentally unbalanced or are misfits who live in remote places, like the doomed devotees of Jim Jones and David Koresh. We take comfort in the fact that the influences of cultures are far removed from our everyday lives. _- Nothing could be further from the truth!

Book Description
Cults today are bigger than ever, with broad ramifications for national and international terrorism. In this newly revised edition of her definitive work on cults, Singer reveals what cults really are and how they work, focusing specifically on the coercive persuasion techniques of charismatic leaders seeking money and power. The book contains fascinating updates on Heaven's Gate, Falun Gong, Aum Shinrikyo, Hare Krishna, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and the connection between cults and terrorism in Al Queda and the PLO.

Inside Flap Copy
Most people believe that cult members are mentally unbalanced or are misfits who live in remote places, like the doomed devotees of Jim Jones and David Koresh. We take comfort in the fact that the influences of cults are far removed from our everyday lives.Nothing could be further from the truth.Over the past two decades, in the United States alone, an estimated twenty million people have joined cults. Today, three to five thousand cults are working to recruit new members. At any point in time, two-and-a-half to three million Americans are active cult members. Often a cult is disguised as a legitimate business or organization: a restaurant, self-help group, psychotherapy clinic, or leadership training program could be a front for a cult. Anyone--no matter what age or income level--could be susceptible to the covert and seductive nature of a cult. People are especially vulnerable to these masterful manipulators during periods of traumatic life changes: a college student away from home for the first time, a grief-stricken widow in need of understanding and support, or a businessperson transferred by his or her employer to a new and unfamiliar community.The country's leading authority on cults, Margaret Thaler Singer, calls on her nearly fifty years of expertise to write the definitive book on cults. Written with author and former cult member Janja Lalich, Singer's first book is a shocking exposea that reveals what cults are and how they work. Cults in Our Midst offers vital information on how to help people escape cult entrapments and recover from the experience. This compelling book debunks commonly held myths and answers perplexing questions about cults such as:

** Why don't people just leave cults?

** What characteristics do cults have in common?

** Why isn't the U.S. Marines or Alcoholics Anonymous considered a cult?

** Who are the people most likely to join cults?

** Where can I go for help if someone I love is living in a cult?

From the Back Cover
Cults today are bigger than ever, with broad ramifications for national and international terrorism. In this newly revised edition of her definitive work on cults, Singer reveals what cults really are and how they work, focusing specifically on the coercive persuasion techniques of charismatic leaders seeking money and power. The book contains fascinating updates on Heaven's Gate, Falun Gong, Aum Shinrikyo, Hare Krishna, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and the connection between cults and terrorism in Al Queda and the PLO.

"What makes Cults in Our Midst so absorbing is Singer's ability to show the extremely damaging effect of cults as well as the lure that cults may have for the 'average' people in 'normal' life. Cults often emerge cyclically— but they never disappear. A 'good' time for cults is the end of the millennium, when people become obsessed with apocalyptic notions . . . [but] they never really disappear."
San Francisco Chronicle

"The definitive A to Z work on cults. . . . It would have been a tremendous resource and comfort to me and my family through our ordeals."
Patricia Ryan, daughter of Congressman Leo Ryan, who was assassinated by members of Jim Jones's Peoples Temple

About the Author
Margaret Thaler Singer is a clinical psychologist and emeritus adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In her career she has counseled and interviewed more than 3,000 current and former cult members and their relatives and friends. An expert on post-traumatic stress as well as cults, she lectures widely in the United States and abroad. She is the coauthor of "Crazy" Therapies.


 

Click Here to Purchase

Back to Cult Recovery Books

Back to Recommended Books Index

One method of helping to support our non-profit organization is to purchase the books you need for your research via our website. As an affiliate of Amazon.com we get a percentage of every book we sell on their behalf.

Reviews are not by FACTNet staff

 

Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes
escort marseille