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Cults! Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: An Illustrated Guide
Published by Herb Lester Associates
8"x6" cardboard flatbox containing annotated foldout map and 2 postcards
A lavishly illustrated and luxuriously printed large format fold-out poster-guide showing 30 of the most notorious cults active in the US and Canada from the early 20th century to today. Mixing thorough research with lively text, the guide takes in the full spectrum of cult behavior: sex, death, polygamy, religious mania, beings from Outer Space. We’ve all seen them: those tight-knit groups of fellow travelers, dressed in matching colored robes, shaking the can or passing out literature on street corners, smiling at some shared and secret observation. Cults are fascinating, even as we try not to look at them too closely. But when we do take a look, we find that like Tolstoy’s happy families, cults are almost all alike. Take a big dollop of unresolved daddy (or mommy) issues and shake them up with physical isolation, a leadership hierarchy, mental manipulation, financial exploitation and sexual abuse, and you’ll have the standard Cult Cocktail, ready to be garnished with unique beliefs to taste. Often, the first layers of membership are wonderful, providing the deepest sense of belonging that a lonely seeker has ever felt. It’s only as the onion is peeled that the real community is revealed, and often then it is too late. We’ve collected thirty of the more interesting recent cults to stake a claim in North America, and boiled their complex histories down to bite size. Each one is an extraordinary example of how a whole new world can coalesce around charisma and faith, and how mad, bad and dangerous these worlds can be to know.