Mar 24, 2016

5 fascinating books about cults

Women 24
March 24, 2016

What is it about cults that fascinate us so? Is it the charismatic leader who wields his smile like a deadly charm? 

Or are we simply drawn in by the stories of the victims, wondering what it was that made them abandon everything in their life to follow the cult in the first place? Could you ever be influenced like that? You wonder. 

There’s a wealth of books that explores different types of cults (polygamous, religious, occult, etc.) From harrowing non-fiction reads to enthralling, spine-chilling novels that dig into the complex psychology behind this phenomenon.

We highlight 5 books you should definitely check out.

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

This is the horrifying and true story of one of the world’s most disturbing killers to date. How did this man, who even to this day, has somewhat of a cult-following, manage to convince some of his followers to help him commit the most heinous crimes?  

Helter Skelter delves into the ins and outs of the Manson cult, providing details behind the motivations of the murderous cult that still has people talking today.

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

The Chosen One is one of the very first books about polygamist cults that I’ve ever read. 

Harrowing, heartbreaking and downright frightening, this book is about a 13-year old girl who lives in a gated community and is forced to make a terrifyingly difficult decision when a prophet insists she wed her 60-year old uncle – an uncle who already has six wives. 

The Followers by Rebecca Wait

One of our regular reviewers describes this book as, and we quote, “a disturbing look at what happens when we blindly follow and when life is mediated rather than lived”.  

This is the story of a young girl’s fight to save her mother and herself from a community known as The Ark, and its leader, the mysterious and charismatic Nathaniel.  

READ: Lured into a religious cult

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

17-year old Minnow has had everything taken away from her. Her freedom. Her life. Her choices. And her hands. 

All at the hands of the Kelvinian cult she’s unwittingly been a part of.  Then their prophet is murdered and it’s clear that Minnow knows something...except Minnow’s not talking. 

This book is both a retelling of a German fairy tale (The Girl with No Hands) and an exploration of learning to adapt and survive to a world outside of a cult.  

My Life in Orange by Tim Guest

The true story of one man who grew up in a cult and escaped relatively unscathed. Tim Guest and his mother were taken in by a commune based on the teachings of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. 

This doctrine included indulging in alternative forms of therapy, constant inhalation of laughing gas and living a sexually liberated lifestyle. 

Tim relates the story of his experiences and his relationship with his mother during the harrowing years of being part of the cult.

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