Book Review - Killer Cults

Cultic Studies Review, 1, (2), 2002

Book Review - Killer Cults: Murderous Messiahs and Their Fanatical Followers

Frank MacHovec, Ph.D.

Center for the Study of the Self

Gloucester, Virginia

The author of this 310-page paperback volume is Brian Lane who has written books mainly on crime and informs us his background is in “fine art, theatre, and experimental music.” The nine, unnumbered chapters of the book are actually short, anecdotal-reportorial essays and case studies about “killer cults.”  I’ll briefly review each chapter.

The book concludes with a “webography” of Internet Websites; a “select bibliography” of relevant books published from 1807 to 1996; and an 11-page, two-column, combined name and subject index.

The value of this book is mainly in its many case studies. Its major weakness is a lack of information about the psychology and personality dynamics of cult leaders and their followers.