By Janja A. Lalich
Lalich's fascinating discussion includes her in-depth interviews with cult devotees as well as reflections gained from her ownexperience,as a high-ranking member of the Democratic Workers Party. Incorporating classical sociological concepts such as "charisma" and "commitment" with more recent work on the social psychology of influence and control, she develops a new approach for understanding how charismatic cult leaders are able to dominate their devotees. She shows how members are led into a state of "bounded choice," in which they make seemingly irrational decisions within a context that makes perfect sense to them and is, in fact, consistent with their highest aspirations.
In addition to illuminating the cult phenomenon in the United States and around the world, this important book also addresses our pressingneed to know more about the mentality of those true believers who take extreme or violent measures in the name of a cause.