Faith, Healing and Coercion


From the mass weddings of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church to the ritual suicides at Heaven's Gate, charismatic cults and their devotees have become facts of American life. Using material gleaned from twenty-five years of direct encounters with cults and their detractors, as well as extensive research, Marc Galanter offers the most extensive psychological analysis of these organizations available. Cults explores not only how members feel and think at all stages of their involvement, but also how larger social and psychological forces reinforce individual commitment within the cults.For this revised and newly-illustrated second edition, Galanter has added three new chapters on cult development in the 1990s, spiritual recovery movements, and alternative medicine.
  • Oxford University Press; May 1999
  • ISBN 9780198028765
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Cults
  • Author: Marc Galanter
  • Imprint: Oxford University Press

In The Press

Praise for the first edition:
"Anyone wishing to understand the psychodynamics of [charismatic groups] should pick up Cults....[Galanter] has been a student of cult-like activity for the better part of two decades; this book represents a thoughtful and provocative summation of what he has learned."--Mark Silk, The New York Times Book Review.
"[Galanter] encourages us to think carefully about the extent to which our society can tolerate pluralism, innovation, and 'deviance.'...Galanter's approach gives us an urgently needed framework that can improve the quality of discussions about cults."--The Christian Century

About The Author

Marc Galanter is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse at the New York University School of Medicine. The author of many books and articles on cults and addiction, he is the editor of the American Psychiatric Association's official report on cults and new religious movements.