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Cults presents a comprehensive and authoritative reference for anyone interested in the history of cults. It examines the history and current status of cults across the United States, Europe and East Asia. Focusing on the principal controversial religions and movements that have attracted major media attention, the book also includes profiles of hundreds of minority religions, from Jesus People and Rastafarians to voodoo practitioners and the human-cloning Raelians. All the issues central to the practice and the fear of cults are examined - apocalypticism, deprogramming, social isolation, cults and the media, the use and threat of violence, child custody, libel, tax evasion, solicitation, and the techniques of persuasion and conviction - as are the many charismatic cult leaders. Cults offers a balanced view of the controversy surrounding these new religious movements and is a much-needed non-apologetic treatment of the subject in a field full of anti-cult books and websites. It assesses the movements themselves as well as the legal and governmental responses to them, including attempts to quantify membership.