About M.E. Sharpe
Sharpe Reference
Sharpe Online Ref.
Sharpe Focus
Author Guidelines
Subject Catalogs
Catalog Request
Library Rec. Form
North Castle Books

On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left
Authored by: Dennis Tourish; Tim Wohlforth

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-0639-6 Paper ISBN: Not Available
Cloth Price Paper Price
USD: $52.95 N/A
Discount Code:
Discount Code:
Available to all countries
Information: 256pp. Bibliographic references, index.
Publication Date: August 2000.  


Description: This is the first book to document the extent of political cults on both the right and left and explain their significance for mainstream political organizations. The authors outline the defining characteristics of cults in general, and analyze the degree to which a variety of well-known movements fall within the spectrum of cultic organizations. The book covers such individuals and groups as Lyndon LaRouche, Fred Newman, Ted Grant, Marlene Dixon, the Christian Identity movement, Posse Commitatus, Aryan Nation, militias, and the Freemen. It explores the ideological underpinnings that predispose cult followers to cultic practices, along with the measures cults use to suppress dissent, achieve intense conformity, and extract extraordinary levels of commitment.

Selected Contents:

Part One. The Nature of Cults
Chapter One. Cults in Politics
Chapter Two. Groupthink, Big Brother, and Love Bombing
Part Two. Cults on the Right
Chapter Three. Christian Identity: A Heritage of Hate
Chapter Four. Soldiers of God
Chapter Five. The Travels of Lyndon LaRouche
Part Three. Therapy Cults and Politics
Chapter Six. Scientology, Maoism, and the Reevaluations of Harvey Jackins
Chapter Seven. Fred Newman: Lenin as Therapist
Chapter Eight. Synanon: Utopia as a Game
Part Four. Cults on the Left
Chapter Nine. Marlene Dixon's Little Army
Chapter Ten. Gerry Healy: Guru to a Star
Chapter Eleven. The Lonely Passion of Ted Grant
Chapter Twelve. The Many Faces of Gino Perente
Conclusion. Politics as Religion

Comment(s): "Any student of cultic behavior knows that it can find both political and religious expression- often at the same time in the same group. The Tourish and Wohlforth study has great importance not only in revealing the large gamut of cultic political movements but in suggesting the common characteristics, and the considerable danger, of cultic politics in general." -- Robert Jay Lifton, M.D., author of Destroying the World to Save It:Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism and Who Owns Death?

"A significant and compelling contribution to the often-contentious debate over the use of the term 'cult' and the nature of predatory totalitarian groups. Every parent with a college-age child should read this book and sit down as a family to discuss the serious issues it raises about recruitment by deceptive demagogues." -- Chip Berlet, Political Research Associates

"One of the most common misconceptions in the cult field is that cults are necessarily religious. Authors Tourish and Wohlforth make clear that the label, 'cult' refers to certain contoversial practices and behaviors, which may occur in political (right and left) and other kinds of groups, as well as religions-- new and old. This informative and insightful book should interest anybody who beleives that persons deserve to be respected as autonomous individuals with unique and precious identities." -- Michael D. Langone, Editor, Cultic Studies Journal and Executive Director, American Family Foundation

Review(s): "This discussion of the political dimensions of cult groups is helpful and interesting, as are a number of the detail-rich case studies. ... Recommended for general readers, upper-division undergraduates, and graduate students." -- Choice

"There is an urgent need to reinvigorate the body politic everywhere. Books like this will help fuel the debate needed for this to ensue." -- Fortnight

"For those who need a quick reference quide to some contemporary political cults in America, On the Edge is a useful source." -- Utopian Studies

Book Subjects
Exam Request
Award Winners
Forthcoming Books
New Releases