What is a cult? Why do they emerge? Who joins them? And why do tragedies such as Waco and Jonestown occur? This Reader brings together the voices of historians, sociologists, and psychologists of religion to address these key questions about new religious movements. The volume opens with an introductory essay by the editor, and each section is prefaced by a brief essay outlining the issues at stake, the state of current discussion, and the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings. The readings themselves are broad-ranging and include coverage of topical questions, such as the 'brainwashing' controversy, sexual deviance and gender issues, and cults in cyberspace. This collection enables readers to gain a clear understanding of the phenomenon of new religious movements in modern culture and to replace prejudice and speculation with reliable insights into the nature of cult activity.Dawson, Lorne L. is the author of 'Cults and New Religious Movements A Reader', published 2003 under ISBN 9781405101813 and ISBN 1405101814.