As I begin the research for my next novel, I have two book reviews to share. Both deal with the topic of cults. You can find both reviews on my GoodReads page. The storyline of my next novel will involve Declan Keenan and Karuna Patel doing battle with a cult operating out of a retreat centre north of Toronto.
The Road to Jonestown by Jeff Guinn
Guinn's exhaustive account of the Jonestown tragedy (from the birth of Jim Jones to his tailspin into madness and death) is the most comprehensive history you will read on the topic. It follows a linear storyline from start to finish with all the pertinent details. While Jones is described as always being a little bit off, his mission to fight for racial equality and bring relief to the disenfranchised is not lost on Guinn. Ultimately, the idealism of these imperatives gets lost as Jones slips into megalomania, perhaps exacerbated by his drug addiction. The Road to Jonestown is certainly worth the read. Like any cult book, there are times where the content is tough to digest/comprehend/understand, which meant I walked away from reading many times. In the end, I powered through and was grateful for completing the tragic tail Jeff Guinn was able to pull together.
Don't Call it a Cult by Sarah Berman
A disturbing account of NXIVM. I have to admit that I found the book frustrating at times, not because of Berman's writing, but because of the things the people involved in this group were doing. Berman's book shows the vulnerability of intelligent people to fall for someone (or a group) that claims to have the answers to life's most fundamental questions. Once NXIVM pulled these people into their web, they could get them to do just about anything.
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Sean Patrick Dolan's Blog
Sean Patrick Dolan is the author of the thriller, My Father's Secret, inspired by the Air India Bombing.