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The ReadDown

12 Fascinating Books About Cults

Feed your obsession with cults through these fiction and nonfiction reads, the perfect additions to your podcasts and documentaries.

  1. 1
    Underground Book Cover Picture
    Underground Book Cover Picture

    Underground

    by Haruki Murakami

    In 1995, five members of a religious cult unleashed poison gas on the Tokyo subway system. In attempt to discover why, Haruki Murakmi talks to the people who lived through the catastrophe.
    Underground Book Cover Picture
    Underground Book Cover Picture

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  2. 2
    The World in Flames Book Cover Picture
    The World in Flames Book Cover Picture

    The World in Flames

    by Jerald Walker

    Jerry Walker shares his story of growing up with blind, African-American parents in a segregated cult preaching the imminent end of the world.
    The World in Flames Book Cover Picture
    The World in Flames Book Cover Picture

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  3. 3
    The Girls Book Cover Picture
    The Girls Book Cover Picture

    The Girls

    by Emma Cline

    In this work of fiction, Evie is captivated by Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader.
    The Girls Book Cover Picture
    The Girls Book Cover Picture

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  4. 4
    In the Days of Rain Book Cover Picture
    In the Days of Rain Book Cover Picture

    In the Days of Rain

    by Rebecca Stott

    Rebecca Stott tries to make sense of her childhood in the cult Exclusive Brethren and to understand her father’s role in the cult.
    In the Days of Rain Book Cover Picture
    In the Days of Rain Book Cover Picture

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  5. 5
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture

    American Heiress

    by Jeffrey Toobin

    In 1974, Patty Hearst, heiress to the Hearst Family fortune, was kidnapped by a ragtag group of self-styled revolutionaries calling itself the Symbonese Liberation Army.
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture
    American Heiress Book Cover Picture

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  6. 6
    Escape Book Cover Picture
    Escape Book Cover Picture

    Escape

    by Carolyn Jessop and Laura Palmer

    Carolyn Jessop manages a daring escape from a brutal environment and became the first woman ever granted full custody of her children in a contested suit involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
    Escape Book Cover Picture
    Escape Book Cover Picture

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  7. 7
    Seductive Poison Book Cover Picture
    Seductive Poison Book Cover Picture

    Seductive Poison

    by Deborah Layton

    In this haunting and riveting firsthand account, a high-level member of Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple for seven years, Deborah Layton, escaped his infamous commune in the Guyanese jungle, leaving behind her mother, her older brother, and many friends.
    Seductive Poison Book Cover Picture
    Seductive Poison Book Cover Picture

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  8. 8
    Under the Banner of Heaven Book Cover Picture
    Under the Banner of Heaven Book Cover Picture

    Under the Banner of Heaven

    by Jon Krakauer

    This extraordinary work of investigative journalism takes readers inside America’s isolated Mormon Fundamentalist communities, where some 40,000 people still practice polygamy.
    Under the Banner of Heaven Book Cover Picture
    Under the Banner of Heaven Book Cover Picture

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  9. 9
    Cartwheels in a Sari Book Cover Picture
    Cartwheels in a Sari Book Cover Picture

    Cartwheels in a Sari

    by Jayanti Tamm

    In this colorful, eye-opening memoir, Jayanti Tamm offers an unforgettable glimpse into the hidden world of growing up “cult” in mainstream America.
    Cartwheels in a Sari Book Cover Picture
    Cartwheels in a Sari Book Cover Picture

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  10. 10
    Lost Boy Book Cover Picture
    Lost Boy Book Cover Picture

    Lost Boy

    by Brent W. Jeffs and Maia Szalavitz

    In this powerful and heartbreaking account, former FLDS member Brent Jeffs reveals both the terror and the love he experienced growing up on his prophet’s compound—and the harsh exile existence that so many boys face once they have been expelled by the sect.
    Lost Boy Book Cover Picture
    Lost Boy Book Cover Picture

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  11. 11
    Going Clear Book Cover Picture
    Going Clear Book Cover Picture

    Going Clear

    by Lawrence Wright

    Lawrence Wright—armed with his investigative talents, years of archival research, and more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—uncovers the inner workings of Scientology.
    Going Clear Book Cover Picture
    Going Clear Book Cover Picture

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  12. 12
    The Marriage Pact Book Cover Picture
    The Marriage Pact Book Cover Picture

    The Marriage Pact

    by Michelle Richmond

    In this novel, a young couple decides to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact. The young lovers are about to discover that The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce their rules.
    The Marriage Pact Book Cover Picture
    The Marriage Pact Book Cover Picture

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