It is interesting to see cult apologists - or their supporters - on the Amazon.com website. I have bought plenty of books from Amazon in an effort to educate myself about cults and mind control, and found that some reviewers put up dangerous and false stories about these subjects.
Some, of course, claim it doesn't exist. Others, as happened when Jon Atack's book 'A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed' was released viciously attacked the author. Inevitably, not with any fire power worth speaking of.
It was interesting to see that most of the one-star reviewers had only ever reviewed that single book, so it was easy to see that they were simply Scientologists attacking the author. In other cases, where the reviewer had reviewed more than one book, and given Atack's book one-star, the other books they had reviewed turned out to be Hubbard's stuff.
A reviewer of Margaret Singer's 'Cults in our Midst' gave it only one-star and suggested people rather read
James Lewis or Gordon Melton's work including and article that can be found online called "Brainwashing and the Cults: The rise and fall of a theory
It gave me some pleasure to write a review and point out that these men were cult apologists.
Below is the writer's full review. She claims to be doing a dissertation on cults and to have not found one credible source that backs Singer's work. Based on that fact alone, that she couldn't find any sources to back Singer up, one would have to assume she hasn't done much work at all, or she just chooses to ignore hundreds of book.
This woman should (hopefully) have scored about 10 percent!
It is interesting how she keeps using the word 'facts' too.
Reviewer: Lucille M. Cozzolino (Minneapolis) - See all my reviews
The fact that this book is still being read is a testimony to the tenacious nature our culture's fascination with cults and the unwavering campaign of anti-cult organizations to maintain the belief that there is such a thing as brainwashing.
Margaret Singer's theory was deemed "unscientific" 20 years ago by the American Psychological Association. She was banned from giving testimony is US court because her ideas were not supported by the field of psychology and were not even congruent in their own assertions.
Not one credible empirical study has supported her theory while many have effectively demonstrated that being part of a small religious movement has a neutral or positive affect on one's mental health.
All of the Psychology of Religion text books I have read refer to Brainwashing and mind control as a debunked theory.
I am doing my dissertation on the subject and have just done a large search of the research so I am fairly certain of these facts.
I also want to note that Singer's theories and court appearances justified and supported the kidnaping, and violent "deprogramming" of hundreds of adults.
Singer's "vast experience" treating ex-cult members was almost entirely made up of people who had been deprogrammed AND who had emotional issues. This can hardly be considered a representational group.
There has be no further research to support the claims Singer makes and at least one study (Lewis and Bromley, 1987) indicated that Only those ex-cult members who has been deprogrammed or receive "exit counseling" by anti-cult organizations showed signed of emotional problems after leaving the groups.
These facts should be considered when reading such a book.
In my opinion this book is an unscientific and bigoted text which uses the horrible violence perpetrated by a very few groups (i.e. Jonestown etc.) to justify slandering hundreds of small religious movements and thier memebers.
For a complete history of the phenomenon of brainwashing I recommend James Lewis or Gordon Melton's work including and article that can be found online called "Brainwashing and the Cults: The rise and fall of a theory.