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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. * Looks at theoretical explanations for cults, why people join and what happens when they do. * Brings together the best work on cults by sociologists, historians, and psychologists of religion. * A broad--ranging, balanced and clearly organized collection of readings. * Includes coverage of topical issues, such as the a brainwashinga controversy, and cults in cyberspace. * Section introductions by the editor situate the nature, value, and relevance of the selected readings in context of current discussions.