COLIN AND DAMON WILSON – WORLD FAMOUS CULTS AND FANATICS 1992. Magpie Press.
Headline derivative and over-sensationalized look at the most extreme religious cults and sect leaders throughout history. The only real interest here is that there is a focus on historic religious fanatics, such as Indian Thugee and Assassin cults, racist orders like the Ku Klux Klan, as well as a look at modern suicide cults like that of Jim Jones in 1978. Some inclusions are deserved, such as that of Charles Manson, though Rasputin, while undoubtedly a strong religious advisor, was not really a cult leader, but a political supporter of a doomed tsar. Many of the stories here are little more than summaries of the key events, which anyone could have extracted and digested from the popular media. Quite why he needs a co-writer from his family on one this is a mystery. Many of the stories have in fact appeared in Colin Wilson’s other books on true crime. He now recycles his ideas for different works. The book makes for light, if uncomfortable reading, in its tabloid approach to stories that certainly need telling. There are some very poor quality grainy photographs to further pad this cheap and cheerful formulaic work, which looks like Wilson has adopted writing by numbers approach. In fact he has several similar books on set themes of crime and occultism on the boil of late. It shows a once fine writer simply recycling and regurgitating old hat material in a very lazy quick buck fashion. The stories are of some interest, especially if the reader has not seen them before; at least the Wilsons do look at cults of yesteryear too, but there is no real attempt to analyze how such cults arise or who might follow them. The leaders are simply there with no attempt to show us why. http://www.colinwilsonworld.co.uk/
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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