Category: Book Review

Secrets of polygamists laid bare

Journalist takes governments to task for not acting against polygamous communities. The research and Bramham’s patient laying out of the facts goes a long way to explaining how a normal society ignores the illegal — and immoral — exploitation of children practiced by a messianic cult.

Faith and Failings: Evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson had both

McPherson’s “willingness to engage with American culture … ultimately redefined the relationship among social activism, religion, gender, and the media in the United States.” – MATTHEW AVERY SUTTON In 1906 Azusa Street in Los Angeles shook with worshippers who wept, shouted with joy and spoke in tongues as the Holy Spirit moved them. It was the birth of modern Pentecostalism that today is one of the most potent forces in Christianity. One year later a 17-year-old woman, born to an adherent of the Salvation Army but undergoing a spiritual crisis, came under the spell of one of Pentecostalism’s earliest devotees,

Bumping Into Boundaries in a Land of Tolerance

There are two murders in Murder in Amsterdam. The first took place on May 6, 2002, when an animal-rights advocate, for obscure reasons, gunned down Pim Fortuyn, a charismatic politician with a populist program combining law-and-order conservatism, opposition to immigration and gay liberation. About a year and a half later a young Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent, incensed by a film critical of Islam, shot the filmmaker-provocateur Theo van Gogh dead in broad daylight. As a parting gesture, he pinned a manifesto to the twitching body with a knife. It was all, as the prime minister of the Netherlands put

Brainwash: Power, paranoia and our fevered imaginations

BRAINWASH: The Secret History of Mind Control by Dominic Streatfeild Hodder £20 pp440 “Brainwashing paranoia,” writes Dominic Streatfeild, “is horribly contagious.” The term brainwashing was invented in 1950 by the journalist Edward Hunter in an article in the Miami Daily News. It seems to have come from the Chinese xi-nao or “mind cleanse”, a sort of Mutt and Jeff routine used by the communists to convince doubters of the wonders of the revolution. The word caught on. Indeed, as Streatfeild shows in this marvellously engrossing book, it caught on to the