Captive

A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult
Narrated by: Catherine Oxenberg
Length: 10 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (223 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this heartbreaking and shocking exposé, one of Dynasty’s biggest stars lays bare a secretive organization that is holding her daughter hostage and details her mission to save her in this powerful depiction of a mother’s love and determination.

I am a mother whose child is being abused and exploited. And I am not alone

In 2011, Catherine joined her daughter, India, at a leadership seminar for a new organization called NXIVM. Her 20-year-old daughter was on the threshold of building a new company, and they both thought this program might help her achieve her dream. But quickly, Catherine saw a sinister side to what appeared to be a self-help organization designed to help its clients become the best versions of themselves. 

Catherine watched in horror as her daughter fell further and further down the rabbit hole, becoming brainwashed by the organization’s charismatic leader. Despite Catherine’s best efforts, India was drawn deeper into the cult, eventually joining a secret, elite “sorority” of women members who are ordered to maintain a restricted diet and recruit other women as “slaves” and are branded with their leader’s initials. 

In Captive, Catherine shares every parent’s worst nightmare and the lengths that a mother will go to in order to save her child. Featuring interviews with past members of NXIVM and experts in the field of cults, Oxenberg attempts to draw back the curtain on how these groups continue to lure in members. She relates her continuing journey to try to reach her daughter, to save her from what she believes is a dangerous, mind-controlling cult. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Catherine Oxenberg (P)2018 Simon & Schuster Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you

to both Catherine and India. I can't imagine what both have gone through. It was heart wrenching to listen to. But I learned that India has left, and is moving forward with her life. I'm so glad. Let justice be served to those who enacted such cruel, sociopathic deeds.

4 people found this helpful

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Fascinating Story, disturbing but unfocused.

I utterly support what Catherine documents in this novel and applaud her determination and drive, in the role she played in the downfall of NXIVM and its abusive leader Keith Raniere and Alison Mack.

However I wish there was more about the cult,Keith, Alison and the inner goings on of the organisation, and less about Miss Oxenbergs personal wardrobe choices, in particular a pair of thigh high boots. Or that her ex husband has done everything in a film, and there-for is just as good at it, as someone who does it in real life.

I think her inner actress, and the often reminder's of her descendant from European royalty undermined her otherwise interesting telling of this harrowing tale, about her daughters subversion into a sex cult… But what were flaws for me, may not be for you,

There is a between the lines honesty in that Catherines own life style choices, and search for various forms of healing, and spiritual guru's, is in fact what brings her daughter into NIXVM's clutches in the first place. And Hence her motivation and personal guilt to get her out. But again here Catherine feels so distracted by expressing her intense hatred of Keith Raniere, the cults leader that even from the their first meeting he is only ever described in such a derogatory way, that he's reduced to a bad Hollywood villain, rather than a more in depth analyse, that would have painted a three dimensional, highly manipulative, psychopath that he clearly is. By merely insulting him Catherine is constantly twisting his moustache at us, and we never get beneath Raniere's surface, even from the authors point of view. Thus what could have been a solid personal inside into how to recognise such a person in our own lives, merely becomes a personal tale of revenge, written at times for an audience of one (Keith Raniere) And the Authors gotcha moment. But I do sincerely congratulate Catherine on the 'Gotcha' moment.

There is lots online about Keith Raniere online if you wish to see the detailed depths of his depravity.

2 people found this helpful

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Cults are dangerous and incredibly prevalent.

This book really emphasizes the importance of actively engaging critical thinking at all times. It's an incredible account of this woman's journey in helping to take down a terrible group.

2 people found this helpful

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A must read for all!<br />

What an amazing book and an unbelievable testament to a mother's love. Catherine you are many people's hero. A life time of happiness is wished for you for the hell that you've been through.

1 person found this helpful

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What a story!

I hate to write that I loved it, given what people have been thru for this book to come to light. As a former CBI employee, while I we thought something was odd, never to the extent described in this book. I was the travel and conference planner for the organization that Keith founded in the early 90's, then to company folded, I did side work out of Toni's home. I stayed in Toni's home to care for her son while she had traveled. I just floored by the description of the behind the scenes activities. The book gave a lot of insight to things that were going on. I hope the Oxenbeg family as well as the Natalie family find peace.

1 person found this helpful

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A mother’s heart is unbeatable

Catherine will do anything to save her daughter from anyone. And she did. Her crusade is an adventure, a real one.

1 person found this helpful

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My favorite audiobook

Amazing true story. Actress Catherine Oxenberg uncovers the illegal and unethical actions of a cult and its leaders in order to recover her daughter from its clutches. She tells her story from the start, when she signs up for classes from a supposed "executive success program" to explain to us what draws people into the group initially, and continues throughout her gradual awakening as to the harmful nature of the group and its practices, her struggle to make her daughter understand this, and her determinstion to save others from its clutches.

The FBI becomes involved, as Catherine spearheads a movement, along with other people, friends, activists, former cult members, victims and survivors, as she pushes for the legal system to become involved, and tries to get them to arrest the leaders and for the justice system to act. She's a modern day Goliath trying to take down this powerful group, one that is backed by millionaires and international political forces. Catherine is not hesitant to name people involved, including well known actors and politicians, and shares credit with all who help, notably a man named Frank Parlato, who with his meticulous research and reporting, turns out to be the key in making it possible to bring down the group.

The story explains the mind control and coercive persuasion techniques used by the cult along with the blackmail and retaliation it employed to keep members under their control, without their even understanding the harm that was being done to them. Some of the stories are shocking and upsetting, especially when underage girls are abused, and women are 'branded' or otherwise physically or emotionally harmed, but Catherine takes actions, including creating her own group to help victims, and tells all, helping us to understand the inner workings of this harmful group and how anyone could potentially be sucked into it.

She is brave and fearless in her determination to rescue her daughter, who doesn't understand the harm being done to her and others by the cult, and she tells her story with honesty, real emotion, and wit, and includes personal details of her life, funny and interesting events, so that this story feels much like a coversation with a friend. A very interesting friend.

My favorite audiobook because the narration is smooth and easy to listen to, and since it's her own life story, she shows emotion and feelings where she had them, compared to many other audiobooks where the narration feels impersonal. It also helps that Catherine is an actress, and so is able to convey her feelings well through her voice. I've listened to other audio books that although the subject matter was interesting, turned out to be a disappointment due to rushed or careless narration that made the story less compelling, but not this one.

This book was a pleasure to listen to right from the start, consistently, without a dull moment anywhere, and after finishing it, I listened again. I got the later book edition, with extra updates at the end, that concluded her story very satisfactorily.

At the time of writing this book review, the legal cases are still going through the courts, so I keep an eye out for news about this. Bravo to Catherine Oxenberg for telling her story. I give this audiobook a 5 star rating and highly recommend it.

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Insightful!

I’m from Clifton Park where this al happened. I grew up here. Our local paper warned us about Keith’s crimes, but nothing was done. This book was a bombshell. So powerful to hear it from Catherine’s mouth. This book shows the true power of a mother’s love. You should check this out.

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A pompous insulting autobiography of a woman who uses her privileged daughter for ever-seeking fame

I thought this would be a story about a girl who got wrapped up in a cult. Unfortunately, it was about a woman who wanted to tell you all about how great she was. Perhaps if she had raised her daughter to build character, seek individualism through proven coming of age experiences such as work and education rather than choose a trust fund, easy living lifestyle than her daughter wouldn’t of needed to go looking for belonging in all the wrong places. Places filled with the same privileged, misguided, unfulfilled, lonely people with too much time on their hands like her mother. After all, her mother was the one who introduced her to it while continuing their involvement and funding her and her families membership fees even though she obviously knew it wasn’t good for anyone. Instead of insulting registered nurses, authors with more success than she’ll ever dream of, people who rely on public transportation, even Reese Witherspoon (seriously, could you be more envious woman?!?) the author should consider her own lifestyle and parenting choices and why they produce children who go seeking these types of groups. This book is rubbish. Don’t waste your time or financially contribute to this woman’s disrespectful way of life.

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Not as good as a I hoped....

I stumbled upon this after reading a little about the nxivm cult online. I was morbidly curious and wanted to know more. This book is more about the struggles a mother faced as her daughter was drawn deeper into the cult. If you are looking for more details on what actually happened, this is not that book. The author spends the first 6 or 7 chapters explaining her royal family lineage and making sure the audience is aware of all the famous people she knows personally. I stuck with it, but this is solely from the point of view from the mother who was not involved in the cult any further than a few self help groups she joined and ultimately left because she didn’t like their teachings. However, she let her daughter continue to become increasingly involved with them knowing the messed up things they teaching women.