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Publisher's Summary

Did you know?

  • Freemasonry's first American lodge included a young Benjamin Franklin among its members.
  • The Knights Templar began as impoverished warrior monks then evolved into bankers.
  • Groom Lake, Dreamland, Homey Airport, Paradise Ranch, The Farm, Watertown Strip, Red Square, "The Box," are all names for Area 51.

    An indispensable guide, Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies connects the dots and sets the record straight on a host of greedy gurus and murderous messiahs, crepuscular cabals, and suspicious coincidences. Divided into three sections, its hundreds of entries separate facts from myths.

    Some topics are familiar: the Kennedy assassinations, the Bilderberg Group, the Illuminati, Area 51, the People's Temple, and Heaven's Gate - and some surprising, like Oulipo, a select group of intellectuals (Italo Calvino was a member) who created wild formulas for creating literary masterpieces, and the Chauffeurs, an 18th-century society of French home invaders, who set fire to their victims' feet.

    Easy to spend hours with and fun to dip into, and seasoned with just the right amount of common sense skepticism, Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies is a refreshing look at some of the most fascinating people, moments, and places in history.

  • ©2009 Arthur Goldwag; (P)2009 Random House

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    What members say

    Average Customer Ratings

    Overall

    • 3.2 out of 5.0
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    • 3.4 out of 5.0
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    • Story

    Many interesting fact - BUT

    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The author obviously does not believe in conspiracies. As much as he tried to convince the listener of his bias, he is thoroughly biased. He really should have prefaced the book with something like :

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Dean
    • Charlottesville, VA, USA
    • 08-21-09

    Disappointing

    Sounds exotic, but it's not very insightful, or even well-researched. A very superficial look at some cultic groups. No secrets exposed here.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Performance
    • Story

    Just A Waste!

    If your into conspiracy this is not the book for you. Conspiratorial minded people to quote the author are paranoid children. What a waste of money!

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful

    • Overall

    Length and Width but minimum Depth

    Defined an amazing number of organizations and how many of them interconnect. Not very in-depth on most. The author's bias was often evident especially on "conspiracy theories". It was still interesting and worth listening to.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Gautam
    • Lake Forest, CA, USA
    • 01-05-10

    Not bad, needs some polish

    The text:

    Nicely written with just the right amount of depth across a variety of CCSSs... Goldwag doesn't "go deep" but does provide pop-culture worthy details on many of the topics he covers, for example I now know where the phrase "drinking the kool-aid" comes from.

    The audio:

    Sanders maintains a pleasant tone and cadence but the presentation is marred by the jarring inclusion of birth and death dates for every.single.person.mentioned!

    The bottom line:

    A good casual read.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
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    Author needs to do research. ..

    This author needs to do research next book he writes. Several points in the book he quotes erroneous facts on verifiable subjects. Also, insulting those who the book seems to be targeted towatds; Probably not the best way to win over readers.

    This is a book to avoid!

    • Overall
    • Performance
    • Story

    Not for listening

    Any additional comments?

    I think I would like to read this book because I could skip ahead. Instead, it was too slow for listening to someone else to read.

    • Overall
    • Robert
    • Pahrump, NV, USA
    • 06-30-10

    A great listen

    Informative without being dull. All things considered an enjoyable and informative book.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

    • Overall
    • Ely
    • Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
    • 11-06-09

    Encyclopedic

    Like reading the encyclopedia, the book lacks focus or thesis and is somewhat tedious. But for those looking for a compendium of
    nut cases this provides a good entry point. Future editions should consider omitting the birth and death dates of every person mentioned in the book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    • Overall
    • Joe
    • 01-26-11

    a great listen

    if this had been a handheld reading book, then i would not have been able to put it down. the content is exactly what i was looking for. one main point is that i can go back again and again whenever i need to, to remind myself of details in this book. thanx AUDIBLE for a great listen.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    • J. Armstrong
    • 02-19-16

    entertainingly read and interesting stuff

    this book won't give you too much information on the subjects it covers.l, but it is a good introduction to all three categories and certainly inspired me to.read up.on some of the subjects.

    the weakest section is the conspiracies as many were well known and you can't say much about crackpot stuff like that.

    the narrator was good, varying his tone and pitch to.keep things interesting.

    most surpinging thing was learning the Assassin"s from the popular game series Assassin"s Creed were based on a real historical cult.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    • Teresa Cooper
    • 08-14-16

    Is it a cult or not ???

    Well written and narrated, a book that could so easily been very silly, for me, was eminently readable. It covered cults ( ect ), some I knew about some I didn't. I enjoyed this book so much I have a feeling that it will be listed to again and again very soon.

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    • Cameron
    • 01-19-17

    Sanctamonious drivel

    Author clearly considers himself better than the 'certifiably insane' 'conspiracists' whose ideas he mocks, despite some of his own statements having been proven ridiculously wrong in the years since this book was written.

    Goldwag thinks Al Qaeda was neither a religious nor social movement, a statement about as insane and contrary to evidence as any of the conspiracies he chose to cover.

    The cherrypicking of fringe, right-wing conspiracy theories clearly shows the political bias and discreditation intended by the author.

    I've never met a conspiracy theorist who cares about numerology as much as the author of this book seems to - but there was FAR too much time spent on numerologucal rantings and references to pop-culture movies/books.

    Sad to see someone approach child-molesting cultists with respect, but refer openly to the 'paranoid delusions' of conspiracy theorists.

    0/10