Malignant Pied Pipers of Our Time: A Psychological Study of Destructive Cult Leaders from Rev. Jim Jones to Osama bin Laden

  • Publish Date: 2005-06-13
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Peter A. Olsson M.D.

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In this book, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Peter A. Olsson examines the phenomenon of destructive and apocalyptic cults, revealing the psychological roots of both cult leaders and cult members. Dr. Olsson calls the leaders (Rev. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Osama bin Laden, and others) malignant pied pipers for the way they lure followers to their deaths. Olsson uses concepts of psychology to analyze the lives of the cult leaders and the source of their powerful attraction to vulnerable converts. Dr. Olsson offers his vision for the book: It is my hope that this in-depth psychological study of destructive cult leaders of the last 30 years illuminates the roots of their malevolence and their power, a condition that has invariably led to murder, mass suicide, the destruction of families, and to the terrorist acts that dominate our headlines. By understanding them and their appeal, we increase our chance of averting future disasters. Dr. Olsson has been a psychiatrist for more than 30 years in Texas and New Hampshire. He is a professor of psychiatry and has published many scholarly papers and contributed chapters to eight books about psychology. He won the 1979 Judith Baskin Offer Prize for his paper Adolescent Involvement with the Supernatural and Cults.

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