by A. Orange
LC: == Library of Congress Number
LCCN: == Library of Congress Card Catalog Number
The Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book":
For the standard A.A. party line about everything, see the
"Big Book", as it is nick-named.
Narcotics Anonymous no author stated
Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc., Van Nuys, California, copyright 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, Fifth edition, 1988.
ISBN 978-0-912075-02-0 hardcover
ISBN 978-1-55776-025-8 softcover
This is the Narcotics Anonymous clone of the Alcoholics Anonymous "Big Book".
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions written by
William G. Wilson and
Tom Powers, and other unnamed co-authors,
published as "anonymous".
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 1952, 1953, 1984.
ISBN: 0-916856-01-1 (larger older hard cover edition, 1984)
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. New York, NY, 2000.
ISBN: 0-916856-06-2 (smaller hard cover edition, 2000)
Dewey: 362.2928 T969 1965
This is one of the most insane and vicious books around.
It is right down there with Mein Kampf as far as its
ratio of lies to truth, and
hate content, is concerned.
It is ostensibly Bill Wilson's
explanation of his Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, but it
dark and evil, Bill Wilson's poisonous contempt for
human nature masquerading as spirituality. It was written
while Wilson was in the middle of his eleven-year-long bout of deep
clinical depression, and it shows.
It is really a brutal, hateful assault on the character of
people who happen to have a drinking problem.
Bill Wilson hated himself and his own character flaws, so he
all of his own
weaknesses and character flaws onto the alcoholics
around him, and also onto a mythical stereotypical alcoholic,
and then said,
"Look at him.
Look at how disgusting he is. We are all like that."
This whole book is non-stop guilt induction.
By the way, Bill Wilson said in a letter to Father Edward Dowling, S.J., that
he was getting "good help" in writing this book
from the spirits
"over there" in the spirit world whom he contacted during
séances. Father Dowling answered that he feared that Bill might be messing
with evil lying spirits from the dark side. Who knows, maybe Bill was...
Alcoholics Anonymous Comes Of Age published as
"anonymous", but really written by William G. Wilson
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1957, 1986.
Harper, New York, 1957.
LC: HV5278 .A78A4
Dewey: 178.1 A1c
This is Bill Wilson's version of the history of Alcoholics Anonymous.
It suspiciously differs from known history
here and there.
'PASS IT ON': The story of Bill Wilson and how the A.A. message
reached the world Authorship credited to 'anonymous';
actually written by A.A.W.S. staff
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1984.
LC: HV5032 .W19P37x 1984
This is the official, council-approved version of the history
of A.A.. Strangely enough, there is actually some very interesting stuff
in here, including chapter 16, which describes
Bill's spook sessions
and séances, talking with
the spirits of
the dead, and communicating
with spirits through spirit rapping and the Ouija board. See pages 275
As Bill Sees It On; The A.A. Way of Life... selected writings of A.A.'s co-founder
'anonymous' (really, A.A.W.S. staff)
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 1967.
Dewey: 616.861 ASB
This is Bill Wilson's opinion on everything, writings selected
This book reveals the immense hypocrisy of Bill Wilson. After stealing the A.A. publishing fund
and the copyright of the Big Book,
and selling Frank Buchman's cult religion as a quack cure for alcohol addiction,
and turning A.A. into his private harem of paid mistresses,
he yammered endless platitudes about spirituality and God and abandoning self-seeking, and on and on.
And even honesty.
The A.A. Way Of Life; a reader by Bill
'anonymous' (really, A.A.W.S. staff quoting William G. Wilson)
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (AAWS), New York, 19??.
Another collection of Bill Wilson's opinions on every subject.
Bill W. My First 40 Years
'An Autobiography By The Cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous'
(This is Bill Wilson's alleged 'autobiography', supposedly published
Hazelden, Center City, Minnesota 55012-0176, 2000.
Dewey: B W11w 2000
This book was assembled by ghost writers at Hazelden
from the same set of autobiographical tapes of Bill Wilson that Robert
Thomsen used for his book.
The Soul of Sponsorship: The Friendship of Fr. Ed Dowling, S.J. and Bill Wilson
in Letters Robert Fitzgerald, S.J.
Hazelden Pittman Archives Press, Center City, MN, 1995.
Dewey: 362.29286 FITZGERA 1995
This book includes Bill's letters to Father Dowling where he
describes his psychic contact with spirits from the "other side",
including "Boniface", who was supposedly the ghost of an English medieval
Benedictine missionary. Father Dowling answered that he felt
that Bill was making contact with evil spirits who were deceiving him.
See page 59.
It also contains letters describing Bill's LSD usage — that is the subject of
all of chapter 13.
Lois Remembers: Memoirs of the Co-Founder of Al-Anon and Wife of the
Co-Founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Lois Wilson
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. 1991.
Lois' book is pretty pathetic: it was probably ghost-written for her,
somebody else putting words into her mouth, yet again, because it came
out in 1979, long after Bill's death, when she was also very
old and frail. The Lois Remembers book parrots much of
the standard party line in the Big Book, including the
ridiculous "jealous of God and A.A." story:
Slowly I recognized that because I had not been able
to "cure" Bill of his alcoholism, I
resented the fact that someone else had done so,
and I was jealous of his newfound friends...
God, through the Oxford Group, had accomplished in a twinkling
what I had failed to do in seventeen years.
— Lois Remembers, page 99.
Children Of The Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob's Kids
Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows,
As Told to Christine Brewer
First publication: Parkside Publishing Corp., Park Ridge, IL, 1992.
2nd Printing, paperback: Hazelden Information Services, Center City, MN, 1994.
Applicable to both printings:
Dewey: 362.292 SM52C or 362.2923
Two children of Doctor Bob describe an alcoholic father who
created a dysfunctional family.
The autocratic Doctor Bob pressured his daughter Sue
to spurn her high-school
sweetheart Ray Windows. Dr. Bob got the idea of using
"A.A. Number Four", Ernie Galbraith, to break them up.
That resulted in the 32-year-old Ernie seducing 17-year-old Susan
and taking her for himself.
The marriage was a disaster, because Ernie Galbraith was a habitually unfaithful
(just like Bill Wilson).
He relapsed often, almost constantly. He never overcame his
alcohol addiction, in spite of the "help" of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Even worse, Ernie and Sue's daughter got pregnant at 16, and then killed herself
and her own little daughter with Ernie's shotgun a few years later,
in a double suicide-murder.
Bill Wilson quietly removed Ernie's story, "The Seven Month Slip",
from the Big Book in 1955 when the second edition was published,
but Sue didn't get divorced from Ernie until 1965.
Then she finally married Ray Windows, her old
high-school sweetheart, after his first wife died.
Alcoholics Anonymous was nothing but a personal disaster for Dr. Bob's daughter.
Then Robert Smith Jr.'s son, Dr. Bob's grandson, also committed suicide. That was one sick,
Grateful To Have Been There Nell Wing
Parkside Publishing Corporation, Park Ridge, Ill, 1992.
Dewey: 362.2928 WING
This is an interesting book, even if it is a complete whitewash and gloss-over.
Nell Wing was Bill Wilson's secretary for about 35 years, so it is understandable.
And we can see the obvious fingerprints of the other true believers, helping
Nell to tell the standard stories in exactly the same way as others have,
like Bill's conversations with the ghosts of Nantucket. (Page 56.)
Language Of The Heart William G. Wilson
A.A. Grapevine, New York, 1988.
LC: HV5278 .W15 1988
This is a collection of Bill's writings, speeches, and letters,
assembled after his death.
The Language Of The Heart: Step 12 Hazelden
Hazelden Educational Materials, Center City, MN 55012-0176, 1983.
Dewey: 362.2928 M135L
Don't confuse this pamphlet with the above book. This is just
a short piece of 12-Step propaganda from Hazelden,
16 pages of advice on how to do Step Twelve.
Ebby: The Man Who Sponsored Bill W.
Pittman Archives Press, Hazelden Information & Educational Services, Center City, MN, 1998.
Dewey: B THACHER B 1998
A biography of
It says that
Ebby's final days were spent in
a residential alcoholism treatment facility.
Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers
Authorship credited to 'anonymous'; actually written by
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., New York, 1980.
LC: HV5278.D62 1980
Interesting, gives a lot of details of the early days in Akron. It is, of course,
totally sanitized and every line has been checked to make sure that it conforms
to the standard (false) party line.
Where Did Everybody Go?
Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1981.
Dewey: 616.86'1'00924 or B Molloy M
Another piece of propaganda that teaches us that Alcoholics Anonymous is
right about everything. The author spent most of the book describing how
miserable his drinking life was, and then he suddenly flipped out and became
a raving true believer in A.A.
who even repeated this:
"... I consider the AA people to be the most charming in the world. ...
They have found a power greater than themselves which they serve diligently.
And that gives them a charm that never was elsewhere on land and sea. It makes you
know that God Himself is really charming, because the AA people reflect His
mercy and His forgiveness.
... when they have found their restoration, their sense of humor
finds a blessed freedom, and they are able to reach a god-like state...
"A god-like state"? Talk about
delusions of grandeur....
Talk about flattering the cult members by telling them that they are
See another quote here.
Bill W. Robert Thomsen
Harper & Rowe, New York, 1975.
Dewey: 362.29 W112t
This is a good biography of William G. Wilson, even if it is
very positively slanted towards Mr. Wilson, because the author
knew Mr. Wilson and worked beside him for the last 12 years
of Mr. Wilson's life, and this book was prepared
from the set of autobiographical tape recordings that Bill Wilson made before he died.
So expect it to praise Mr. Wilson a lot.
Still, this book will also tell you about some of Bill Wilson's
warts, his fat ego, his publicity-hound behavior, and his
years-long "dry drunks"...
Bill W. A Biography of Alcoholics Anonymous Cofounder Bill Wilson
Thomas Dunne Books, An imprint of St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010, 2000.
Dewey: B W11h 2000
Francis Hartigan was the personal secretary of and confidant to Bill
Wilson's wife Lois. This book is pretty much a white-wash of Bill Wilson, and
tells the whole story from Bill's point of view. But it does
contain a few surprises, like the chapter "The Other Woman"
which details Bill's love affair with Helen Wynn, and hints at
all of his other affairs where he cheated on Lois, both before
and after sobriety, all of his married life.
Hartigan also described
Bill Wilson taking LSD.
Note the interesting fact that Lois Wilson had her own private secretary.
That doesn't quite jibe with the published image of Bill and Lois
as a couple of desperately poor people who were always struggling
just to survive. The A.A. propagandists fail to tell you that Bill
Wilson managed to arrange A.A. finances so that he and Lois lived like
royalty in their A.A.-supplied house, while driving an A.A.-supplied
Cadillac car and being supported in comfort for the
rest of their lives by the Alcoholics Anonymous organization,
with private secretaries and a stable of mistresses
even. So much for
the much-ballyhooed "unselfish, constructive action" and
"abandoning self-seeking" and
and "having no thought of the profit motive"
that Wilson always promoted (for others).
Bill W. and Mr. Wilson — The Legend and Life of A.A.'s
Cofounder Matthew J. Raphael
University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, Mass., 2000.
Dewey Call Number: B W11r 2000
LC: HV5032 .W19 R36 2000
This book was written by another stepper — the name 'Matthew Raphael'
is a pen name — and it generally praises Bill Wilson and recites
the party line about most things, but it also contains a bunch
of surprises, like detailing Bill's sexual infidelities, his
and Bob's spook sessions — talking to the 'spirits' in séances
through the use of Ouija boards, spirit rapping, and channeling,
LSD use, and publicity-hound megalomania.
My Name Is Bill; Bill Wilson — His Life And The Creation Of Alcoholics Anonymous
Simon & Schuster, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, 2004.
LC: HV5032.W19C44 2004
Dewey: 362.292092—dc22 or B W11c 2004
Another biography of Bill Wilson written by a stepper with a bad case of
hero worship. She glosses over and rationalizes all of Bill Wilson's faults.
She even implies that Bill Wilson was right when he was conducting séances —
that he really was talking to the spirits of the dead,
and that it really was okay for him to be a sexual predator, because he was special.
Note that in November of 2004, Susan Cheever was elected to the
Board of Directors of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency
— the NCADD — the A.A. front group founded by
"Mrs." Marty Mann to promote Alcoholics Anonymous.
If Cheever helps to write the NCADD promotional literature,
then I would guess that there will be even less of a connection between
reality and their propaganda.
Note Found In A Bottle: My Life as a Drinker Susan Cheever
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1999.
LC: HV5293.C49A3 1999
Dewey: 362.292092—dc21 or B Ch4155n 1999
LCCN: 98-26463 CIP
A rambling name-dropping drunkalogue by the previous author that left me
feeling, "So what?"
She ended the book, summing up her life story, by saying,
"It seems as though my belief in God should take up more space in this
book, but it is intensely private and truly beyond my ability to describe.
I don't understand God; I just believe in God...." (page 189).
"I didn't know I had to stop drinking, and I didn't know I could stop drinking.
I didn't know I had to leave Warren [her husband], and I didn't know that
I could leave Warren." (page 190).
How Al-Anon Works for Friends and Families of Alcoholics anonymous
Al-Anon Family Groups Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1995.
LC: HV5132.H69 1995
The Al-Anon equivalent of the A.A. "Big Book".
Al-Anon's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions anonymous
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, Virginia, 1981.
LC: HV5278.A66 1990
Dewey: 362.2928 A319at or 362.2923 QBI92-20146
This book attempts to copy the form and style of William G. Wilson's
book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. It fails, however,
to fully emulate his raving insanity and brain-damaged lunacy.
It tries, though.
Paths to Recovery anonymous
Al-Anon Family Groups Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1997.
Another Al-Anon equivalent of the A.A. book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions".
Al-Anon's favorite forum editorials anonymous
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1970.
Standard propaganda from Al-Anon.
Why you wives should be happy to have an
alcoholic husband. How to deal with it passively,
always being the good little woman, always smiling,
never nagging, always waiting patiently and gratefully for the
noble A.A. men and God to solve the problem for you.
And, of course, how to convince yourself that such stupid
behavior is true "spirituality."
Hope for Today Al-Anon Family Groups
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA, 2002.
A book of daily meditations.
Some of the worst mind-bending drivel around. On average, even worse than
Alcoholics Anonymous propaganda.
This is the church that is dedicated to the insane proposition that you should
spend the rest of your life grovelling and wallowing in guilt and powerlessness because
Daddy drank too much alcohol.
First Steps; Al-Anon... 35 Years of Beginnings
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1986.
Dewey: 362.2928 F527
Official P.R. fluff. Why Al-Anon is so wonderful. A sanitized,
I'll Cry Tomorrow Lillian Roth
Frederick Fell Publishers, Inc., 386 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016.
Dewey: 792 R84
This is the story of a child movie star, popular in the nineteen-twenties and -thirties, who was
a hard-core, ruined, dying alcoholic by the age of 34. Her descriptions of the horrors of
alcoholism and addiction to alcohol are some of the most candid and graphic around.
After treatment in a mental hospital and a relapse,
she ostensibly found happiness in Alcoholics Anonymous.
The 12 steps and the religious nature of the A.A. program got a mere 2 pages (232-233),
most of which was spent in reprinting the 12 steps and repeating the slogan
that "It isn't religious, it's spiritual", and then she
had lots of fun being a member of a secret society, starting up the first A.A. group
in New Zealand (pages 256-259).
Unfortunately, this book is a very shallow treatment
of the A.A. program. Also unfortunate was the fact that A.A. didn't work
for her either. Nell Wing, Bill Wilson's secretary,
wrote that Lillian Roth returned to drinking, just like so many of the other
early A.A. members and "pioneers" (A.A. promoters).
(Grateful To Have Been There, Nell Wing, pages 46-47.)
Also see the 1958 movie "I'll Cry Tomorrow", starring Susan Hayward,
which was an adaptation of this book.
Dreaming: Hard Luck and Good Times in America Carolyn See
Random House, New York, 1995.
This book tells us a bit about Carolyn See's step-mother Wynn C. (Corum),
who was one of Bill Wilson's paramours, and consequently the author of
the story "Freedom From Bondage" in the Big Book.
More info, and a quote, here.
Not-God: A History of Alcoholics Anonymous
Hazelden Educational Foundation, Center City, MN, 1979.
ISBN: 0-899-486065-8 or ISBN: 0-89486-065-8 (pbk.)
Dewey: 362.2/9286 or 362.29286 K87 1979
This is a very pro-A.A., toe-the-party-line history of Alcoholics Anonymous,
but it is still a valuable resource for a wealth of historical facts and
"My Name Is Bill W.",
a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV movie, screenplay by William Borchert
(April 30, 1989, 9 PM, ABC TV).
A very dishonest, extremely distorted, highly-sanitized version
of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.
There are more discussions of this movie
A Biography of Mrs. Marty Mann: The First Lady of Alcoholics Anonymous
Sally Brown and David R. Brown
Hazelden Information & Educational Services, Center City, MN, 2001.
LC: HV5293.M155 B76 2001
Dewey: 362.29'86'092—dc21 or B Ma3155b 2001
This book fulfills the promise that "If it's from Hazelden, you
know it's propaganda."
The back cover starts the falsehoods:
It says that Mrs. Marty Mann was a
'Pioneer public health reformer
and author of "Women Suffer Too," the first story written
by a woman in the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book.'
No, it wasn't. Florence Rankin
was the author of the story "A Feminine Victory" in the
first edition of the Big Book. Back in 1939, when the Big Book
first came out, Marty Mann was still a patient in
Blythewood Sanitarium in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Dr. Harry Tiebout handed her an early multilith copy of the
Big Book to read, and she became a true believer.
But Florence Rankin relapsed and disappeared, so Bill Wilson took
her story out and put Marty's story in the second edition, and ever
since, they have been trying to cover up the fact that Marty Mann
was not the first woman in A.A. — that the real first A.A.
woman actually went out and died drunk. (She is said to have committed suicide
in Washington, D.C..)
After Marty sobered up, she dedicated her life to the cult, and
spent the rest of her life campaigning for A.A., and proselytizing,
breaking her anonymity
and promoting A.A. in violation of the Eleventh Tradition:
"Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather
than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the
level of press, radio, and films."
Marty Man founded the National Council on Alcoholism (NCA), which was renamed
to the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency (NCADD), which
exists solely to promote 12-Step everything.
The Little Red Book Hazelden staff
Hazelden Foundation, Center City, Minnesota, 1957, 1986.
Dewey: 362.2928 L778 1986
This book, like the Chinese Communist
The Little Red Book of Chairman Mao, is
full of slogans and
the faithful A.A. Party member, training him in Party tactics like
how to use judges and police to force more people to go to A.A. meetings.
Twenty-Four Hours a Day "Compiled by a member
of the Group at Daytona Beach, Florida."
Hazelden Foundation, Center City, Minnesota, 1954, 1975.
Dewey: 291.43 TWENTY 1975
Another "daily meditations" kind of book; one cultish thought for every
day of the year.
I must remember that in spiritual matters I am only an instrument. It is
not mine to decide how or when I am to act. ...
"Jawohl, mein Führer! You are right about everything.
I exist only to follow your orders! Sieg Heil!"
The Promise of A New Day; A Book of Daily Meditations
Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg
Harper/Hazelden, Harper & Rowe, Publishers, New York and
Hazelden Foundation, Center City, Minnesota, 1983, 1985.
Dewey: 242.2 CASEY 1985
Another "daily meditations" kind of book; another cultish thought for every
day of the year.
I can't speak the truth too often; it's new every day.
"Is that why they don't tell the truth?"
Igniting the Spirit at Work; Daily Reflections Marilyn Mason, Ph.D.
Hazelden Foundation, Center City, Minnesota, 2001.
LC: BF481.M385 2001
Dewey: 158.128—dc21 or 158.128 M411i 2001
Yet another Hazelden "daily meditations" book. Surprisingly, not as
negative and cultish as the others from Hazelden.
Just for today, I will ask myself whether I am comparing myself to someone else and
whether it is for learning or for putting myself down.
One Day At A Time In Al-Anon Al-Anon staff
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1990.
Dewey: 613.81 AL
A collection of sayings and standard propaganda slogans, one for
each day of the year. This bunch is for brainwashing the wives of
the alcoholics. Really obnoxious, harmful stuff:
While the alcoholic picked up a drink and became drunk on alcohol,
I picked up the alcoholic and became drunk on control and approval-seeking.
page 254, September 10.
As We Understood Al-Anon staff
Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., New York, 1985.
ISBN: 0-910034-56-7 (Erroneously listed as 910034-56-7 in the book.)
Dewey: 613.81 AS
Another collection of standard slogans and cult theology.
Hope, Faith, and Courage; Stories from the Fellowship of Cocaine Anonymous
Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Cocaine Anonymous World Services, Inc., Los Angeles, CA, 1993.
ISBN 0-9638193-0-5 (hardcvr) ; ISBN 0-9638193-1-3 (softcvr) ; ISBN 0-9638193-9-9 (H&I edition)
A book of
(proof by anecdote)
from the headquarters of Cocaine Anonymous.
Among other things, it teaches us the heresies that "Today I know that I am powerless
over the outcome of everything and that my life is still unmanageable by me" (page 38),
and GOD = "the Group Of Drug addicts at the meetings" (page 13).
Most of the book is devoted to telling us that the story writers were miserable until they
joined Cocaine Anonymous, and they were made just so happy by doing the Twelve Steps.
Big Book Unplugged; A Young Person's Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous John R.
Hazelden, Center City, MN, 2003.
Dewey: 362.292 R111b
This is largely extracts from the Big Book, rewritten with the goal
of enticing young people into the organization. Rather insidious stuff, besides
See this note for criticisms.
The Akron Genesis of Alcoholics Anonymous
Paradise Research Publications, Inc., Box 959, Kihei, Maui, HI 96753-0959,
Dewey: 362.2928 B111a 1998
See Dick's web site at:
He has a good selection of books about the early days of Alcoholics
Also see more history at:
New Light on Alcoholism; God, Sam Shoemaker, and A.A.
Paradise Research Publications, Inc., Box 959, Kihei, Maui, HI 96753-0959,
LC: HV5278.B03 1994
As the title implies, this book concentrates on the influence of
Rev. Sam Shoemaker on A.A.. Good, extensive, well researched and
documented. Written by a believer.
Getting Better Inside Alcoholics Anonymous
William Morrow and Company, Inc., New York, 1988.
LC: HV5278.R59 1988
Dewey: 362.2928 R651g or 362.2'9286—dc19
Another very standard, sanitized, history of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Full of factual errors, white-washes, and cover-ups.
For instance, on page 69 we are told
that Henry Parkhurst just ran Honor Dealers and loaned Bill his secretary
Ruth Hock, while Bill Wilson wrote all eleven of the opening chapters
of the Big Book. That is wrong. That is
Bill Wilson's lie.
Henry wrote the "To Employers" chapter
for sure, and probably much more.
Henry even outlined and structured the entire book.
(See the document here.)
Bill Wilson minimized Hank's work because Bill stole all of it.
On page 70 the authoress admits that Bill Wilson, and not Lois,
wrote the "To Wives" chapter, but offers us no reason for
Bill's deceptive claim that "The Wives of Alcoholics Anonymous"
This authoress just goes along with Bill Wilson's statements on everything.
The Recovery Book Al J. Mooney, M.D., Arlene
Eisenberg, Howard Eisenberg
Workman Publishing, New York, 1992.
ISBN: 1-56305-084-6 (pbk.)
LC: HV5275.M56 1992
Dewey: 613.81 M00
The book is a veiled AA-pusher. It purports to be a fair, balanced,
general-purpose recovery book, but it keeps coming back to saying that
A.A., Al-Anon, and the Twelve Steps are
Serenity, A Companion for Twelve Step Recovery,
Complete with New Testament Psalms & Proverbs,
Dr. Robert Hemfelt and Dr. Richard Fowler
Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Atlanta, London, Vancouver,
1979, 1980, 1982, 1990.
LC: BT736.4 .S47 1990
This is the book that is nicknamed "the Serenity Bible".
It is mostly just books out of the Bible, but the front section,
the first 80 pages, is pure 12-Step propaganda.
A sample quote here.
Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure? Charles Bufe
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731, 1998.
Dewey: 362.29286 B929a 1998
This book is an eye-opener. One of the first to tell the truth
(This is the second edition; it has noticeably more information
than the first edition. The first edition is: ISBN: 0-9613289-3-2,
printed in 1991.)
This book is now available for free download at:
(And you can also get Ken Ragge's books, The Real AA, and
More Revealed, there.)
A History of Addiction & Recovery in the United States
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731, 2001.
Dewey: 362.29180973 or 362.2918 L547h
Also from See Sharp Press, another excellent critical analysis
of the whole recovery industry, including A.A., treatment centers,
and "codependency therapy".
Mental health in A.A.
Addiction, Change & Choice; The New View of Alcoholism
Vince Fox, M.Ed. CRREd.
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731, 1993.
Dewey: 362.29286i FOX
And yet another great book from the See Sharp Press.
One of the things I like best is how Fox stresses just
how damaging and dangerous it is for A.A. and N.A. to teach
addicts that they are powerless over alcohol or their addiction, and
have no choice in the matter. That is a ready-made rationalization
for a drunkard to have another drink, and for a doper to shoot up again.
And that is what the steppers do.
Fox also does a good job of criticizing the arrogant
"My way or the highway"
attitude of self-righteous A.A. and N.A. sponsors.
- Heavy Drinking: Its Historical Context
- Alcoholism: Definitions & Opinions
- Polarization: Us vs. Them
- The Objective: Personal Autonomy
- Alcoholics Anonymous: Essence & Functions
- Alcoholics Anonymous: Effectiveness
- The Forces & Directions of Change
- The Independent Self-Help Programs
- Rational Recovery Systems Network
- Traditional Recovery Management
- Nontraditional Recovery Management
- Noninstitutional Recovery
- ...and more...
Talking Out of Alcoholism; The Self-Help Process of Alcoholics Anonymous
University Park Press, Baltimore MD, 1979.
LC: HV5278.R6 1979
A fair and balanced study of Alcoholics Anonymous. There is nothing particularly
new or revealing about this information; it's just a long and neutral analysis.
As such, it unfortunately side-steps a few important questions like "How
well do it really work?"
...there has never been a competent long term study of who goes to Alcoholics
The Useful Lie William L. Playfair, M.D. with George Bryson
Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, A division of Good News Publishers, 1991.
LC: BV4596.A48P42 1991
An interesting exposé of Alcoholics Anonymous, coming from both
a scientific and biblical point of view:
"The real truth from the Bible and science about addictions and
codependence — and how you can be free of them!"
In spite of its very unusual approach, this book makes a lot of good
points, and clearly shows that A.A. dogma is false both from a medical
and theological viewpoint, as in:
The irony of a Twelve Step program customized for Christians is that many
who use it believe it is not only effective but Biblical.
... If the original Twelve Step program needs to be "adapted" for
Christians, it seems odd to say that it is "Biblically based."
What kind of double talk is going on here? Unfortunately, this kind of
confusion is characteristic of the literature of "Christianized"
After all is said and done, Christians do not seem to be making the recovery
industry approach more compatible with Biblical Christianity. On the contrary,
the recovery industry seems to be influencing the Christian approach.
The Useful Lie, William L. Playfair, M.D. with George Bryson, pages 84-85,
and 185-186 (footnote).
The Heresy Of The Twelve Steps,
Alcoholics Anonymous Unmasked; Deception and Deliverance Cathy Burns
Companion Press, Shippensburg PA, 1991.
An exposé of A.A. from a fundamentalist Christian point of view.
Understanding the Twelve Steps Terence T. Gorski
A Fireside Book, published by Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989.
LC: HV5278 .G67 1991
This is just the usual 12-Step dogma, cut and pasted by a paper shredder.
— Meaning, there is not a single new, different, creative, or
original thought in the whole book; it's just
the same old stuff,
What is curious is the fact that three years later, Terence Gorski
quite perceptively denounced the entire Adult Children of Alcoholics
and co-dependency movement:
In 1992, Terence Gorski, a prominent spokesperson within the
field of addictions, addressing a conference of the
National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, stated:
If I were hired by the enemies of the chemical dependency field
... I couldn't give them a better strategy [to destroy
the field] than the adult children of alcoholics movement and
the codependency movement. When we as a field
expanded addictions to include all compulsive disorders we
destroyed our constituency base ... destroyed our
funding base ... destroyed our economic stability.
The Tenacity of Error in the treatment of addiction,
Michael J. Lemanski, Humanist, May/Jun97, Vol. 57 Issue 3, p18.
Passages Through Recovery; An action Plan for Preventing Relapse
Terence T. Gorski
Hazelden Information & Educational Services, Center City,
Dewey: 362.2928 G674p 1989
More of the same old stuff. Once again, you will be taught how to
work the 12 steps. The author does try to dress this book up a bit with
"personality tests" and the like, but the answers are all
the usual 12-Step theology and pseudo-psychology.
Grandchildren of Alcoholics; Another Generation of Co-dependency
Ann W. Smith
Health Communications, Inc., Pompano Beach, Florida, 1988.
LC: HV5132.S65 1988
Some pretty entertaining quack medicine — well, entertaining unless you are
a victim of it.
This authoress even wants to shove the grandchildren of alcoholics into
28-day inpatient treatment programs.
We also discussed her book
Adult Children of Alcoholics Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D.
Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 1983.
Dewey: 362.292 W847a 1983
Simplistic, stupid, pseudo-intellectual bull passed off as some kind of psychology.
This book sells a monstrous stereotype of all children of alcoholics, and
declares that they all suffer from the same psychological defects.
See quote here.
The Complete ACOA Sourcebook; Adult Children of Alcoholics at Home,
at Work, and in Love Janet Geringer Woititz, Ed.D.
Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 2002.
LC: HV5132.W63 2002
Dewey: 362.292 W847c 2002
This book is just a continuation of Woititz's previous book, and it
continues to promote a simplistic stereotype of "the Adult Child of an Alcoholic".
Not surprisingly, she declares that
"Reading the book Adult Children of Alcoholics
is the first step toward recovery." (Page 148.)
Reclaim Your Family From Addiction; How Couples and Families Recover Love and Meaning
Hazelden Information and Educational Services, Center City, MN, 2000.
LC: HV5132.N35 2000
Dewey: 362.2913-dc21 or 362.29 N163r 2000
More 12-Step cult baloney, this time from the Hazelden publishing plant.
Again, we are treated to the standard stereotypes of spouses and children of alcoholics,
culminating in a recomendation that we join the 12-step cult religion.
And as usual, the author manages to twist things around in a bait-and-switch
con game. The author starts with the usual come-on, sympathizing about
how unfortunate it was that you were the abused child of
an alcoholic, or the spouse of an alcoholic.
Then the author switches to declarations that you are wrong about most everything.
Spouses of addicts, whom the author calls "co-addicts",
are invited to join Alcoholics Anonymous or Al-Anon with these statements:
Members of these recovery programs read, talk with others who have had similar
experiences, and study the spiritual principles found within the Twelve Steps.
Individuals are encouraged to understand how they, not their partners, have betrayed
these principles. We are encouraged to see what we did wrong, not what others
did. Taking our own inventories helps us define our own behavior and motivation.
Members are supported in taking a long and hard look at how addiction has changed them.
Excuse me, but whose addiction has "changed them"? Who says that
the wives and children of alcoholics have done anything wrong, or "betrayed principles"?
This is just more of the crazy 12-Step cult's guilt-induction routine.
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
A Hazelden Book, Harper Collins Publisher, New York, 1987.
ISBN: 0-06-255446-8 (pbk.)
LC: RC564.B42 1987
Again, more codependency nonsense and quack psychiatric advice.
How to stop caring about sick people and "have a love affair with yourself".
And then how to work a 12-Step program.
Beattie gave this kind of advice on how to attain happiness — This is
her rap where she compared the benefits of real therapy to the benefits
of membership in the 12-Step cult Al-Anon.
She wrote that therapy is a luxurious ocean liner, and Al-Anon is a small invisible boat:
...Of course, we'll get on the ocean liner, the luxury cruise.
The next thing we know, we're heading for that island of happiness.
The problem is, about mid-way across the water, the ocean liner stops, turns around, and heads back
to the shore where we started from. Then the captain orders everyone off of the ship.
When we ask, "Why?" he says, "Our cruise only goes so far.
The only way you can ever get to that island
is by getting in the invisible boat (called Al-Anon)."
Thus, Melody Beattie declared that
the cult is The Only Way to find happiness,
and regular medical treatment is useless. No wonder the 12-Step propaganda house of Hazelden
Codependent No More & Beyond Codependency
A Hazelden Book, MJF Books, New York, 1992.
ISBN: 0-56731-218-7 (hardcover)
This is two books in one, more of the same cult religion and quackery as the previous book.
Prophets of Psychoheresy II Martin and Deidre Bobgan
EastGate Publishers, Santa Barbara, California, 1990.
LC: BR110.B54 1989
This book challenges the opinions of Dr. James Dobson, which the
authors consider to be heresy masquerading as psychology.
Hence the name "psychoheresy". Chapter 17 is
another exposé of A.A. and A.C.A. from a fundamentalist
Christian point of view.
The Varieties of Religious Experience
The Modern Library, New York, 1994. (Reprint)
(Originally printed in 1902.)
Dewey: 201 J23v 1994
This is the classic tome on religious experiences which has been
praised by everybody from Bill Wilson to Aldous Huxley to Timothy
Leary. This is also the book that gave Bill Wilson the idea of
making the second half of the Big Book all stories of
people's A.A. experiences. Large sections of James' book are filled with
stories about people's religious experiences, including many stories of
people who had religious experiences and immediately stopped drinking and
never drank alcohol again. Bill Wilson copied both the content and the style there.
Note that the famous quote about religious mania being the only cure for alcoholism
that Bill Wilson repeatedly attributed to Carl Jung actually came from this book.
Footnote 1 on page 263 of Varieties says:
'"The only radical remedy I know for dipsomania is religiomania,"
is a saying I have heard quoted from some medical man.'
William James published Varieties in 1902, but he didn't meet Carl Jung
until 1909, so it is unlikely that James got that line from Jung.
More Revealed: A Critical Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous and
the Twelve Steps Ken Ragge, 1992.
ALERT! Publishing, P.O. Box 50233, Henderson, Nevada 89016-0233
The first chapter of More Revealed, which
specifically covers Frank Buchman and
the earliest days of A.A., is available free on the Internet at
You can also get Charles Bufe's book Alcoholics Anonymous, Cult
or Cure? there.
AA Horror Stories Rebecca Fransway
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731, 2000.
Dewey: 362.2918 T971 2000
This book will curl your hair. One fair-minded 12-Stepper suggested that
every new A.A. member should be issued copies of both the Big Book and this
book when he or she walks in the door, to tell the newcomers about both
the good and the bad things that could happen to them in "the rooms."
One of the most disturbing repeated themes is women who were the victims
of rape or thirteenth-stepping being told to just shut up and find their
part in it and go make some coffee, and to not harbor any resentments
against their attackers.
This book is now available for free download at:
Delirium Tremens, Stories of Suffering and Transcendence
Hazelden, Center City, MN, 2000
Dewey: 616.861 S684d
This pro-A.A. piece of propaganda from Hazelden is another collection
of stories of people who were allegedly miserable until they
discovered A.A., the Twelve Steps, and God.
It follows pretty much the same
strategy as you will find in the Big Book.
The Way Home, A Collective Memoir of the Hazelden Experience
The Hazelden staff
Hazelden, Center City, MN, 1997
This is just more Hazelden propaganda,
really outrageous propaganda.
Again, it is stories of people whose lives were allegedly changed for the
better by discovering Hazelden, A.A., the Twelve Steps, and God
(and by paying Hazelden $15,000 for a 28-day stay).
The Harder They Fall; Celebrities Tell Their Real-Life Stories of Addiction and Recovery
Gary Stromberg and Jane Merrill
Hazelden, Center City, MN 55012-0176, 2005.
LC: HV5824.C42S87 2005
Dewey: 616.860922—dc22 or 616.86 S921h 2005
A collection of stories of addiction and recovery that carry a hidden message:
that treatment centers like Hazelden are good helpful things, and actually somehow work.
And of course they also tell you that A.A. meetings are the new way of life.
We discussed this book in letters
The 12 Steps to Happiness Joe Klaas
The Hazelden Foundation, Center City, MN, 1982.
Paperback edition published by Ballentine Books, New York, 1990.
Just another piece of propaganda that explains the 12 steps to us.
This book includes religious teachings like,
"The wrong kinds
of prayer can be a form of black magic, for when we seek to use
a supernatural force to help us achieve our goals, it ceases to be
supernatural and becomes superhuman. To make God into a servant
is to place him under our superhuman power. Yet is this not exactly
what we have long been taught to do? To get down on our knees and
pray for God to go to work for us?"
— Page 140.
So if we ask for God's help, we are practicing black magic?
And if you ask God to help you quit drinking and doping,
is that black magic?
If so, then acting-President G.W. Bush is guilty of it, because that's
what he says he did...
I can't help but be curious about what the other churches would have to
say about this...
And, as usual, I am left with the question:
"What does any of this
theological argument have to do with quitting drinking?"
Power Recovery; Twelve Steps for a New Generation
Paulist Press, New York and Mahwah, N.J., 1995.
LC: HV5275.W55 1995
For the life of me, I couldn't see what was new or different about it.
It looked like the same old 12-Step stuff to me.
Relapse Traps; How to Avoid Them Robert Ramsey Ed.D.
Ventura Press, Ventura, California, 1998.
Dewey: 362.2928 R183r
This book is an interesting mixture of good advice and the same
old bad 12-Step garbage. For instance:
Actually, many people, including me, have noticed that going to
AA meetings makes us want to drink even more.
And I have an ex-junkie friend who swears that N.A. meetings make
him want to shoot dope, and that's why he doesn't go.
- Cut down on caffeine, nicotine, and sugar.
- Stay away from people who anger, threaten, frustrate or
intimidate you, including old drinking buddies.
- Listen to music. It really does soothe the savage breast.
- "Persist in working the 12 steps of AA. Each is a stepping stone
- "Continue going to AA meetings. The mere act of attendance helps
to lower stress."
Flowers in the Blood: the story of opium
Dean Latimer and Jeff Goldberg
Franklin Watts, New York, London, Toronto, Syndey, 1981.
ISBN: 0-531-09853-2 (hard cover); 0-531-09859-1 (paperback)
Describes the Towns-Lambert "belladonna cure" that Bill Wilson
was given in Town's Hospital (pages 247-250) for his alcoholism.
The belladonna cure started off as a cure for
opium addiction, but Charles Towns "turned into a perfect crackpot"
and pushed the belladonna cure as a panacea — a cure-all.
Note that Charles Towns was "a Georgia insurance salesman who made a fortune
dosing middle-class addicts with hyoscyamine and strychnine..." (p.248)
Towns was not a doctor.
... before long [Towns] was billing his cure as guaranteed to work for any
compulsive behavior, from morphinism to nicotinism to caffeinism,
to kleptomania and bedwetting.
Dr. Lambert then dissociated himself from Charles Towns and his hospital.
Lambert's defection from the Towns-Lambert Cure was also based on the
need to revise his cure estimate significantly downward; as time went on,
he began to notice that people kept coming back for the cure, cure after
cure, for years on end.
How to Quit Drugs including Alcohol L. Douglas Taylor
Vantage Press, New York, 1999.
Dewey: 362.29 T2435h 1999
More 12-Step dogma and misinformation disguised as helpful advice.
See quote here.
Twelve-Step Guide To Using The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book
Capizon Publishing, Torrance, California, 2004.
Dewey: 362.2928 K11t 2001
This book says that prayer is the answer to everything. Literally. The word prayer appears on
almost every page.
Herb K. has a prayer for every one of the Twelve Steps, and then more prayers as exercises, then
more, and more...
- "This man, Jerry R., introduced me to a very structured method of approaching the Big Book
based on ... Prayer, Reading, Consideration/reflection, Writing, Discussion." (p. 6)
- "He asked me to pray each time I sat down to do any of the assignments." (p. 7)
- "Therefore, my instructions begin by asking you to use the
following 'set aside' prayer: 'God, please let me set aside everything that I think I know
about myself, my disease, the Twelve Steps and you, God...'" (p. 20)
Alcoholic Thinking: Language, Culture, and
Belief in Alcoholics Anonymous Danny M. Wilcox
Praeger, Westport Connecticut and London, 1998.
ISBN: 0-275-96049-8 (hardcover)
LC: HV5045.W55 1998
This is an authoritive book that purports to be a neutral study of
A.A. and A.A. thinking, but it echoes the standard party line far too
much. It basically manages to condense all of the dogma and misinformation
in the first 164 pages of the Big Book and reprint it in 124 pages.
It repeats all of the standard doctrines, like "powerless over alcohol",
and only criticizes the most ridiculous aspects of A.A., like the superstitious
use of A.A. coins as magical charms or fetishes, and the
"no medications" beliefs of members.
Understanding the Alcoholic's Mind; The Nature of Craving and How to Control It
Arnold M. Ludwig, M.D.
Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1988.
LC: RC565.L83 1988
Some simple, common-sense information, but flavored with 12-Step dogma.
He has, unfortunately, a whole chapter on "the dry drunk".
Clinical Supervision in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling
David J. Powell, with Archie Brodsky
Jossey-Bass, an imprint of Wiley, San Francisco, 2004.
ISBN: 0-7879-7377-7 (alk. paper)
LC: HV5276.P68 2004
Dewey: 362.2918 P882c 2004
A book that tries to teach people how to supervise drug and alcohol counselors.
Unfortunately, the model of treatment advanced is called "The Blended Model",
which is just a mish-mash of everything that has already failed, like Alcoholics Anonymous
and the so-called "Minnesota Model".
The book advances A.A. with arguments like
'The twelve-step movement has been
called "the greatest social movement of the twentieth century" (Naisbitt and
It isn't a movement, it's a cult religion, and it's also been called the biggest
failure of the century in alcoholism treatment.
The authors continue:
"In the twelve-step approach, two primary goals — acceptance and surrender —
form the basis for early recovery from alcoholism or addiction.
There is that deceptive phrase again — "through will-power alone".
People don't use only will power to shape their lives —
they use the desire to avoid sickness and death,
desire to have a better life, fear of death, desire for a better sex life,
desire for a successful career, a lot of different things to determine their future lives.
But the parrots of Bill's Bull keep on yammering
about how you cannot succeed
"through will-power alone".
Acceptance is the breakdown of the illusion that through will-power alone
one can limit or control substance abuse. ...
Surrender involves a reaching out for help beyond oneself..."
And of course their answer to alcoholism is to surrender to a cult.
How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics; Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction
in its Early Stages
Galt Publishing, Northridge, California, 2004.
This book pushes the worst kind of quackery.
Doug Thorburn is a financial planner who for some reason decided to
spend a year sitting in A.A. meetings, listening to their stories, and
then he decided that
he's now an expert on alcoholism. This book puts forth the worst kind of stereotype
of "the alcoholic".
Believe it or not, Thorburn says that some of the key factors
that will reveal a hidden alcoholic to you include:
And this one is totally over the top:
The very first of Doug Thorburn's "physical signs of early-stage alcoholism"
- Over-achiever, due to a need to win at any cost
- Regularly uses foul language
- Smokes cigarettes
- Extraordinarily charming
- Occupational choices that allow the wielding of power or ease of use
- Engages in risky behavior in reckless fashion
- Has a "the rules don't apply to me" attitude
- Compulsive gambler
- and so on....
"1. Has an ethnic background with a higher risk of alcoholism."
African-Americans, totalling only 12% of the American population, comprise
40% of prison inmates. Rather than suggesting that this racial group
consists of more "bad" people than do those of other ancestries,
or that white cops are more likely to arrest non-whites, we might
consider the possibility that people of certain ancestries have a
greater genetic predisposition to alcoholism than do others.
So, being black is a physical sign of early-stage alcoholism?
Those Blacks are just born alcoholics?
Much more about Doug Thorburn and his books
Smashed; Story of a Drunken Girlhood Koren Zailckas
Viking, the Penguin Group, New York and London, 2005.
LC: HV5293.Z35A3 2005
Dewey: 616.861092—dc21 or 616.861 Z21s 2005
An interesting, easily-read drunkalogue that is somehow quite clear about the
whole thing. The authoress explains that she does not consider herself an
alcoholic; she calls herself an alcohol abuser, and explains that she started
drinking very early, like at 14, and drank heavily all through high school and
college, and then she quit drinking when it became too expensive.
The Glass Castle; a memoir Jeanette Walls
Scribner, New York, NY, 2005.
LC: HV5132.W35 2005
Dewey: 362.82092—dc22 or B Wa1589g 2005
A really great book. The authoress describes a terribly harsh and deprived
childhood as the daughter of a crazy alcoholic father and an equally
crazy mother who fancied herself an artist.
The authoress' candidness is refreshing.
And she finally manages to escape — and to get all of her siblings away from the parents and to
a saner environment — without resort to Al-Anon, Adult Children of Alcoholics, or any
such guilt-inducing 12-step nonsense.
What puzzles me most is just what you would call the kind of insanity
that the father exhibited. Whatever it was, it was the cause, not the
effect, of the alcoholism. The father was crazy long before he started
drinking heavily. The cause might have been that he was also an abused
child of alcoholics. When he took his family back to West Virginia to
live with his mother, the authoress saw that Grandma kept a bottle of
liquor hidden in a pocket of her dress, and she was as crazy as Father
was, even trying to molest the authoress' younger brother.
SHAM: how the self-help movement made America helpless Steve Salerno
Crown Publishers, New York c2005.
Dewey: 155.2 S163s 2005
Quite impressive. Leaves you feeling haunted, because the evils and ills that he describes are
all around us.
Contents: Introduction : Hopelessly hooked on help — The culprits — How we got
here — wherever here is — False prophets, false profits — Dr. Phil Mcgraw :
absolute power — Tony Robbins : leaps (and bounds) of faith — "Ya
gotta want it!" — Put me in, coach, I'm ready to pay — Killer
performances : the rise of the contrepreneur — The consequences — You
are all diseased — Looking for love — on all the wrong bases? — I'm OK,
you're — how do you spell OK again? — Patient, heal thyself —
Conclusion : a SHAM society.
Doctors in A.A.; the profession's skepticism persists, but MDs
in Alcoholics Anonymous say the 12-Step program could benefit all
physicians C. Thomas Anderson
American Medical News, Jan 12, 1990 v33 n2 p33(2)
This is a screwy piece of A.A.-booster propaganda
that the 12 steps would be wonderful for all doctors, if only
they would quit thinking, and stop trying to be scientific.
Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction,
The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Numbers 2,3, & 4,
Aug. (Part I), Sept. (Part II), Oct. 1995 (Part III).
A good overview of the state of the art, by the Harvard Medical School.
American Health Magazine, J. Gurion, March 1990.
...people are about ten times as likely to change on their own as with the
help of doctors, therapists, or self-help groups.
Comments on A.A.'s Triennial Surveys [no author listed,
published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., New York,
no date (probably 1990)]. The document has an A.A. identification number of
This document tells us that 95% of the newcomers to A.A. drop out in the first year.
The Alcoholism Report, Feb 1991 v19 n7 p8(2).
Reports on one of the GSO surveys.
"THE UNFORTUNATE HISTORY OF ADDICTIONS TREATMENT ALSO MAY BE
THE UNFORTUNATE FUTURE OF ADDICTIONS TREATMENT", Scott McMillin,
Addiction Letter, May 1994, Vol. 10, Issue 5, p3.
Full text available on EBSCO
Propaganda that says that 12-Step counselors know more than real doctors.
Relapse Prevention with Substance Abusers: Clinical Issues and Myths, Dennis Daley.
Social Work, March-April 1987, pages 139-140.
Drunk with Power, Stanton Peele, Reason, May 2001, Vol. 33, Issue 1, p34, 5pp.
Describes the failure of Texas' correctional substance abuse treatment
Peele, Stanton, The Sciences, 1998, vol. 38, no. 2, Mar-Apr, pp. 17-21.
"...the most widely used alcoholism treatments (Twelve-Step) are the least
A randomized trial of treatment options for alcohol-abusing workers
Dr. Diana Chapman Walsh et al.
The New England Journal of Medicine, 325:775-782, 1991.
One of the few valid studies of the effectiveness of A.A. treatment —
a randomized longitudinal controlled study.
It found that sending alcoholics to the "free" A.A. meetings
did not save much money; for many alcoholics, it was a very expensive
choice because A.A. just made them worse, so that they required greater
amounts of expensive hospitalization later.
Alcoholics Anonymous and the Counseling Profession: Philosophies
in conflict by Christine Le, Erik P. Ingvarson, and Richard C. Page,
Journal of Counseling & Development, 07-01-1995, page 603.
Describes problems with testing the success rate of A.A..
Matching Alcoholism Treatments to Client Heterogeneity;
Project MATCH Posttreatment Drinking Outcomes,
by Project MATCH Research Group, Journal of Studies on Alcohol,
January 1997, pp. 7-29.
Reports some of the results of Project MATCH.
Rewriting the Book on How to Treat Alcoholics,
the editorial staff, ScienceNOW magazine, 12-17-1996.
A report on Project MATCH:
"All therapies, however, appeared to be equally effective..."
Correlates of Past-Year Status Among Treated and
Untreated Persons with Former Alcohol Dependence: United States, 1992,
by Deborah A. Dawson.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 20, No. 4, June 1996, p. 773.
The effects of sponsorship in 12-Step treatment of injection drug users,
Byron L. Crape, Carl A. Latkin, Alexandra S. Laris, Amy R. Knowlton
(all of the Johns Hopkins University,
School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA),
[Journal of] Drug & Alcohol Dependence, Vol 65(3), Feb 2002, pp. 291-301.
Reported that the sponsorship system of A.A. and N.A. did not help the newcomers at all.
But it did seem to help the old-timers.
Placebo And Opioid Treatment Activate Same Neuronal Network,
Reuters Health, Feb 08, 2002.
Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment; A Research-Based Guide (Second Edition)
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
NIH Publication No. 09-4180
Printed October 1999; Reprinted July 2000, February 2008; Revised April 2009.
Contains some glaring misinformation and falsehoods.
"Help Me, I Can't Help Myself",
the ABC News 20/20 TV program, April 21, 2003.
Frank Buchman and The Oxford Groups:
Twice-Born Men, A Clinic In Regeneration, A Footnote In Narrative to
Professor William James' "The Varieties of Religious Experience"
Fleming H. Revell Company, New York, Chicago, Toronto, London,
and Edinburgh, 1909.
Dewey: 248 B41
The importance of this book is only that it leads to the next one.
This book consists of several stories of religious conversion
of criminals and other sociopaths, reminiscent of the stories in William James' book
"The Varieties of Religious Experience".
The next book appears to be the same thing, but is in fact just
a glorification of Dr. Frank N. D. Buchman as he converts people.
More Twice-Born Men, Narratives of a Recent Movement in the Spirit of Personal Religion
G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, The Knickerbocker Press, 1923.
Dewey: 248 B41m
This book fawns over and glorifies Dr. Frank Buchman as a religious leader.
For some strange reason, perhaps a conceit of modesty, Frank Buchman is never
explicitly named; he is always referred to as "F.B.".
This book is basically a collection of stories of Frank Buchman making converts.
As a historical document, it does give a peek into another world.
For Sinners Only
Arthur James "A. J." Russell
Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York and London, 1932.
Dewey: 248 R96
More Oxford Group propaganda, written by a true believer in the cult.
This book is especially good for the glimpse into Buchman's world
that it gives. Just don't expect the stories to be entirely accurate
One Thing I Know A. J. Russell
Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1933.
Dewey: 248 R96o
Describes the author's conversion to Buchmanism.
Gives a first-hand glimpse of Frank Buchman.
God Calling "by Two Listeners", Edited By A. J. Russell
Printed approx. 1935.
This book is the delusions of a couple of Oxford Group old ladies who believed that they
were hearing the voice of Jesus Christ when they conducted their daily
"Quiet Time" séances.
This book is their record of all of the "messages" that they
allegedly received during their "listening sessions".
God Calling Edited By A. J. Russell
Reprinted by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Uhrichsville, Ohio, 1998.
This is the same book as above, but reprinted without page numbers; there are just dates on the entries.
On the Tail of a Comet; The Life of Frank Buchman; A Small Town American Who
Awakened The Conscience Of The World Garth Lean
Helmers & Howard, Colorado Springs, CO 80933, 1988.
Originally published in Great Britain by Constable and Co. Ltd. under the
title Frank Buchman, A Life, 1985.
LC: BJ10.M6B834 1988
Dewey: B Bu853L
This book is a total white-wash of Frank Buchman, and large parts of it
are complete fabrications, like the author's account of how Buchman
tried to warn America about the dangers of fascism and Hitler
before World War II, rather than actually praising and admiring Hitler,
which Buchman really did.
a review of the book here.
Frank Buchman: a life Garth Lean
Constable and Company Ltd, London, 1985.
LC: BV3785.B8 or BJ10.M6B834 1985
Dewey: B Bu853L or 269.20924
This book is the same as the one above,
On the Tail of a Comet, The Life of Frank Buchman.
This appears to be an identical printing, just done in Great Britain
and released with a different title.
(The same text is on the same-numbered pages).
Remaking the World, the speeches of Frank Buchman Frank N. D. Buchman
Robert M. McBride & Company, New York, 1949.
Dewey: 170 B919r
This is the collected speeches and sermons of Frank Buchman, probably
the single most complete collection of the thoughts and statements of
Frank Buchman As I Knew Him H. W. 'Bunny' Austin
Grosvenor Books, London, 1975.
Dewey: 248.2 Au76
Another grovelling true believer praises Frank Buchman. Bunny Austin was
the former famous Davis Cup tennis player (and
whom Buchman used as a decoration
at so many Oxford Group house parties and conventions.
Note that Grosvenor Books was the Moral Re-Armament printing press.
I Was A Pagan V. C. "Vic" Kitchen
Harper & Brothers, New York and London, 1934.
LC: BV4935.K5A2 1934a
Another pathetic piece of propaganda. It follows the standard formula
of "I was miserable. My life was pointless. All I was doing was making
big money on Wall Street. And then the stock market crashed and I
was really miserable. 'I was not going to be able to
accumulate a fortune enabling me to retire within twenty years.' (Page 8.)
My wife and children didn't like me either.
But then I discovered Frank Buchman's cult religion, and I dedicated my
life to that, and now I am so happy."
Still, this book is valuable for the insight it gives into the Oxford
Photographs of Vic Kitchen:
The Message of Frank Buchman R. C. Mowat
(Formerly Scholar of Hertford College, Oxford; Lecturer in History,
Royal Naval College, Greenwich)
Blandford Press, London, 1951.
If it was printed by Blandford Press, you know it's pro-MRA propaganda,
and this small 58-page booklet is no exception.
It only uses eight other MRA books for its source material.
It abounds with such double-talk as, "Moral Re-Armament is the
ideology of inspired democracy" (page 14) without seeing any problem
with the total lack of elections in MRA — nobody ever elected Frank Buchman
or any of the other leaders of the Oxford Group or MRA. To the Buchmanites,
absolute dictatorships were "democracy".
The back cover sums up the author's attitude:
After more than 6,000 years of development, civilization is faced
with collapse. The only alternative to catastrophe, barbarism and
a Dark Age — possibly to the extinction of mankind — would seem to
be the coming of a type of society more advanced than civilization
as we know it. ...
The author maintains that significant experiments in building such
a society have taken place during the last 2,000 years.
He traces their effect on the social relations and culture of the
world around, and concludes that there is a pattern of society which
could be carried into effect by a 'creative minority' with a global
strategy and the necessary dynamism to overcome the challenge of
materialistic totalitarian forces.
The author believes that an examination of the world scene reveals
that through Moral Re-Armament this is already taking place.
Innocent Men Peter Howard
William Heinemann Ltd., London and Toronto, 1941.
First printing April 1941; reprinted May 1941.
This is Peter Howard's first book, a book of praise of
the Oxford Groups which attempts to refute all of the
criticism and negative publicity which the Groups were
This is the book of praise of Frank Buchman that Peter Howard
wrote before he had ever met Frank Buchman.
Ideas Have Legs Peter Howard
Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, 1946.
LC: BV4915.H725 1946
More of Peter Howard's crazy opinions on everything.
This book is more autobiographical than the others.
That Man Frank Buchman Peter Howard
Blandford Press, 16 West Central Street, London W.C.1, 1946.
This is more of Peter Howard's standard propaganda: stories
of Frank Buchman's cult
"Awakening A Nation" and "Remaking The World".
This is more of the same false claims that Frank Buchman and Moral Re-Armament
had defeated Hitler (by
dodging the draft
and not serving in the military) and then saved
the world from Communism, coupled with whining about the criticism that the cult
received, claiming that the criticism was just "smear tactics".
The second chapter is "Awakening A Nation", which is the story of how
Frank Buchman supposedly saved Norway from her own stupidity by telling all of
the Norwegian people what to do. For example, industry was supposedly
saved by Frank Buchman telling management and labor to stop fighting:
When a responsible Norwegian was asked at the time about all this, he said,
"The coming of the Oxford Group explains the fact that we stubborn Norwegians
have settled a great social conflict without strike or lockout."
That was Frank Buchman's answer to all labor problems: Don't strike, don't fight,
don't make trouble; just shake hands with management and smile and go back to work
(while having resolved nothing).
And Buchman allegedly fixed Norway's church problems by telling them to quit debating
theology so much (with a condescending put-down):
...Once a pious ecclesiastic complained that he [Buchman] had not gone deep enough in his diagnosis
of a theological matter. Said Buchman with a chuckle, "I find that some of you people go
down deeper, stay down longer and come up muddier than anybody else I know."
Buchman's theology was, of course, very shallow, consisting of nothing more than dozens of snappy slogans.
One of the most noteable characteristics of Buchmanism was its lack of any real theology.
Buchmanism was just "confess everything in meetings,
listen to God in a seance, and go recruiting."
Contemporary ministers and theologians noticed that Buchman's teachings had little or
nothing to do with Christianity. As
Rev. Ironside noticed,
none of Buchmanism would have to be changed even if Jesus Christ had never been born.
And when ministers and priests complained about that, Buchman responded with a put-down.
In the chapter "The Fight To Serve", Peter Howard actually had
the gall to completely reverse reality
and claim that "enemies of the work of Moral Re-Armament" spread
rumors that the Buchmanites were conscientious objectors, and that the
Buchmanites had to fight to be allowed to enlist in the military services.
At the same time, Howard bitterly complained about the MRA members' deferments
from the draft being cancelled by the British Parliament and then
by the American draft board. Howard tried to have it both ways.
This book is actually so bad that it is almost funny, and the depth and breadth
of Peter Howard's lying is breathtaking. I have to wonder about the mindset
of people who talk endlessly about God and "Absolute Honesty", and then lie non-stop.
Like what on Earth are they thinking?
Do they imagine that they are doing the Will of God, and that any lying and deception
is justified if it furthers the Great Work?
Remaking Men Paul Campbell, M.D. and Peter Howard
Arrowhead Books, Inc., New York, 1954.
LC: BJ10.M6C3 1954a
Pure Buchmanite propaganda. Really crazy, perverted and hateful stuff
that even tells us that
should not 'indulge' in making love or having sex, except to create children.
Explains and rationalizes Buchman's odd theology like the Four Absolutes,
and then praises Frank Buchman and Moral Re-Armament,
and then gives us some anti-Communist and anti-labor arguments,
and then gives a few proof-by-anecdote stories
like the conversion of Bill Pickle the Bootlegger into Bill the Bootlicker
— "The Making of a Miracle".
This book actually purports to teach us how to diagnose
"the sexually driven" — both heterosexual and homosexual.
- Pages 60 to 62 reprint
the ridiculous MRA stereotype
of "the homosexual"
as someone who wears suede shoes and favors green clothes.
And the authors teach us that "A most reliable sign of sexual defeat
is piosity. Men who are unctuous and unreal are licked by impurity."
Frank Buchman's Secret Peter Howard
Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1961.
Dewey: 248 H85f
More praise of Frank Buchman from Peter Howard.
Peter Howard is the man who took over the leadership of Moral
Re-Armament when Frank Buchman died. As you can imagine, he was
a true believer and had nothing but praise for Buchman.
This book is some of the most outrageous, grandiose, propaganda
you will find — cult propaganda written by one of the cult leaders.
Some pretty intense garbage.
If you wish to look straight into the mouth of the Beast,
this book will give you a good view. Some quotes:
Britain and the Beast Peter Howard
Heinemann, London, 1963.
This is some of Peter Howard's most hateful and vicious writing.
He devotes two whole chapters, out of the 14 in the book,
to raving about homosexuals.
Design For Dedication Peter Howard
Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1964.
Dewey: 248 H85d
Peter Howard is the man who took over leadership of the
Moral Re-Armament organization after Frank Buchman's death.
As you can imagine, he has nothing but praise for Buchmanism.
This is a collection of his speeches on a variety of subjects,
ranging from religion to anti-Communism.
Moral Re-Armament — What Is It? Basil Entwistle and John McCook Roots
Pace Publications, Los Angeles, 1967.
Dewey: 248 E62m
More pure propaganda from a couple of life-long members of Frank Buchman's cult.
Basil Entwistle was a British draft dodger who came to the USA to avoid
the British draft during World War II, and John McCook Roots was the son
of Bishop Logan Roots, who threw Frank Buchman out of China in the
nineteen-twenties, only to later become a true believer convert to
Pace Publications was the publishing house of MRA in the USA.
Still, this book contains some interesting
history, including a selection of speeches by Frank Buchman and Peter Howard,
both of whom had died by the time this book was written.
This book also covers the last days of the cult, including the
Sing Out and Up With People productions.
The Fight to Serve: Moral Re-Armament and the war
Washington and San Francisco : Moral Re-Armament, 1943.
OCLC Number: 654318298
A Moral Re-Armament document that rewrites history and declares that,
rather than dodging the draft, the men of
Moral Re-Armament had always been eager to serve in the military.
MRA claimed that "enemies" were trying to keep them out of the military services,
and that the patriotic MRA men had to fight to get drafted. Pure propaganda, and
a complete reversal of reality.
Born To Upturn The World: The people who are making the Sing-Out explosion,
"Up With People" David Allen
Copyright Moral Re-Armament, Inc., 1967.
Pace Publications, 835 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90017, 1967.
Dewey: 224.55 A425
This is a small booklet of propaganda that praises the Sing Out
and Up With People shows.
Pace Publications was the publishing house of MRA in the USA.
This book is in possession of the Conception Abbey & Seminary Library, Conception, Missouri.
Inter-Library Loan number: 3 7200 00038 2153.
What Is Behind The Up With People! Movement? Vince Conner
An unpublished term paper for a Moral Theology class, May 19, 1968.
I question some of the author's assumptions about how Moral Re-Armament was okay with
the Catholic Church.
In particular, he states that he wrote to the office
of Bishop Noa of Marquette (Detroit, Michigan, USA),
about the Bishop's criticism of MRA (published here),
and was told that the Bishop had changed his mind completely and that MRA was
okay now. Excuse me, but the Bishop of Marquette cannot change the Pope's
mind for him. It was a Vatican ban on MRA, not the Bishop's ban.
This paper is in possession of the Conception Abbey & Seminary Library, Conception, Missouri,
and is hidden inside of the previous book, Born To Upturn The World.
Inter-Library Loan number: 3 7200 00038 2153.
Born To Live In the Future; Up With People at 25
Dr. Morris Martin
Copyright 1990, Up With People.
Up With People, 3103 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson AZ 85719.
Dewey: 780.601 M364bo
Another book about the Up With People show, written by one of the surviving life-long
members of Frank Buchman's cult (who was also described by an ex-member to have been Frank Buchman's gay lover).
The Crowning Experience Jim Hardiman
Copyright Moral Re-Armament, Inc., 1960.
Random House, New York, 1960.
OCLC Number: 28807889
This is the book version of the MRA propaganda film "The Crowning Experience",
which is the story of a Negro woman who was the President of a Negro University.
She went through a variety of trials and tribulations, like "Communists" trying to "subvert"
her best students (photo here).
She even met the President of the United States, but the "crowning experience" of her life
was when the white Moral Re-Armament cult religion accepted her as a member.
The Eight Points of The Oxford Group, An Exposition for Christians and Pagans
C. Irving Benson
Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press, Cathedral Buildings, Melbourne, Australia, 1936.
Dewey: 248 B47
This is a very pro-Buchman book. It is practically a how-to manual
for Buchmanism. As such, it sometimes degenerates into absurdity and
double-talk, like this footnote on page 45. After asking,
"Are absolute love, purity, honesty, and unselfishness possible?",
There is no need to raise questions of metaphysics or philosophy
and argue about the word 'absolute,' the real meaning of which
nobody knows. 'Absolute' is used by the Group in the practical
sense and means 'perfect.'
Funny, but all of my dictionaries know what the word "absolute"
And it's odd that the author thinks that "perfect" is
more practical and attainable than "absolute."
The author overlooks the fact that both "absolute" and "perfect" are
ridiculous cultish demands
for super-human perfection.
This advertising-slogan double-talk is good too:
The Oxford Group Movement is not a new religion; it is religion
anew. Every upsurge of spiritual life in the history of Christianity
has been the rediscovery and re-emphasis of neglected truths.
— Page 58.
Yes, like the forgotten and neglected truths that Adolf Hitler and
Heinrich Himmler were really great fellows.
Experiment with God; Frank Buchman Reconsidered Gösta Ekman
Translated from Swedish by Dr. John Morrison
Hodder and Stoughton, London, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, 1972.
LC: BJ10.M6 E38
This pro-Buchmanite tract was written after Frank Buchman's death by a
Swedish true believer. Lots of double talk and double-think. See
Life Began Yesterday Stephen Foot
Harper & Brothers, New York and London, 1935.
Dewey: 248 F68
Another book that praises the Oxford Groups and the teachings
of Frank N.D. Buchman.
Dynamic Out Of Silence; Frank Buchman's relevance today
Grosvenor Books, London, 1976.
Originally published as Dynamik aus der Stille, Caux Verlag,
Luzern, Switzerland, 1971.
Pure propaganda. A falsified and sanitized history of Frank Buchman and
his various "movements".
Grosvenor Books is the MRA publishing house in London.
Preview of a New World Arthur Strong
Privately printed, apparently in 1993. No copyright notice or date.
No ISBN number.
No Library of Congress number.
Dewey: 267.16 P951
ILL (InterLibrary Loan) number: 3 1120 01925 1791
(Salt Lake City Public Library, 210 East 400 South,
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84111)
This is a fascinating piece of history.
It is a large collection of photographs and newspaper articles about Frank
Buchman, the Oxford Group Movement, and Moral Re-Armament that come
mostly from the period of time right around World War II.
Arthur Strong was a British photographer who fell under the sway of Frank Buchman,
and who travelled with Buchman's flag-waving pseudo-patriotic road shows during
the period of 1939 to 1946. Arthur Strong assembled a travelogue of that period.
(Arthur Strong also apparently fell under Buchman's commandment not to
serve in the military,
because that British citizen stayed in the USA during the war years
from 1939 to 1946, while Britain was begging all citizens to come home
and help out. In fact, Arthur Strong was one
of the British subjects named in
the draft-tampering scandal.)
This book is hopeless biased towards
Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group/MRA — it was assembed by a die-hard
true believer many decades after Buchman's death, and he actually treated
the manuscript as if it
were some kind of a holy scripture, to be enshrined in a specially-made
wooden box (see the photograph of the box in the beginning of the book)
— but it is still a tremendous wealth of photographs and other historical documents
UPDATE: July 2018:
In a funny coincidence, I looked at Amazon to see if a copy of this book was for sale.
Previously, I had seen one copy for $200, and I thought that was a little much for an old
book of cult religion propaganda. Then I saw another copy for $100, and I passed on that too.
I checked on Amazon about once a year, to see if a copy had become available at a reasonable price, and no.
But this time, there was one for $65, so I jumped on it. And it was from Salt Lake City —
the "Society of Friends of the Library" was selling it. And they warned that the dust
cover was torn. Yes, I know, because I'm the person who Scotch-taped that torn cover when
I got it years ago, to keep the damage from getting worse. Yes, it is the actual same book
as I got in Interlibrary loans (twice), so many years ago. Apparently, I was the only
person to check it out in the last 15 years, so the library decided to discard it,
and gave it to the Society of Friends of the Library to sell on Amazon, with the proceeds to go to the
library. And by a lucky coincidence, I just happened to check Amazon then.
I bought it, so this book — still numbered 3 1120 01925 1791 —
is now in my personal collection, along with some other
goodies like a 2nd-edition Big Book, donated by Terri H. Thanks for that, Terri.
Come Wind, Come Weather Daphne du Maurier
Printed in Great Britain in August 1940.
Printed in USA by Doubleday, Doran and Company, Inc., New York, 1941.
A book of short stories of Buchmanites coping with the early part of
World War Two in Europe.
The authoress displayed the usual grandiose exaggeration of the benefits of
Buchman's teachings, along with minimization and denial of its total
failure to prevent the war. This is only thinly-veiled Buchmanite propaganda —
page 15 specifically endorsed Moral Re-Armament by name. We can also
very clearly see the philosophical roots of Alcoholics Anonymous here.
Du Maurier summarized several stories this way:
Megan saw she was a dictator in the home;
George saw that drink and dishonesty were only attempts to escape from his own
... Anna that misfortune is no excuse for bitterness and self-pity.
In other words,
Another quote here.
Fresh Hope for the World: Moral Re-Armament in Action
Edited and Introduced by Gabriel Marcel; Translated from the French
by Helen Hardinge
Longmans, Green And Co. Ltd., London, 1960.
LC: BJ10.M6M33 1960
Another book of propaganda that glories Frank Buchman and MRA. The majority of
the book consists of autobiographical stories of being saved from adversity
by being converted to belief in Buchmanism. Then the section called
"The Universal Man — Frank Buchman" is a fawning piece of hero worship
and glorification of the cult leader, on the level of:
One of the veterans of American Communism said, 'I trained 300 men in
Communism, and most of them have left me. What is Frank Buchman's secret, that
the men he has trained remain faithful?'
That stubbornly ignores, of course,
the fact that Frank Buchman's cult also had
an immense drop-out rate.
Once again, the cult members are in denial.
Another quote here.
World Changing Through Life Changing: The Story of Frank Buchman and
Moral Re-Armament; A Thesis for the Degree of Master of Sacred Theology
at Andover Newton Theological School T. Willard Hunter
LC: BJ10.M6H8 1977
This is a strange document. It is a large piece of work, 200 pages,
very well researched, and it is a source of obscure information that I've seen
nowhere else, but unfortunately the author was a true believer in Buchmanism,
and rarely criticized it.
The author was a contemporary of Frank Buchman and a devoted Buchmanite.
He was also a member of Moral Re-Armament for many years, and spent the war years of WWII touring
the country with Buchman's jingoistic shows.
He just rhapsodized about Buchman's "great
accomplishments" and dismissed or minimized his faults and failings.
He even wrote of his own judgement on the subject of Buchman:
The writer's claims to objectivity are slim. He knew and worked with Frank
Buchman and became one of his good friends. He gave his entire time — his
life, fortune, and sacred honor — to this work for eighteen years. A psychologist
would say of such a person that it would be difficult for him to avoid
seeking to justify himself.
See quotes here,
An Evaluation of Moral Rearmament, by Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives
Comments on Buchman's "Guidance":
This guidance, received not only by Buchman but by all the members of MRA, has no mark of divine authority on it. There is no guarantee that it will remain the same from year to year, or even among different members. In short, it can hardly serve as the basis for an authenticated worship of God.
In 1946 the Bishops of England and Wales declared:
This movement is so tainted with indifferentism, with the error that one religion is as good as another, that no Catholic may take any active part in such a movement or formally co-operate. Catholics should be warned not even to attend the meetings or gatherings even as spectators.
And the Church's Statements on Moral Rearmament are:
A decree of the Holy Office of August 8, 1951, makes the following provisions:
- It is not fitting for either diocesan or religious priests, and much less for nuns, to participate in meetings of Moral Rearmament.
- If exceptional circumstances should make such participation opportune, the permission of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office must be requested beforehand. This permission will be granted only to learned and experienced priests.
- Finally, it is not fitting that the faithful should accept posts of responsibility in Moral Rearmament, and especially not fitting that they join the so-called "policy team." 
 Taken from AER, 133 (Nov., 1955), p. 351. It is interesting to note that this statement about MRA follows the decree of the Holy Office on the Rotary by only a few months.
What Is The Oxford Group? "By the Layman with a Notebook"
Oxford University Press, New York, 1933.
Local copy here: What_Is_The_Oxford_Group.pdf
Pure Buchmanism. A manual for the religion. Includes chapters on:
The phrase "with a Notebook" in the title implies that the author was receiving Guidance
in the manner taught by Buchman: sitting quietly, with a notebook in hand, ready to write down
whatever God said.
- The Oxford Group
- Sharing for Confession and Witness
- The Four Absolutes:
- Absolute Honesty
- Absolute Purity
- Absolute Unselfishness
- Absolute Love
- The World
The Oxford Group, Its History and Significance
Walter Houston Clark
Bookman Associates, New York, 1951
Dewey: 248 C614
The author tries to present a fair and objective description of
Frank Buchman and the Oxford Group Movement. He does a fair job of it.
He really minimized incidents like Buchman's getting kicked out
of Princeton, praise for Hitler
and the Nazis, appeasement of Hitler, and draft-dodging by Oxford
Group members, but still, he gives a pretty good history.
Walter Houston Clark was a very interesting person in his own right.
He was a professor of the psychology of religion at Andover Newton
Theological School in Massachutsetts and a dean at Hartford
Seminary. He also taught at Andover Newton in Newton Centre near
Boston from 1962 until his retirement in 1969. Before that,
he was dean of the School of Religious Education at the seminary.
Before that, he also taught at Bowdoin College and Middlebury
Early on, Clark became interested in Frank Buchman and his Oxford Group
when he attended a revival meeting led by Buchman.
Clark developed a lifelong interest in understanding the
significance of religious experience as distinct from belief.
That interest led to his writing the book The Oxford Group:
Its History and Significance.
Three of his other books are The Psychology of Religion (1958),
Chemical Ecstacy; Psychedelic Drugs and Religion (1969),
Religious Experience: Its Nature and Function in the Human Psyche.
The First John G. Finch Symposium on Psychology and Religion (1973).
The New York Times reported in Clark's obituary:
He explored the importance that mystical experience can have in
religion, which led to an association with Dr. Timothy Leary and
others who advocated the use of hallucinogens to expand their
consciousness. In the early 1960's, Dr. Clark took part in
religious ceremonies in which peyote, mescaline and similar
hallucinogens were taken.
He spoke out for people arrested for using LSD and other
hallucinogenic substances for what they said were solely
The New York Times, December 21, 1994, page B16.
The Fool Hath Said Beverly Nichols
Country Life Press, Garden City, N.Y., 1935 and 1936.
Dewey: 248 N62
This is a book of Nichols' religious philosophy. It includes a chapter of praise
of Buchman's Oxford Groups that Nichols was basically deceived into writing and
putting in this book. Nichols' next book, All I Could Never Be, explains
how the deception was done.
All I Could Never Be Beverly Nichols
E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc., 1950.
Dewey: 828 N61a
A book of memoirs. Includes a chapter on his experiences with Buchman's Oxford Groups
cult, and also experiences at a Nuremberg Nazi Party rally.
Soul Surgery; Some Thoughts on Incisive Personal Work Howard Arnold Walter, M.A.
This book was an Oxford Group manual, one that specialized in under-handed and
deceptive recruiting techniques and mind games.
The full text is available right here: soulsurgery.pdf
The Mystery of Moral Re-Armament, A Study of Frank Buchman and
His Movement Tom Driberg
Secker & Warberg, London, 1964.
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1965.
LC: BJ10 .M6D7
Dewey number 248.25 D831
This is a great book, one of the most detailed, well-documented,
and complete sources of information about Frank Buchman and
his religious movement. And it is easy, fascinating reading,
written by a fellow who didn't pull his punches when criticizing
Buchman. It was written by Tom Driberg, a fellow who was a colorful
personality in his own right, starting as a newspaper reporter
in London, and then becoming one of the first openly-gay Members of
Parliament in history.
And on top of that, he joined the Communist Party in Britain in the 1930s,
and when he grew disgusted with it and was going to quit, was recruited as
an agent by the British secret intelligence service, MI5, to spy on the
Communists, which he did until his cover was blown in 1946 and the Communist
Party kicked him out.
In the early nineteen-sixties, the London
publishing house of Secker & Warburg asked Driberg to do a book
on Buchman and the MRA, since he had previously reported on them.
Ruling Passions Tom Driberg
Secker & Warberg, London, 1978
Dewey: B Dr831r
This is the autobiography of Tom Driberg. He was everything from
a newspaper reporter to a British Member of Parliament.
He wrote the above book about Buchman and MRA.
The Open Secret of MRA; an examination of Mr. Driberg's
'critical examination' of Moral Re-Armament
J. P. Thornton-Duesbery, M.A.
(Master of St. Peter's College, Oxford)
Blandford Press, London, 1964.
LC: BJ10 M6D68
This is MRA's answer to Tom Driberg's book on MRA. It sarcastically
nit-picks everything in Driberg's book, and denies and tries
to explain away every fault of Buchman and MRA.
Blandford Press was MRA's publishing house in London.
Frank Buchman, Eighty "by His Friends"
Blandford Press, London, 1958.
Dewey: 170 B919
A book of praise of Frank Buchman, put together by his followers for his
80th birthday. Note that Blandford Press was, for all practical purposes,
just an in-house Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament printing press.
Saints Run Mad; A Criticism of the "Oxford" Group Movement
John Lane the Bodley Head Ltd., London, 1934.
LC: BV4915.H37 1934
Dewey: 248 H24
This is an excellent critique of Frank Buchman's cult. Marjorie Harrison
was there, and attended many Oxford Group meetings, and even interviewed
Frank Buchman for this book. Her stories give a feeling of immediacy and presence
that is not found in other histories. She basically rips Buchman
and his flawed theology to shreds, and this
was before Buchman's notorious praise for Adolf Hitler.
There are many quotes from this book in the files of
"The Religious Roots of the Twelve Steps"
This book is now available for free download at:
For Groupers Only; Being a Judgement concerning the Oxford Groups and
contained in letters to Duncan Hyde, Undergraduate, sometimes Joyous Pagan
and a recent convert at a House-Party B. C. Plowright, B.A., B.D.
H. R. Allenson, Ltd., 7, Racquet Court, Fleet Street, London, E.C.4, 1932.
LC: BV4915.P53 1933
An entertaining and interesting set of letters from a critic of the
Oxford Groups to a recently-converted student.
Oxford and the Groups Rev. G. F. Allen, John Maud, Miss B. E. Gwyer,
C. R. Morris, W. H. Auden, R. H. S. Crossman, Dr. L. P. Jacks, Rev. E. R. Micklem,
Rev. J. W. C. Wand, Rev. M. C. D'Arcy, S.J., Prof. L. W. Grensted;
Edited by R. H. S. Crossman
Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1934.
This is a great little book; very informative. It consists of essays
from both leaders of the Oxford Groups like Rev. G. F. Allen, and
criticisms of the Groups from critics like R. H. S. Crossman, and
Miss B. E. Gwyer. It gives
you a first-hand look at the Groups from several viewpoints, a snap-shot
in time of the thinking of contemporaries, before Buchman's public praise
of Adolf Hitler. All of the authors were somehow associated with Oxford
University in 1934; most were faculty, a few were clergy.
Buchman — Surgeon of Souls, B.W. Smith, Jr.,
American Magazine, 122:26-7+, November 1936.
A magazine article about Frank Buchman and his
Drawing Room Conversion; A Sociological Account of the Oxford
Group Movement Allan W. Eister
Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina, 1950.
LC: BV4915 .E35
My over-all impression of this otherwise fine book is that the
author pulls his punches. The entire "I thank Heaven for a
man like Adolf Hitler"
flap is reduced to a footnote in fine print at the bottom of
page 187, and is introduced only as a hearsay note, that
Reinhold Niebuhr had written, in a Christian Century article,
about a newsman (Tom Driberg) writing about an interview with Buchman
"in which the latter is reported to have said"...
That was the only mention of Hitler or the Nazis that I could find
anywhere in the whole book.
While the facts given seem generally true and accurate,
and even plentiful,
I couldn't escape the feeling that a lot of negative (towards Buchman)
stuff was left out. The index actually has no entry for Adolf Hitler,
Nazism, the Nazi Party, fascism, or even Germany.
However, when former President Herbert Hoover spoke briefly and
informally at an MRA luncheon, December 10 or 11, 1938, saying that
he believed in 'ethics and morality',
we learn about that in larger type (pages 48,49).
And yes, ex-President Herbert Hoover is listed in the index,
with four entries. Hmmm...
Inside Buchmanism: an independent inquiry into the Oxford Group
Movement and Moral Re-Armament Geoffrey Williamson
Philosophical Library, New York, c1954, published 1955.
LC: BJ10.M6W5 1955
Excellent. Recommended. Good history. Extensive, fair, even-handed, and sane.
The author was right there, doing a first-hand investigation of the
Oxford Group — a.k.a. Moral Re-Armament —
in London, the country Hay's Mews center, and the Caux, Switzerland, center.
Obviously, this book only covers up to 1954, but that is the vast majority
of the Oxford Groups—MRA period.
The author gives several revealing glimpses into the cult
mind-set, like when, on page 139, he reads from the writings of
Benjamin Franklin, to some MRA members, that old Ben had advocated an
international moral organization much like MRA, and the MRA members just
gave him blank looks, and
"Much to my surprise, there was no great show of interest in this
disclosure that a great figure in American history had undoubtedly
thought of 'Moral Re-Armament' nearly two hundred years ago. Apparently
for them there was no prophet but Frank Buchman! Ben Franklin could go
The Oxford Group Movement: Is it of God or Satan?
J. C. Brown
Produced for the author by
Pickering & Inglis, Printers, Glasgow, Scotland, Great Britain, 1933.
LC: BV4915.B72 1933
As the title implies, this book is highly critical of the theology
of Frank Buchman.
The Oxford Group Movement Herbert Hensley Henson, D.D.
Oxford University Press, New York, 1933, 1934.
LC: BV4915 H4
Very interesting. Another critical analysis of the theology of Buchman.
This author finds three flaws in Buchmanism:
- It ignores the demands of the intellect in the high matter of religion.
- The Movement is too closely bound to the moods and claims of
Adolescence (page 6).
- The conception of Christianity which Groupism presents is far too
meagre and limited (page 10).
The Oxford Groups Maisie Ward
Sheed & Ward, London, 1937.
LC: BV4915.W33 1937
Another criticism of the Oxford Groups, coming from the viewpoint
of a Catholic. The author notes that: 1) The Buchmanite practice of
public confession is at odds with Catholic doctrines, and 2)
"Catholicism cannot be reduced to two or three jingles and a couple
of anagrams." (Pages 30-33.) Quotes:
MORAL RE-ARMAMENT and the CATHOLIC LAY APOSTOLATE
Thomas L. Noa, D.D., Bishop of Marquette
Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntington, Indiana, USA, 1961?.
This is a small pamphlet where Bishop Noa explains that Moral Re-Armament
is incompatible with the Roman Catholic faith.
Moral Re-Armament; A Study of Its Technical and Religious Nature in the Light of
Catholic Teaching, Rev. Clair M. Dinger, S.T.L.
The Catholic University of America Press, Inc., 1961. Printed by the Abbey Press,
St. Meinrad, Indiana, U.S.A.
Dewey: 248.25 D613
A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the School of Sacred Theology of the
Catholic University of America in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree
of Doctor of Sacred Theology.
Quite good. It is of course biased and flavored by its time and place —
for example, the author considers "Protestantism" to be a sin, something
with which I cannot quite agree — nevertheless, the author accurately and
perceptively analyzes and criticizes Dr. Frank Buchman's "Oxford Group"
and "Moral Re-Armament" theology, and reveals the error and insanity
in much of Buchman's teachings.
The Challenge of The Oxford Group Movement; An Attempt At Appraisal
by The Committee Of Thirty
Ryerson Essay number 58
The Ryerson Press, Toronto, 1933.
A tiny 15-page booklet that is another critical examination of the
theology of Buchmanism.
Many good points packed into a small space. For instance,
(on page 14)
"There is some danger that the Christian conception
of prayer as a solemn act of communication between man and God,
which calls forth the highest qualities of man's intellectual and
moral apprehension, will be degraded to a mere listening to and
recording of the vagaries of the subconscious mind."
The Oxford Group Movement: Is It Scriptural?
H. A. Ironside
Loizeaux Brothers, Publishers, 19 West 21st Street, New York, 1943.
LC: WB231 I71
This is a very small volume, just 32 pages, a single sermon by
Rev. Ironside, denouncing the Oxford Groups and Buchmanism for being
unChristian. Rev. Ironside found that Buchmanism was not a Christian
religion, because the entire practice of Buchmanism
would still be possible even if Jesus Christ had never been born.
See the full text here
John Riffe of the Steelworkers; American Labor Statesman
Coward-McCann, Inc., New York, 1959.
This is the story of one of Frank Buchman's token labor leader converts,
told by a true-believer member of Moral Re-Armament. Naturally, John Riffe's
greatest accomplishment was becoming one of Frank Buchman's followers,
and getting numerous labor leaders to go to Caux-sur-Montreaux, Switzerland, or
Mackinac Island, Michigan, for Moral Re-Armament ideological training (page 140).
Moral Re-Armament: the reinventions of an American religious movement
Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2009.
LC: BJ10.M6S23 2009
A recent piece of MRA propaganda that once again tells us that Frank Buchman
was a wonderful evangelist with a great vision.
Courage to Change, An Introduction to the Life and Thought of
Reinhold Niebuhr June Bingham
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1961.
Dewey: B N665b
This is a good biography of Reinhold Niebuhr, a theologian
and minister, who currently has a modicum of fame from authoring
The Serenity Prayer.
Hitler and Buchman Reinhold Niebuhr
The Christian Century magazine, October 7, 1936, pages 1315-1316.
This is Reinhold Niebuhr's classic answer to Frank Buchman's
"I thank heaven for a man like Adolf Hitler" remarks.
There is a local copy of the article here:
Christianity and Power Politics Reinhold Niebuhr
Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1940.
Reinhold Niebuhr was one of the leading theologians of the early
20th century, and is famed for being the author of the Serenity Prayer.
This book contains the chapter "Hitler and Buchman"
[full text here], which
appears to be a reprint of an article first published in the
Christian Century magazine. It is a no-holds-barred attack
on Buchman and his goofy theology.
The Serenity Prayer; Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War
W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 2003.
LC: BV284.S47S54 2003
Dewey: 242.4—dc22 or 242.4 S573s 2003
This is a great biography of Reinhold Niebuhr, the author of the
The Serenity Prayer, written by his daughter. Niebuhr was one
of the leading theologians of the early 20th century, and a teacher
at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
Moral Re-Armament: A study of the movement; Prepared by the Social and Industrial
Council of the Church Assembly, C.A.1129
Church of England, National Assembly, Social and Industrial
Church Information Board of the Church Assembly, Church House, Westminster, S.W.1, 1955.
Dewey: 170 M828c
A very small (49 pages) study of MRA, from the official Church of England viewpoint.
"No one could say that the movement is over modest,
and some of the statements might lead one to think
that love and unselfishness were the discovery of M.R.A.,
and that M.R.A. had a monopoly of these high ideals. But that
is typical of their writing."
"[MRA] assumes that amelioration of the social order is the direct and automatic consequence
of the interior personal 'change', that is of 'love'. It simply is not so."
Wide Is The Gate Upton Sinclair
The Viking Press, New York, 1943.
Upton Sinclair wrote a series of historical novels that
spanned the 1930s in Europe and the USA. This one,
placed in the middle 1930s, describes the rise of Nazism
in Europe. It also mentions in passing Frank Buchman's
Oxford Group in England and Germany, and describes their
occult practices and sympathy for the Nazis.
They Have Found A Faith Marcus Bach
The Bobs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis & New York, 1946.
Dewey: 289 B12
This book describes eight different non-mainstream religions or cults, of which
The Oxford Group/Moral Re-Armament is one. The chapter on MRA is quite good,
quite revealing and descriptive, written by a first-hand witness who
knew his religions. Among other things, the author reveals that Frank Buchman
stole his best ideas from Henry B. Wright of Yale University, who got them
from Robert E. Speer, who got them from Henry Drummond... (page 146).
The author clearly sees that the Oxford Group is a cult religion,
and he does a good job of describing the cultish behavior that he sees.
These Also Believe: a study of modern American cults & minority religious movements
Charles Samuel Braden, Ph.D.
The MacMillan Company, New York, 1949.
Covers 13 new religions, including Theosophy, Spiritualism, Mormonism,
Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Oxford Group Movement. The chapter on the
Oxford Group / MRA is factual and accurate, and neutral in tone.
The Heyday of Spiritualism Slater Brown
Pocket Books, New York, 1972.
Copyright 1970 Hawthorn Books
Standard Book Number: 671-78153-7
Fascinating. Describes the history of religions and "spiritual things"
that you never hear about, ranging from "Animal Magnetism" in 1784
through the heyday of spiritualism in the 1800s.
Includes Animal Magnetism, The Magnetists, Traveling Clairvoyance, The Swedish Seer, Evocation of the Dead,
Shakers and the Spirit World, Andrew Jackson Davis, The Rochester Rappings, The Stratford Poltergeist,
Spirit Manifestations, The New Motive Power, The Koonses' Spirit Room, The Brothers Davenport,
The Pellet Reader, Trance Rhetoric, and D.D. Home.
Have you ever wanted to really go down the rabbit hole? This book gives you that feeling.
Like, Toto, we really aren't in Kansas any more.
Incidentally, to show how old this book is, there is a full-color page in the middle that advertises Kent cigarettes.
"What a good time for all of the good things of a Kent."
And the other advertising page says, "Take either of these encyclopedias of the supernatural for only 10¢ with
a trial membership in the Universe Book Club."
The Psychology of Social Movements Hadley Cantril
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1941.
Chapman & Hall, London, 1941.
This is quite good. Analyzes who joins a mass religious movement, or cult,
and why. All of chapter 6 is about the Oxford Group.
Later chapters are about the Nazis.
Adolf Hitler, Nazis, and Nazi Sympathizers:
Fellow Travelers of the Right; British Enthusiasts for Nazi Germany
1933-9 Richard Griffiths
Oxford University Press, Oxford, c1980, 1983.
An interesting book. Covers both the major and minor players. Quote
Unheard Witness Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl
J.B. Lippencott Company, Philadelphia and New York, 1957.
Dewey: 943.085 H23u
This is a great read, the fascinating inside story of the rise of
an uncouth country bumpkin named Adolf Hitler to the leadership of
his nation... What makes it unusual is that it is an insider's story
that was written by someone who was relatively sane, and there
weren't very many of them in the inner circle of Nazis and
sycophants around Adolf. In the end, Putzi had to flee to the
USA to escape from the wrath of Hitler and the Gestapo, for
saying true and sensible things just too many times... (Or at
least, that's the way Putzi tells his story...)
Hitler's Piano Player Peter Conradi
Carroll and Graf Publishers, New York, 2004.
Dewey: B Ha1936c 2004
Really good. Thorough, well-researched, and very interesting.
This is another view of Putzi Hanfstaengl, early friend of Adolf Hitler.
It feels like it is written in a more neutral, factual tone than Putzi's
autobiography. (Well of course...)
Der Fuehrer Konrad Heiden
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston & The Riverside Press Cambridge, 1944.
This is an obscure and forgotten biography of Adolf Hitler, written while Hitler
was still alive and the dictator of Germany. It is excellent. It concentrates on
Hitler's rise to power and how he did it. Of course the end of the Third Reich was still unknown
when Heiden wrote this book.
These Germans; an estimate of their character seen in flashes from
the drama 1918-1939 John Heygate
Hutchinson & Co., Publishers, Ltd., London. Printed by
William Brendon & Son, Ltd., The Mayflower Press, Plymouth, Great Britain, 1940.
This book is a travelogue about Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. It includes a
chapter about the 1935 Nuremberg Nazi Party rally, where John Heygate
met the Mitford sisters and Frank Buchman.
Reference here and
Goodbye West Country Henry Williamson
Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1938.
LC: PR6045.I55Z53 1938
This is an interesting book of memoirs that is mostly nature writing,
but he also gives us an account of his experiences in Germany at the
1935 Nuremberg Nazi Party rally, where he saw Dr. Frank Buchman,
The Rise and Rall of the Third Reich; A History of Nazi Germany William L. Shirer
Simon & Schuster Inc., New York, London, etc., c. 1959, 1960, pub. 1990.
ISBN 0-671-72892-X (slipcased) ; ISBN 0-671-72869-5 (hardcover) ; ISBN 0-671-72868-7 (pbk)
LC: DD256.5.S48 1981
This is the classic. What else can I say?
(Other than, "Also see Bill Shirer's Berlin Diaries —
both the book and the movie.")
Hitler; 1889-1936 Hubris Ian Kershaw
W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 1998.
ISBN: 0-393-32035-9 (pbk.)
LC: DD247.H5K462 1999
Another impressive biography of Hitler.
Spandau: The Secret Diaries Albert Speer
MacMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1976.
Dewey: 943.086'092'4 or 921 SPE
Hitler Joachim C. Fest
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., New York, 1973.
Dewey: 921 Hitler, Adolf
The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler Robert Payne
Praeger Publishers, New York & Washington, 1973.
Dewey: 921 Hitler, Adolf
Croix gammée contre caducée
— Les Experiences Humaines En Allemagne Pendant La Deuxieme Guerre
Mondiale Francois Bayle.
"The Swastika versus the Caduceus — The Human Experiments In
Germany During The Second World War".
Published by Centre De L'Imprimerie Nationale a Neustadt (Palatinat), 1950.
8 volumes, 1521 pages.
This book is transcripts of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials of the doctors
who performed unethical medical experiments on Jews in the concentration camps.
A Child Of Hitler; Germany in the Days When God Wore a Swastika Alfons Heck
Renaissance House, Phoenix, Arizona, 85012, 1985.
LC: DD247.H354A34 1985
The very candid story of a boy who was in elementary school when
Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and who rose through
the ranks of the Hitlerjugend ("Hitler Youth") organization
during his teenage years, attaining the rank of
one of the top 223 Hitlerjugend area commanders by the end of World War II,
as well as becoming a skilled glider pilot who never managed to get any training
in a motorized airplane before the war ended — meaning that he never flew
a combat mission.
Basically, this is the story of a boy who never really had a choice in the matter.
While this author does some real soul-searching, asking himself how much he is
responsible for what happened in World War II, and how much he was complicit in the
murder of the Jews, the truth is that this guy was just a boy doing what his elders told
him to do. And he never had anything to do with killing the Jews.
This story is full of little insider details, like the one officer who told
Alfons about the war crimes and mass murder of civilians in Poland
was executed by the Gestapo four months
before the end of the war for "subverting war morale".
And at the end of the war, Alfons' last commander in the Luftwaffe saved the young lad's
life by deliberately sending him west on "furlough",
putting him where he would be captured by the Americans, thus saving the young man from
being part of Hitler's insane "battle to the last man and boy".
(Alas, many of his schoolmates were not so lucky. Fully half of his high school class
died before the age of 18.)
An easy read; informative and entertaining.
Hitler & Geli Ronald Hayman
Bloomsbury Publishing, New York and London, 1997.
Dewey: B H676hy 1998
Good, fascinating, and chilling.
Geli Raubal was both Hitler's half-neice and his only true girlfriend and lover,
She was found dead in Hitler's apartment in 1931, allegedly a suicide
at the early age of 23.
The descriptions of Hitler's sex life reveal an abused child who grew
into a really sick sado-masochistic narcissist. The author presents a
lot of evidence that supports
the distinct possibility that Geli was murdered by
the Nazis to keep her from disgracing Adolf Hitler and prematurely
ending his political career.
Erik Jan Hanussen; Hitler's Jewish Clairvoyant Mel Gordon
Feral House, Los Angeles, CA, 2001.
Dewey: 133.8092 H251g 2001
A very interesting biography of an amusing fraud, or a successful showman and entertainer,
depending on your viewpoint. He made quite a career of putting on faked psychic
acts, and got a fair bit of success and wealth. Unfortunately, that included
having some high-ranking Nazis owing him a lot of money,
and attracting Adolf Hitler as a believer. Some of the Gestapo found
killing Hanussen to be the easiest solution to
the problems that Hanussen created for them, so they did.
The Man with the Miraculous Hands; The Fantastic Story of Felix
Kersten, Himmler's Private Doctor Joseph Kessel
Burford Books, Short Hills, N.J., 2004.
Dewey: B Ke47k 2004
A fascinating book, very well-written. It moves you right into Heinrich Himmler's life.
Heinrich Himmler suffered from stomach pains and digestive problems that no doctor
could cure, but the alternate-medicine specialist, masseuse,
and unconventional healer Felix Kersten was able
to relieve Himmler's extreme pain, so Himmler latched onto Kersten with the
tenacity of a pit bull, and Kersten spent World War II as a practical prisoner
and slave of Himmler.
— Which actually had great benefits, because Kersten saved
a lot of lives by using his position in Himmler's household and his emotional
leverage over Himmler to the advantage
of thousands of otherwise-doomed Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Dutch underground
operatives, and other persecuted people. Kersten managed to get special powers,
privileges, and protection from Himmler because he could treat Himmler's chronic pain
like no one else could. And Kersten used that power wisely and compassionately.
Kersten literally saved thousands of lives — in one case, a whole trainload of Jews.
Kersten had extracted from Himmler a promise to spare two or three thousand Jews,
just as a favor to him, so Himmler said something like,
"Well, okay. I have this train with 2700 Jews going to Auschwitz.
That's between 2 and 3 thousand. I'll reroute it
to Switzerland. That will get Kersten off of my back."
The Jews who were on the train got off expecting to be in Auschwitz, getting kicked and beaten
by SS guards and shoved into the gas chambers. Instead, they found the SS troops standing at attention as the Jews
staggered across the border into Switzerland and into the arms of waiting Red Cross workers.
Kersten was amazingly bold and courageous, and took terrible risks to help friends
and allies, including acting as a courier carrying secret documents between resistance
and underground units. He would literally walk right through the Gestapo carrying such
incriminating evidence. It's quite a spy story too.
At the end of the war, as Germany was collapsing, Kersten took a representative of the
World Jewish Congress into Germany to extract a promise from Himmler that the concentration camps
would not be blown up with dynamite, killing all of the Jews inside. That promise was mostly
A Rumor About The Jews; Reflections on Antisemitism and the
Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion
Stephen Eric Bronner.
St. Martin's Press, New York, 2000.
Dewey: 305.8924 B869r 2000
LC: DS145.P7B76 2000
The story of the vicious anti-semitic forgery called "Protocols
of the Learned Elders of Zion".
See story here.
The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
This book is definitely something different — it is a very serious comic book
that tells the story of the creation of the Protocols, complete with
supporting bibliography. The author of the Introduction, Umberto Eco, described this book as
a tragic book, not a comic book.
Umberto Eco is himself a scholar of The Protocols, and he gave two more references
in his Introduction:
Umberto Eco, "Fictional Protocols," chap. 6 in Six Walks in the Fictional Woods
(Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994).
Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide, (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1996), chap. 1.
A Doomsday Reader; Prophets, Predictors, and Hucksters of Salvation
editted by Ted Daniels
New York University Press, New York and London, 1999.
ISBN: 0-8147-1908-2 (alk. paper); 0-8147-1909-0 (pbk.: alk. paper)
LC: HM866.D66 1999
Dewey: 301 D691 1999
Includes a chapter on the "Protocols of the Learned Elders of
Zion", pages 99-107.
The International Jew, The World's Foremost Problem Henry Ford Sr.
A 1958 reprint of the articles "Appearing originally in the periodical
published by the Ford Motor Co. 'The Dearborn Independent.'"
"Abridged from the original as published by the world renowned industrial
leader Henry Ford Sr."
Copy prepared for the printer by Gerald K. Smith,
National Director, Christian Nationalist Crusade,
Post Office Box 27895, Los Angeles 27, California
This is the hateful anti-Semitic diatribe that the neo-Nazis love,
described here. It is so
extreme that it leads one to question the sanity of Henry Ford Sr..
Some of the chapters are so outrageous that they are funny:
- Jewish Jazz becomes Our National Music
Yes, everybody knows how the Jews all moved out of New York City and went to New Orleans
and took over Basin Street...
- Liquor, Gambling, Vice, and Corruption.
Ford says that Jews control all of the mobs.
Silly me, I thought that Alfonso Caponé was
an Italian name, but what do I know?
Jewish Influences in America; volume 3 of The International Jew
Henry Ford Sr.
The Dearborn Publishing Co., Dearborn, Mich. November, 1921.
LC: DS145.D5A32 vol 3.
This is the third volume of selections of Ford's anti-semitic articles
that appeared in The Dearborn Independent. Some of this material
also appears in the above condensation of Ford's articles. The subjects
of these chapters are similarly insane:
The level of stereotyping and hatred is almost unbelievable. For instance,
Ford considered all of the Jewish garment makers to be Bolsheviks:
- Are the Jews Victims or Persecutors?
- Jewish Gamblers Corrupt American Baseball
- Jewish Degredation of American Baseball
[Henry Ford was very upset
about "the commercialization of baseball". Some star
baseball players were beginning to receive what Ford considered to be
very large salaries ($125,000 for Babe Ruth's contract was mentioned),
and Ford blamed the Jews for all of it. It is funny that the fabulously
wealthy multi-millionaire Ford felt that Babe Ruth
should work for peanuts, but that he, Henry Ford, should not.]
- Jewish Jazz Becomes Our National Music
- How the Jewish Song Trust Makes You Sing
- Jewish Hot-Beds of Bolshevism in the U.S.
- Jew Trades Link With World Revolutionaries
- Will Jewish Zionism Bring Armageddon?
- How the Jews Use Power — By an Eyewitness
- How Jews Ruled and Ruined Tammany Hall
- Jew Wires Direct Tammany's Gentile Puppets
- Dr. Levy, a Jew, Admits His People's Error
- Jewish Idea Molded Federal Reserve Plan
- Jewish Idea of Central Bank for America
- How Jewish International Finance Functions
- Jewish Power and America's Money Famine
'Why the tendency of the Jew to the "needle trades"?
It is explained in his aversion to manual labor, his abhorrence of agricultural
life, and his desire to arrange his own affairs.'
(Page 91, Jewish Hot-Beds of Bolshevism in the U.S.)
...the "needle trades" being exclusively Jewish, all their abuses
are Jewish too. ... Bolshevism is not Russian but Jewish...
(Page 92, Jewish Hot-Beds of Bolshevism in the U.S.)
But in other chapters, Ford says that the Jews are controlling international
banking and finance, not the garment industry. And I never noticed Henry Ford
taking to the agricultural life either, out plowing the south forty behind his mule.
And Ford sure insisted on arranging his own affairs.
Why did a man of such wealth
and power spend so much time, money, and energy attacking people who had apparently
done nothing to him, and whose alleged world-wide conspiracies had not stopped Henry
Ford from becoming as wealthy as King Midas?
I have to seriously question Henry Ford Sr.'s sanity.
Henry Ford and the Jews; The Mass Production of Hate
Public Affairs, New York, 2001.
LC: CT275.F68B28 2001
Dewey: B F699h 2001
Excellent, detailed, complete. Everything you never wanted to know about
what a hateful, deceitful monster Henry Ford turned into.
The American Axis; Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, and the Rise of the
Third Reich Max Wallace
St. Martin's Press, New York, 2003
LC: DS146.U6W35 2003
Quite good, extensive, complete.
Radio Priest; Charles Coughlin, The Father of Hate Radio
The Free Press, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Singapore, 1996.
LC: BX4705.C7795W35 1996
Quite good. Thorough and well-documented. The story of one of the more
interesting characters in modern American history — the father of hate radio.
Father Charles Coughlin invented Rush Limbaugh's game back when radio
was a new medium.
Father Caughlin was a stereotypical rabid right-winger, raving about "The Jewish
Conspiracy" and Communists, while parrotting Nazi propaganda — literally.
More details here.
The Fine Art of Propaganda: a study of Father Coughlin's Speeches
The Institute for Propaganda Analysis; editted by
Alfred McClung Lee and Elizabeth Briant Lee
Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1939.
A great little book that disects
the hate-mongering speeches of
Father Coughlin and exposes the propaganda techniques that he used.
They reduce the list of the many possible logical fallacies and
propaganda tricks to just this short list that was in Father Coughlin's toolbox:
- Name Calling — giving an idea or a person a bad name
- Glittering Generality — create over-generalized positive images and stereotypes
- Transfer (also known as Association) — gaining respectability or admiration
by association with something else that is widely admired or respected
- Testimonial — people tell stories that praise the propagandist's favorite cause
- Plain Folks — it's just us regular plain good-old-boys; nothing to get upset about
- Card Stacking — also called Monopolistic Card Stacking — it's stacking
the odds in your favor by carefully arranging the "facts" while
excluding undesired facts
- Band Wagon — the same thing as "Everybody's doing it", or
"Everybody knows", or "Everybody believes"...
The PBS "American Experience" web page on Father Caughlin.
Oswald Mosley Robert Skidelsky
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1975.
Dewey: 942.084'092'4 or B M9125s
A good, thorough biography of Sir Oswald Mosley, the British Fascist.
Provides some information on Peter Howard, who eventually took over the
leadership of the Oxford Groups and Moral Re-Armament after the
death of Frank Buchman.
Rules of the Game; Beyond the Pale; Memoirs of Sir Oswald Mosley
and Family Nicholas Mosley
Dalkey Archive Press, Elmwood Park, IL 60635, 1982.
LC: DA574.M6M67 1991
Dewey: 941.082'092—dc20 or B M9125mo
Another biography of Sir Oswald Mosley and Peter Howard, written by
Mosley's son Nicholas.
Diana Mosley Jan Dalley
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000.
LC: CT788.M66D35 2000
Dewey: 941.082092—dc21 or B Mo854d 2000
The most complete biography of Lady Diana Mosley to date.
History in Our Time David Cannadine
Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1998.
Dewey: 941.081 C224h 1998
Includes a chapter on Sir Oswald Mosley and Lady Diana Mosley.
Unity Mitford: A Quest David Pryce-Jones
Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1976.
LC: CT788 M564J65
Also republished in the USA as:
Unity Mitford: An Enquiry into Her Life and the Frivolity of Evil
The Dial Press, James Wade, New York, 1977.
LC: CT788 M564P79 1977
An excellent biography of Unity Mitford, the frivolous mad-cap aristocratic
blond English girl who enjoyed hanging out with Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, and she
was the sister of Diana Mitford, who first married Bryan Guinness, of the
famous Guinness brewing family, and then dropped him for Sir Oswald Mosley,
who became the leader of the British Union of Fascists.
The above two books are nearly identical, other than the photographs,
where some were cropped or had text inset in the New York reprint.
The text of the two books is
identical, but laid out differently, printed in different fonts and sizes,
which results in very different page numbers for quotes.
Of particular interest here is the description of Dr. Frank Buchman attending
the 1935 Nuremberg Nazi Party rally, and sitting with the Mitford sisters,
Unity Mitford and Lady Diana Mosley, in the Ehrengäste (Honored Guests)
section of the stands, behind Adolf Hitler.
The Sisters; The Saga of the Mitford Family Mary S. Lovell
W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London, 2001, 2002.
Originally published in England under the title The Mitford Girls: The Biography of an Extraordinary Family.
LC: CT787.M57 L68 2002
Fascinating. Excellent. Detailed and in depth. This book tells the story of all of the Mitford sisters (and their parents),
and of course tells more details about the most famous of the sisters, the pro-Nazi Unity and Diana,
and the pro-Communist Jessica.
Himmler, Reichsführer Peter Padfield
New York: Henry Holt & Company, 1990.
An excellent biography of Heinrich Himmler.
Cults and More Cults:
The True Believer, Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements
Harper & Rowe, Publishers, New York and Evanston, 1951.
Dewey: 301.1582 H69
This little book is a blockbuster. Hoffer wrote it more than half a century
ago, paying particular attention to the Nazis as a cult religion,
but it reads like a description of this afternoon's latest cult.
In my humble opinion, Erich Hoffer was one of the great minds of the 20th century.
This is one of those beautiful all-time classics that we see too
The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian
Power Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad
North Atlantic Books/Frog Ltd., Berkeley, California, 1993.
LC: BF698.35 .A87 K73 1993
A great book. Definitely makes the Top 10 list. Discusses the
hidden, underlying authoritarianism in many religious cults and
some other religions, too. Extensively quoted in the web page on
The Heresy of the Twelve Steps.
Radical Religion in America; Millenarian Movements from the Far
Right to the Children of Noah Jeffrey Kaplan
Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 1997.
ISBN: 0-8156-2687-8 (cloth); ISBN: 0-8156-0396-7 (paperback).
Dewey: 291.0973 K17r or 291.2'3—dc20
LC: BL503.2.K37 1996
Fascinating. Kaplan gets deeper into what the believers actually
believe than most books on cults do.
Also covers some less-reported stuff, like Aryan White Supremacy,
Odinism and Asatru, B'nai Noah, and even the Anti-cult Movement
(which is a good thing to do, because some of the anti-cult people
are dangerous fanatics themselves).
Well researched and documented.
Prophets, Cults, and Madness Anthony Stevens
and John Price
First published by Gerald Duckworth & Co. Ltd., London, 2000.
Redwood Books Ltd, Trowbridge, Great Britain, 2000.
Dewey: 291.9 S844p 2000
Interesting, another good slant on the minds and thinking of cults
and cult-like organizations, including Hitler and his Nazis.
This book has a strongly scientific and psychological slant to it
(which is good; too many books just sensationalize cults).
God Is A Millionaire Richard Mathison
Paperback: Charter Books, Pub. by The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., a subsidiary of
Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc., Indianapolis and New York, 1962.
Bobbs-Merrill hardcover edition published 1960.
Dewey: 280 M431g
A well-written and very interesting overview of quite a number of cults.
Easy reading and entertaining.
Balanced and well-thought-out, too. The author was a staff member of
Newsweek magazine who spent years investigating secret cults for
Because of its publication date, 1960, it obviously does not cover those
cults that became popular in the sixties and seventies, but it does do a
good job of covering all of the better-known cults in the century from
1850 to 1950, including the cults that developed into mainstream religions,
and then the California cults, the sex cults, the Black cults, and the
odd-balls like the UFO cults, the vegetarians, yogis, and Zen and Beatniks.
Snapping: America's Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change
Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman
J.B. Lippencott Company, Philadelphia and New York, 1978.
Dewey: 155.25 C767s
Interesting, and makes some good points. The authors concentrate on the psychological
phenomenon of "snapping" — sudden, dramatic personality changes accompanied
by hallucinatory or unreal or otherworldly experiences and feelings, which
are often called "religious experiences" (like Bill Wilson called his).
The authors build up a theoretical foundation for the phenomenon, and then
they do a good job of exploring how a variety of cults induce and use snapping
experiences to convert people into true believer cult members.
They also describe the array of mind-control techniques used on the
victims of Scientology, the Moonies' Unification Church,
the Love Family, Transcendental Meditation,
the Hari Krishnas, Charles Manson, and
the Symbionese Liberation Army (who kidnapped and converted Patricia Hearst),
to induce such conversion experiences. Unfortunately, the authors deal with
this "snapping" phenomenon in a very inconsistent way —
they regard it as bad when
a cult uses snapping to flip somebody out and make him into a cult member, but
they praise the use of the technique when a deprogrammer uses it to
"deprogram" a cult member and "snap" a cult member
"out of it"
(and convert the young person into whatever the paying parents wish...)
I have a major disagreement with the authors over their praise of
Ted Patrick ("Black Lightning") the deprogrammer,
whose methods were brutal and sadistic, and who was, in my opinion, just
a vicious brainwasher for hire, someone who was hired by the parents of
young cult members to reverse program their kids' minds.
The authors praised Patrick as the only man with a working system to
deprogram cult members, which was simply not true at all.
They reported that Patrick would do things like cut the
ponytails off of Hari Krishna members, an assault on their persons that
served no purpose but to torment and humiliate Patrick's victims, but the authors
rationalized such behavior by saying that the victim's parents had
given their permission for Patrick to do it. (As if the parents had such
"On occasion, Patrick told us, he may thrust a battling cult member
into a chair or against a wall, not to harm the individual, he insisted,
but simply to demonstrate his capacity to match his opponent's strength
and determination. During deprogramming, however, Patrick has no qualms
about employing a variety of shock tactics designed to jar his subjects
out of their otherwise impenetrable bliss"
See page 66.
So the authors glossed over Patrick's violent abuse of his subjects (but
the courts did not).
The authors were basically blind to Patrick's real methods. They wrote:
"As far as we could see, Patrick's clients showed no scars, either physical
or mental, from their deprogramming experience. Almost without exception,
they seemed to be healthy, happy, fully rehabilitated, and completely free
of the effects of cult life." (See page 69.)
(Fully rehabilitated? That is quite a euphemism.)
What studies have been done of Ted Patrick's work have
shown that he left his victims in an even more traumatized and mentally-damaged state
than the cults did. Far too many of his subjects were left
traumatized, numb, and in shock, with bad cases of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),
sometimes for months or years, like one victim who spent the next year
just staring out of her bedroom window after Ted Patrick brutally "fixed" her mind.
Experience has shown that the best way to deprogram cult members is to let
them come out of it themselves, which they almost always eventually do.
Now that the cult scare is over, and we have had 30 years to see what happens with
cults, we can see that most all of the cults suffered from very high drop-out
rates. Eventually, the kids do learn that the phony guru really is a phony and
a criminal, and become disillusioned with him all on their own, without having
a brutal drill sergeant to torture and "deprogram" them.
I cannot overlook the fact that Ted Patrick was a big black guy who seems to
have thoroughly enjoyed beating up on wimpy white kids, and he even got paid
by their stupid parents for doing it. He was just another con man, and a very cruel
one at that.
Ted Patrick got out of the deprogramming business when the criminal charges of
kidnapping, false imprisonment, and assault piled up, and
he started serving hard time in prison,
and he also started losing large civil lawsuits filed by his victims, as well.
Eventually, Ted Patrick was convicted on felony charges of kidnapping and unlawful
imprisonment, and sentenced to a year in prison.
See the Wikipedia web page on Ted Patrick, here:
And note that Wikipedia does not allow really harsh or vicious attacks on people
— they call that an "attack page" and delete it. One of the editors
of the Wiki page on Ted Patrick said this on the "talk page" about the
Ted Patrick page:
The truth is that this guy is an intellectually deficient, morally corrupt, speech
impedimented organized crime boss who preyed on the fears and wallets of scared
families. People would literally mortgage their houses to pay exorbitant fees to
Patrick and other blood suckers like him. I personally know two people that had
large amounts of money stolen (each) by these vampires (not Patrick in those cases).
I also personally know someone who was "deprogrammed" by Teddy himself, and was
force fed meat and was aggressively sexually "enticed" by a prostitute hired by
Patrick for that purpose. The deprogramming was unsuccessful.
But we can't say all that on Wikipedia. My "dim-witted, inarticulate wack
job" comment was quite mild.
ZipaDeeDooDa (talk) 03:28, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank goodness you didn't say all that on Wikipedia. :-) Rumiton (talk) 07:55, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Once again, we see that there is no shortage of insane doctors,
other sick sadistic "therapists"
who love to torture their patient-prisoners with fascistic medicine.
(See Professor George Vaillant,
Straight, Inc. and
Dr. Harry Tiebout for more.)
The False Messiahs Jack Gratus
Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1976.
Dewey: 291 G768f
Covers the earlier cults; that is, before the 'sixties and 'seventies.
Much earlier, like 307 BC to 1921.
The last chapter describes Charles Manson, and just mentions David
Berg's Children of God cult, the Moonies, and a few other modern
Rogue Messiahs: Tales of Self-Proclaimed Saviors
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Charlottesville, VA, 2000.
Dewey: 291.61 W747r 2000
Covers 25 false prophets who have arisen over the last 300 years,
including Vernon Howell ("David Koresh"), Jim Jones,
Ervil LeBaron, and Paul Brunton.
Feet of Clay; Saints, Sinners, and Madmen: A Study of Gurus
The Free Press, New York and London, 1996.
LC: BL72.S76 1996
Dewey: 291.61 S886f
Covers the psychology of both the guru and the follower, as exemplified
by a dozen modern characters like Rajneesh, David Koresh, Jung,
Steiner, Gurdjieff, and others. Explores our need for certitude,
and desire for a simple universe.
Fascinating. Well researched and documented.
Understanding Cults and New Religions
Irving Hexham & Karla Poewe
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI. 1986.
Dewey: 299 H614u
Combatting Cult Mind Control Steven Hassan, 1988.
Park Street Press, One Park Street, Rochester, Vermont, 05767
Dewey: 291.0973 H353c
This one is good. It is one of the fairest and most balanced of the
anti-cult books that came out in the 'eighties. It also does not
recommend the use of forceful abductions and reverse-brainwashing
"deprogramming" that gave exit counselors a bad name.
Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves
Freedom of Mind Press, Somerville, MA, 2000
LC: BP603.H37 2000
Dewey: 291 H353r 2000 or 305.62999
This is good. This is the kind of book you want to have if you discover that
a friend or relative has gotten sucked into a cult, and you want to know how
to get them back alive.
Steve Hassan's web site:
The Cult Movement Joan Johnson
Franklin Watts, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, 1984.
Dewey: 291.0973 J0h
LC: BL2525.J64 1984
This is easy reading, interesting, a gives a quick, fair, over-view
of the nature of cults.
Unfortunately, she just gives deprogrammers like
a quick nod of approval, without mentioning the negative side
of deprogramming, which is that too many deprogrammers
are nothing but vicious bullies who practice "brainwashing for
the other side" — just grab the kids, and brainwash them
into believing whatever the paying parents want them to believe,
instead of what the cult has brainwashed them into believing.
That can cause a lot of psychological damage.
My Father's Guru Jeffrey Masson
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, New York, 1993.
Dewey: 291 B911m
This is the story of another phony guru, Paul Brunton.
The viewpoint of the author is unusual: Jeffrey Masson was a child in
the Masson household while the "guru" lived with and free-loaded
on the Masson family.
In other words, Brunton was the guru of Jeffrey Masson's father.
Young Jeffrey was also the spiritual heir apparent of the guru,
but Jeffrey decided that Brunton was a fake, and decided not to
follow in the "guru's" footsteps.
Against Therapy; Emotional Tyranny and the Myth of Psychological
Healing Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Atheneum, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1988.
LC: RC437.5.M38 1988
Excellent. Recommended. Exposes the sordid, unethical roots of psychotherapy.
Masson makes it clear that in his opinion, the scandals that he exposes are not
just flukes or exceptional cases, but rather that psychotherapy is inherently
After describing the horrendous physical, psychological and sexual abuse to
which a Dr. Rosen subjected his patients, Masson asked,
The point of this book is to raise precisely this question: Is Rosen an exception,
or is there something about psychotherapy, something in the very nature of
psychotherapy, that tends toward such abuses? Are these abuses or simply the
use that is made of psychotherapy? A prison warden, a slaveholder, and a
psychotherapist have in common the desire to control another person. (The
analogy may appear inexact, for the person in therapy, many believe, is free
to leave or quit. I don't believe this is true, though it would require a
discussion of the concept of "informed consent." Nevertheless,
the parallels are striking. We know for a fact that many slaveholders thought
of themselves as kindly and argued that slaves were lucky to have them
as masters, for others would be worse. Medical doctors at Auschwitz argued
that if they didn't do what they did, others would do it more brutally.
People who participate in causing suffering to others often employ this argument.)
The Tyranny of the Group, Andrew Malcolm, M.D.
Littlefield, Adams & Co., Totowa, New Jersey, 1975.
LC: HM134.M33 1975
Mainstream Cults, Cardigan.
On the Psychology of Spiritual Movements,
The Gospel Time Bomb, Ultrafundamentalism and the Future of America
Lowell D. Streiker
Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY. 1984.
Dewey: 291.0973 S915g
Mind Bending, Brainwashing, Cults, and Deprogramming in the '80's
Lowell D. Streiker
Doubleday & Company, Garden City, New York, 1984.
Dewey: 291 S915m
Cults In Our Midst, The Hidden Menace In Our Everyday Lives
Margaret Thaler Singer with Janja Lalich
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1995.
Dewey: 291.9 S617c
This book is very good. It gives lots of good general background
information on cults, and particularly exposes, in the chapter
"Intruding into the Workplace",
how some cults have insinuated themselves into the very fabric
of our society, like how Werner Erhard's
est hoax morphed into The Landmark Forum (and similar
organizations) and sold "motivation enhancement seminars"
to corporate America.
(I wish she had paid a lot more attention to the grandchildren of
Synanon, the abusive "confrontational attack therapy"
drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation programs like The Seed and
Straight, Inc., and
the children's boot camps today,
and how they have insinuated
themselves into the fabric of our society, and pass off their
fascist torture of children as beneficial to America...)
I just have one bone to pick with her. She says on page 97 that
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a cult, because
Unfortunately, she got every single one of those points wrong.
A.A. is guilty of every single one of those cult characteristics,
and many more.
In addition, in her earlier book, "Crazy Therapies", which
criticized various fad therapies of the nineteen-sixties through the
-eighties, she warned of some common characteristics of fraudulent treatments:
- The "Procrustean Bed" — an all-purpose diagnosis that
can be stretched to fit any problem.
That's A.A. and its Twelve Steps, which are
the snake-oil that will cure anything.
- "Unrealistic Expectations". That's A.A. again, which
teaches that a 12-Step panacea — listing and confessing your sins,
and feeling powerless and guilty about everything —
will fix alcoholism, keep you from drinking, remove all of your sins,
and give you Sobriety, Recovery, Serenity, Gratitude, and even
for more unrealistic expectations.
- "Unexplained Workings" — the promoter cannot explain the
theoretical basis of the treatment or its purported successes.
That's A.A. yet again. There is no medical or scientific explanation for
how the 12 steps are supposed to cure or treat alcoholism, or make alcoholics
stop drinking. It's all vague hand-waving and claims that
God will really like you and you will become "spiritual"
if you do Bill Wilson's 12 steps, so then God will do a bunch of
favors for you, like make you quit drinking and
solve all of your problems for you.
Crazy Therapies; What are They? Do They Work?
Margaret Thaler Singer and Janja Lalich
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1996
ISBN: 0-7879-0278-0 (alk. paper)
LC: RC480.515.S56 1996
Dewey: 616.89'14—dc20 or 616.8914 S6175c
Describes and criticizes various fad therapies which were
popular from the nineteen-sixties and through the -eighties.
Take Back Your Life; Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships,
Janja Lalich and Madeline Tobias
Bay Tree Publishing, Berkeley, California, 2006.
LC: BP603.T62 2006
Another anti-cult book from Janja Lalich.
Good. Unfortunately, Prof. Margaret Thaler Singer has died, but Lalich
is still continuing the good work with a new collaboration.
This book is loaded with valuable information on how to deprogram and free yourself.
Recommmended. Here is a sample:
Frequently, at gatherings of former cult members, a lively exchange
takes place when participants compare their respective groups and
leaders. As people begin to describe their special, enlightened,
and unique leader — whether a pastor, therapist, political leader,
teacher, lover, or swami — those present are often surprised to learn
that their once-revered leaders are actually quite similar in
temperament and personality. It seems as if those leaders come from
a common mold, sometimes light-heartedly called the
"Cookie-Cutter Messiah School."
Take Back Your Life; Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships,
Janja Lalich and Madeline Tobias.
The Wrong Way Home, Uncovering the Patterns of
Cult Behavior in American Society
Arthur J. Deikman, M.D.
Beacon Press, Boston, MA, 1990.
LC: BL2525.D55 1990
Dewey: 302.3—dc20 or 302.3 D327w
Fascinating. Recommended. Exposes how cult-like behavior and attitudes
permeate a lot of our institutions, including our churches, corporations,
Dr. Deikman was on a Congressional committee that studied cults after
the Jonestown mass suicide and the murder of Congressman Leo J. Ryan,
and one of the disturbing facts that he noticed was: The question of
whether any particular group is a cult
is not a black-or-white, yes-or-no, question. It's all shades of gray,
and many of our organizations, institutions, and government agencies
exhibit cultish behavior to some extent or other.
This book is useful on two levels: First, it describes
cults and cultish behavior in a clear and concise way. And secondly,
it finds that cultish behavior, to varying degrees, in many of our
Deikman saw cults as pushing extreme degrees of these four behaviors:
And then he also found those behaviors contributing to
government disasters like Kennedy's Bay of Pigs and Reagan's Iran-Contra
conspiracy, which has very disturbing implications, because you feel like
it can happen again next week, because the politicians are still doing the
same stupid things, again and again.
Compliance with the group,
Dependence on a leader,
Devaluing the outsider, and
And since I wrote that, it did happen again. Both the Kennedy and Bush
White House administrations were cursed with a bunch of optimistic cheer-leaders who
could see no possible reasons why an invasion might fail — no matter whether it was
invading Cuba or invading Afghanistan and Iraq. And nobody was inviting
dissenters into the administration, either.
Soul Snatchers, The Mechanics of Cults
Algora Publishing, New York, 2000.
Dewey: 291.9 A147s
Just what it says: "the mechanics of cults."
Covers mental manipulation, the guru, how cults are organized,
recruitment, coercive persuasion, psychic conditioning,
physical conditioning (like sleep-, nutrition-, and sensory- deprivation),
and mental pathologies pre-dating the cult.
Lots of good information.
Cult Controversies, The Societal Response to the New Religious
Movements James A. Beckford
Tavistock Publications, London and New York, 1985.
ISBN: 0-422-79630-1 (hardcover), ISBN: 0-422-79640-9 (paperback).
Dewey: 291.0973 B396c
LC: BL98.B4 1985 291
A sociological and psychological study of the phenomenon.
Mystics and Messiahs, Cults and New Religions in American History
Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, and others, 2000.
Dewey: 200.973 J52m 2000
The Jung Cult, Origins of a Charismatic Movement Richard Noll
Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 1994.
Dewey: 150.1954 N793j
The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung
Random House, New York, 1997.
LC: BF109.J8N24 1997
Dewey: 150.19'54'092—dc21 or 150.1954 N793a
A fascinating biography of Carl Jung. Scholarly, heavily documented,
and interesting nevertheless. I came to the conclusion that Carl Jung
was a lunatic who foisted pseudo-science on the world,
as well as being a fascist, a racist, and a Nazi sympathizer.
Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America J. Gordon Melton
Garland Publishing Inc., New York & London, 1986.
LC: BL2525.M45 1986
Dewey: 291.0973 M528e
This book is indeed encyclopedic in organization, but not in size.
See The New Believers by David Barrett for a real encyclopedia.
Still, it covers a dozen old, established cults, and 15 new ones.
And the chapter on the anti-cult movement is good. Most authors miss
the fact that the "anti-cult movement", as exemplified
by Ted Patrick — the "Black Lightning" deprogrammer —
and his assistants, was just another vicious, coercive
brainwashing cult, too. Patrick just brainwashed kids "the other
way", for the paying parents... That has pretty much ended, due
to lawsuits and criminal kidnapping charges.
The New Believers; A Survey of Sects, Cults, and Alternative
Religions David V. Barrett
Cassell & Co., Wellington House, London, 2001.
Dewey 291 B27n 2001
Huge, encyclopedic, 544 pages of small type.
If you want one reference book about every cult in the world,
this is it.
Covers both the cults, and the phenomenon of cults, starting with
"What is an alternative religion, and what is a cult?"
The Concise Encyclopedia of Living Faiths R.C. Zaehner, Ed.
Beacon Press, Boston, 1959.
Dewey: 290 Z17c
Not nearly as encyclopedic as the one above. This book is about
large, mainstream faiths, rather than cults.
The Kingdom of the Cults Walter Martin
Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 55438, 1965, 1985.
1965 edition: ISBN: 0-87123-300-2, LCCN: 64-22840
1985 edition: ISBN: 0-87123-796-2
LC: BL80.2.M289 1985
Dewey: 291.0973 M383k or (sugg.) 291.9
This is an encyclopedia of cults from a Christian believer's point
(Of course the 1965 edition does not cover the new cults that started up in the
late 1960s and early 1970s. The 1985 edition does cover many of them.)
Much of the criticism of cults is based on how they depart
from standard Christian theology. For example, the author faults
Transcendental Meditation like this:
Jesus Christ. TM ignores Jesus Christ almost totally, although
Maharishi teaches that anyone can become as enlightened as Jesus Christ
through the application of TM techniques. It is clear from his neglect
of Jesus Christ and from his world view that he does not consider
Jesus Christ to be the unique Son of God, God manifest in the flesh.
Blind Faith; Recognizing and Recovering From Dysfunctional
Religious Groups Kay Marie Porterfield, M.A.
CompCare Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 55447, 1993.
Dewey: 291.4'2—dc20 or 291.0973 P849b
LC: BP603.P67 1993
An interesting and informative general overview of religious cults.
In Search of Heaven on Earth Rachel Storm
Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd, 2 Soho Square, London W1V 5DE, 1991
Dewey: 299.93 S885i
Cults of Unreason Dr. Christopher Evans
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 1973
Dewey: 290 E92c
Interesting, good. Covers a variety of subjects from very
ancient cults to modern ones, from religious cults to pseudo-scientific
ones like the flying saucer cults and Scientology.
Longing For The End; A History Of Millenialism In Western Civilization
Frederic J. Baumgartner
St. Martin's Press, New York, NY, 1999.
LC: BT891.B38 1999
Dewey: 236.9—dc21 or 236.9 B348L 1999
From the Jesus Cult to Charles Manson. Includes Jehovah's Witnesses,
Jim Jones and Jonestown, and the Solar Temple.
Cults in America; Programmed for Paradise Willa Appel
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1983.
LC: BL2530.U6A66 1983
Dewey: 291.0973 A646c
Good. A more scientific description of the phenomenon of cults
than most other books supply. Includes chapters on
The physiology chapter is particularly interesting, if you happen to
like biochemistry or neurology (no joke). Alas, that chapter is a
bit dated, now, which is inevitable,
considering the publication date and the rapid accumulation of
scientific data these days. But it is still good stuff.
- Who Joins Cults
- The First Steps of Indoctrination
- Breaking the Will
- The Physiology of Brainwashing
- Getting Out
The Cult Around the Corner; A Handbook on Dealing with Other People's Religions
Nancy O'Meara and Stan Koehler
Foundation for Religious Freedom International, Los Angeles, 2003.
LC: BL640.T65 2002
Dewey: 291.1772 or 200.973 O55c 2002
A very small book (86 pages) that contains a
lot of good, common-sense advice on how to deal with cults and a loved one who has
joined one. Basically adopts a tolerant, 'let them work it out' attitude.
The authors recognize the fact that most bad cults suffer from very high drop-out rates
without any outside help. Most cult members eventually wise up and vote with their feet —
they walk out.
Some of the best advice: "Never pay money to anyone to get a loved one out of a cult. Kidnapping
is a felony. Never pay for deprogramming. You won't find anyone who isn't a criminal
who will do a deprogramming today." (Pages 43-45.)
Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America Robert S. Ellwood, Jr.
Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1973.
ISBN: 0-13-773317-8; 0-13-773309-7 (pbk.)
Dewey: 290 E47r
— This one is fun, a real smorgas-bord of nuts and fruits,
from the flying-saucer people to the Satan-worshippers.
The Confusion of Tongues, A Review of Modern Isms Charles W. Ferguson
Doubleday, Doran, & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, 1928
Dewey: 289 F35
Fascinating; this book covers a lot of groups and cults seldom heard
of today, like the "Dukhobors" or "Russellism".
The chapter on the Ku Klux Klan as a dogmatic, cultish religion is
thought-provoking. This book only covers the early period of the Oxford
Group Movement, up to 1927.
American Saints & Seers; American-Born Religions & the Genius
Behind Them Edward Rice
Four Winds Press, New York, 1982.
Dewey: 291.9 R495a
Describes many churches that have been founded in America: Shakers,
Mormons, Christian Science, Adventists, Pentecostals, 'American Indian'
Religions, Muslims, and others.
Church of Lies Flora Jessop and Paul T. Brown
Jossey-Bass, A Wiley Imprint (www.josseybass.com), San Francisco, 2009
LC: BX8645.C48 2009
Dewey: 289.3'3—dc22 or 306.8423 JES
This is the story of a young woman who escaped from the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints,
the cult of Warren Jeffs,
and then devoted her life to rescuing other girls.
The FLDS believes in polygamy, and they routinely rape underage girls,
forcing them into marriages with old men, where the girls may be the fourth
or sixth wife of some church elder.
This book presents a great example of an extreme cult.
The cult teachings border on the unbelievable: "Women are not allowed to have lawyers."
"Women are not allowed to disobey men, who are all members of the priesthood."
The teachings on sex were: "Sex is for procreation only. If she is enjoying the sex, you aren't doing it right."
Eventually, the leader of the cult, Warren Jeffs, was convicted of aiding and abetting rape, and will
probably spend the rest of his life in jail.
The cult, however, is still doing just fine. They are now solidly established in Utah, Arizona, Texas,
The Camino; A Journey of the Spirit Shirley MacLaine
Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, New York and London, 2000.
LC: PN2287.M18 A3 2000
All kinds of interesting stuff about
and communicating with spirits. This book is just the kind of thing for
Steppers who are doing their Eleventh Step, and "making conscious
contact with God."
Going Within; A Guide for Inner Transformation
Bantam Books, New York, 1989.
LC: BF1031.M342 1989
More spiritual guidance from Ms. MacLaine.
Fake It Til You Make It! Phil Kerns
Victory Press, Carlton, Oregon 97111, 1982.
LC: HD9999.S742K4 1982
An interesting exposé of Amway as a commercial cult, coming from
a Christian viewpoint. The author calls Amway a modern Baal.
(The author is himself a very interesting person — he survived Jim Jones'
People's Temple cult, although some of his other family members did not — and he wrote
a book about that too, "People's Temple, People's Tomb".)
The title of this book — "Fake It Til You Make It!" —
is an Amway slogan. It is also a common Alcoholics Anonymous slogan, which is not a coincidence.
Both cults exhort people to pretend that they are successful when they are not,
and "Act As If" the cult's program is working great, when it isn't,
in order to deceive the newcomers
and make them believe that the program is really working for everybody
who works the program.
Such behavior also helps to retain the current members who are wavering and
thinking of leaving the organization, because they
Kerns shows that the average Amway distributor actually loses a few
hundred dollars per year by working as a distributor. The average distributor
makes several hundred dollars per year in commissions from selling soap and
other Amway products, but he spends more than that on "motivational" books,
tapes, rally tickets and other such "sales tools". (Which is easy to
do at $280 per ticket and $70 for a set of tapes, and then there are incidental expenses
like travel, lodging, and food.) (Page 117.)
Kerns also criticized the cultish behavior that he saw: blind obedience of
upline leaders' orders,
demands for total commitment, suppression of dissent, devaluing the outsider,
obsession with 'the program',
hyper-emotionalism, brainwashing/mind-control techniques used,
and grossly distorting Biblical teachings to make it sound like Amway
is a Christian organization.
Kerns also does the math and shows how it is impossible for the majority of the rank
and file Amway distributors to get rich: Amway's total profits in 1982
were estimated to be $350 million. But there were one million Amway
distributors that year. Even if Amway Corporation were to distribute
ALL of its profits to the distributors and keep nothing for itself
(unlikely), that would still only give the distributors $350 each.
Or Amway could manufacture 350 new millionaires and give nothing to
the other 999,650 distributors. (Pages 112-114.) But no way can everybody
get rich, no matter how hard they "work the program".
In addition, the largest amount that any Amway distributor ever made in one year
But at Amway distributors' rallies, top distributors were declared to
be making fantastic amounts of money, like $70 million per year.
How could that be? Easy. By selling large quantities of motivational
books, tapes, and rally tickets
to the rank and file Amway distributors all over the country. (Page 85.)
Easy, good reading.
CULTS: Faith, Healing, and Coercion Marc Galanter
Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, Toronto, Melbourne, and more.
First edition, 1989. ISBN: 0-19-505631-0 hardcover
Second edition, 1999. ISBN: 0-19-512369-7 hardcover; ISBN: 0-19-512370-0 pbk.
LC: BP603.G35 1989
Dewey: 291.6 G146c or 291.019—dc19
A real mixed bag of good and bad. Galanter's basic assumption is that cults
are bad, but A.A. is a good cult. See
a detailed book review here.
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why Bart D. Ehrman
Harper Collins Books, New York, 2005.
ISBN: 0060738170 (cloth)
This is not a book about a cult. It is, rather, a scholarly study
of how the Christian Bible was written, and rewritten, and changed, over the years, and who did it.
The author is far from a skeptic; he is a professor of theology,
and Chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in the heart of the Bible Belt.
He is one of those rare souls who knows the truth about the Bible and
early Christianity, and who will tell the truth —
and without grinding an ax for some particular sect, or coming off as a fundamentalist.
The author reveals some stunning facts, like that there are so many
variations and differences in the existing historical fragments of the Bible
that there are actually more possible versions of the Bible than there
are words in the Bible.
This book is thus very impressive, and important to anyone wanting to
know the truth about a lot of erroneous doctrines. What is especially
appalling is how many Bible-beating fundamentalist churches pick out
a few lines of the Bible and emphasize them and base their entire theology on
their interpretation of those lines,
when in fact the lines are erroneous, or fraudulent inserts or changes, done by some
well-meaning fool who thought that he would "correct errors" and fix things.
Strongly recommended for anyone who wants a better understanding of the
history of the Bible, or who wants to know what the Bible really says, or did once
Escape From Utopia: My Ten Years in Synanon William F. Olin
Unity Press, Santa Clara, CA, 1980.
Dewey: 362.293 O46e
— This is the story of Synanon, as it degenerated from a utopian
social organization and also a successful drug and alcohol
rehabilitation program, into a vicious nightmarish cult, ending
with the arrest of the cult's leader Charles "Chuck"
Dederich on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.
This story is especially good because it is told by a man who was
an idealist, a successful architect seeking a utopia, one of the
"life-stylers" who joined Synanon purely out of choice, rather
than one of the addicts desperately fleeing from death by drugs.
It gives his story a certain credibility,
and it also means that it is the story of a life gradually going
down-hill towards Hell over a ten-year period, as the organization
gradually turned into a really bad cult, rather than the story of
someone coming up from the bottom. Where some of the ex-addicts
might have seen even the worst parts of Synanon as improvements
in their lives, Olin didn't. He had a good bit more perspective on
things than that.
The Tunnel Back, Synanon Lewis Yablonsky
The Macmillan Company, New York, 1965.
Dewey: 362.29 Y12t
This is an earlier book about Synanon, from a very positive viewpoint.
This book ended before Synanon went really crazy, so it has nothing
but good things to say about Synanon and Chuck Dederich.
Actually, that is a gross understatement. Yablonsky is a fawning
hero-worshipper, and acts like a starry-eyed teenage girl adoring
a rock star. Yablonsky hangs on "Chuck" Dederich's every
bombastic declaration as the ultimate in human wisdom.
The U.C.L.A. sociologist Dr. Lewis Yablonsky was one of those
people who came to investigate Synanon, and got completely converted to
believing in the cult, much
like Dr. Harry Tiebout when he
saw Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is interesting to read this book second, and Olin's book listed
and note the contrasts, and know what the things that started in
led to in Olin's story, like how the much-praised "tough love"
newcomers and non-conforming members described in this book eventually
led to the brutal beatings of members and their children by the
"Imperial Marines" goon squad later.
It is especially interesting to see how this author exposes the growing
cultishness of Synanon without even realizing it.
Many of the standard cult characteristics are there:
- grovelling worship of the leader Chuck Dederich, he's always right
and "you are always wrong",
- mentoring — which means that the more senior members
"guide" the newcomers — which
really means the senior members constantly berate and attack
the newcomers, and
Yablonsky has high praise for all of the creative
and clever ways in which the old-timers brutally verbally assaulted
- and "newcomers can't think right" because they are
- Sacred Science — "Chuck Dederich has discovered a
great new social organization",
"The development which takes place is best described as
a 'resocialization process.' The individual is, in a fashion,
'brainwashed' to give up his old deviant patterns."
— Yablonsky commenting on the process of attacking old patterns
in a 'synanon' a.k.a. a "confrontational-type" therapeutic
community. From The Tunnel Back, page 261.
- We are special,
- Arrogant, bombastic existence: We are going to transform the
world because we are smarter than everybody else who has ever tried to
solve these problems...
- and more...
One example is on page 397, talking about
why the leader Chuck Dederich didn't like professional evaluations of
Synanon as a drug rehab program:
Another factor that would tend to invalidate standard research practice
for Synanon is that unless the researcher understood the new social
organization called Synanon, he would be inclined to project onto it
concepts that apply to the traditional institutions.
Since Synanon is not a prison, a "halfway house," a hospital, or
A.A., it would be inappropriate to evaluate it by many of the
traditional research methods.
— Which means,
"Our cult is special, so special that psychologists
studying us won't even be able to understand how special we are."
Besides, a properly-trained, experienced, professional psychologist
might have recognized that the wonderful "new
social organization" was
really just standard old cult organization in new clothes.
The book arrogantly ends with:
The belief of some professionals in their exclusive right to treat human
problems is no longer logical or practical in the light of Synanon's success.
Greater cooperation between the professionals and the Synanon community
of "professionals" seems clearly needed.
A first step in this potentially productive cooperation would be for the orthodox
professional and the public to understand Synanon, not as an extension of
older institutional models, but as a new therapeutic system with a viable
structure and integrity of its own. From this more logical starting point,
the public and the professional community, in cooperation with Synanon, can
forward the natural thrust of this vital new social movement.
Alas, would that it were so. Note that Yablonsky's book has
written all over it. Cults are as old as the hills, and yet, many
of them claim to be the very first people on Earth to discover some
great new principle or invention, or the first to receive some great
new revelation from God. In the end, Synanon was just one more cult,
The Rise and Fall of Synanon, A California Utopia
The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore and London, 2001.
Dewey: 362.2938 J35r 2001
Scholarly, heavily documented.
The Light on Synanon: How a Country Weekly Exposed a Corporate
Cult — And Won the Pulitzer Prize
Dave Mitchell, Cathy Mitchell, and Richard Ofshe
Seaview Books, New York, 1980.
Dewey: 071.947 M681L
Fascinating, easy reading. This is the story of how a little weekly
newspaper, run by the Mitchell husband-and-wife team,
and the U.C. Berkeley professor Richard Ofshe, managed to
bring down the Synanon cult and
win the Pulitzer prize in the process.
What is really disturbing is how reluctant the California officials
were to actually enforce the laws. For years, their attitude was,
"Well okay, we'll file a report. But we can't press charges, or
get a conviction, because it's just your word against theirs, and
they have a thousand people, and 40 lawyers..."
The authorities didn't raid Synanon, or make any arrests,
until after Jim Jones' cult (also from northern California)
committed mass suicide in Guyana.
Only then did the authorities get scared and do something.
Destroying the World to Save It, Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic
Violence, and the New Global Terrorism
Robert Jay Lifton.
Metropolitan Books, New York, 1999.
Note that the author is
the same Dr. Robert J. Lifton as gained fame as the author
of the first good study of Chinese Communist brainwashing of American,
British, and other U.N. soldiers during the Korean War:
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism:
A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China.
And he's still alive and working — he was on the Charlie Rose
show on Public Television the week of October 20, 2002, talking about
the mind-set of the Americans regarding going to war with Iraq.
ISKCON, the Hari Krishna cult:
Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of
the Hare Krishna Movement Nori J. Muster
University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL, 1997.
This is the story of one survivor of the Hari Krishna cult, ISKCON.
What is especially curious about this book is that the authoress still
has not discarded her belief in the founder, A.C. Bhaktivedanta
She just thinks that his followers destroyed the church after his death,
and that he wasn't aware of things like the child abuse and unethical
fund-raising that went on while he was alive.
She wrote a whole book documenting the evils of the organization,
and the gross misconduct and crimes of Prabhupada's disciples — the
dishonest fund-raising, the drug dealing, the guns, and the murder
of a critic — and she just
did not seem to be capable of waking up and realizing who trained
those disgusting junior "zone gurus",
and made them into the despicable creeps that they really are.
You will know a tree by the fruit that it bears.
Jesus said that.
Nori Muster later stated: "When I wrote that, I was half-in
and half-out of ISKCON. Now I'm totally out."
Later later Update:
Further discussions of the beliefs and experiences of Nori Muster later on,
Sri Isopanisad A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, International Society for Krishna Consciousness,
Los Angeles, CA, 1969.
LC: BL1124.7.I762E5 1993
Pure cult garbage. Prabhupada's interpretation of ancient Vedantic teachings.
Includes Prabhupada's goofy cosmology, like that there are higher living beings
on the sun and moon, and people who don't believe in his religion are fools and
Patty Hearst and The Symbionese Liberation Army:
Every Secret Thing Patricia Campbell Hearst,
with Alvin Moscow
Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1982.
LC: F866.4 .H42A34
Dewey: 322.4'2'0924 [B] or 322.42092 Hearst
This is the story of the kidnapping and brainwashing of Patricia
Hearst. This book is must reading for those who insist that there
is no such thing as brainwashing, and nobody can be brainwashed into
doing things they don't want to do, like rob banks.
The Scandal of Scientology Paulette Cooper
Tower Publications, Inc., New York, 1971.
LC: BP605.S2 C661 1971
Very good. Required reading for the sincere student of cults or Scientology.
This book was the first important, thorough exposé of Scientology,
and the Scientology organization was vicious in its response.
They actually planted a boyfriend/lover in her life, a man who pretended
to be her friend, a man with whom she shared all of the intimate secrets
of her life, as well as her bed.
Little did she know that he was xeroxing off her personal
diaries and reporting everything about her to the Scientology headquarters.
Then, an agent for Scientology stole pages of her personal stationery
that she had touched and which bore her fingerprints, and then the
Scientologists typed fake bomb threats against Scientology on the paper,
and charged Paulette Cooper with threatening Scientology. Ms. Cooper
was arrested and indicted. Fortunately for her, the FBI discovered
that Scientologists were burglarizing U.S. Government offices and
stealing files on thousands of people, so the FBI raided the
Scientology headquarters in several cities. When they did, they
found plenty of evidence that the whole case against Ms. Cooper was
a total fraud and a complete frame-up.
But the Scientologists still didn't stop. Ms. Cooper reported that
even five years later, they began out sending pages of her teenage
diaries to various people, anonymously.
Note: This book is now a free download at:
Also see other free downloads of anti-Scientology books here:
A Piece of Blue Sky; Scientology, Dianetics, and L. Ron Hubbard
Exposed Jon Atack
A Lyle Stuart Book, Published by Carol Publishing Group,
600 Madison Ave., New York, NY, 1990.
Dewey: 299.936 A862p
— Very good, complete, chilling, and disgusting. I alternated between feeling sorry for
the members for the abuse they suffered, and feeling contempt for their massive stupidity
and blindness as they turned around and did it all to somebody else.
Required reading for the sincere student of cults or Scientology.
Note: This book is now a free download at:
Also see other free downloads of anti-Scientology books here:
Bare-Faced Messiah; The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard Russel Miller
Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1987.
LC: BP605.S2M55 1988
Excellent. Complete, detailed, thorough, and very interesting. Highly recommended.
Note: This book is now a free download at:
Also see other free downloads of anti-Scientology books here:
L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman? Bent Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard, Jr.
Lyle Stuart Inc., Secaucus, New Jersey, 1987.
LC: BP605.S2C67 1987
Also excellent. This book's particular claim to fame is that L. Ron Hubbard's own
son, who defected from Scientology, is a co-author.
Well-researched and well-documented. It is obvious that the younger Hubbard had
access to materials no one else could get, and he also knew things that outsiders
did not. One chapter explores the older Hubbard's dabbling in the magic of Aleister
Crowley, and another is "Freaking Out on Paulette", which describes the reaction
of Hubbard and Scientology to the book that Paulette Cooper wrote.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief Lawrence Wright
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013.
Also excellent. This book is more modern than the others, and has more information about Scientology
under the new leader David Miscavige.
The author, Lawrence Wright, is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and his book about the 9/11
attack, Looming Tower, won the Pulitzer Prize.
What Is Scientology? Based on the Works of L. Ron Hubbard
Compiled by Staff of the Church of Scientology
Bridge Publications, Inc. 4751 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029, 1993, 1998.
ISBN: 1-57318-122-6 (USA)
ISBN: 87-7336-945-4 (Foreign countries)
Dewey: 299.936 W555 1998
This is official Scientology propaganda, total lies from cover to cover.
What Is Scientology? A guidebook to the world's fastest growing
religion Compiled by Staff of the Church of
Bridge Publications, Inc. 4751 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029,
ISBN: 0-88404-850-0 (USA)
ISBN: 87-7336-945-4 ? (Foreign countries)
(The reason for the question
mark is because the international ISBN: number is the same as on the
preceding book, but they aren't the same book at all. They are only
somewhat similar; the first is 835 pages, and the second is
Dewey: 299.936 W5554
This is more official Scientology propaganda, total lies from cover
The Moonies, the Unification Church:
The Advent of Sun Myung Moon George D. Chryssides
St. Martin's Press, New York, 1991.
Dewey: 289.9 C558a
Hostage to Heaven Barbara Underwood and Betty Underwood
Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. Publishers, New York, 1979.
Dewey: 289.9 U56h
— A two-person account of life in Moon's Unification Church.
Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church; An In-Depth
Investigation of the
Man and the Movement Frederick Sontag
Abingdon, Nashville, 1977
Dewey: 289.9 S699s
The Making Of A Moonie: Brainwashing Or Choice?
Basil Blackwell Publisher Ltd., Oxford, UK, 1984.
LC: BX9750.S4B37 1984
Dewey: 289.9 B225m
Quite good. Rather than just sensationalizing the Moonies, or
grandly proclaiming that cults can brainwash people in a few days,
like some extremist anti-cult people and professional
"deprogrammers" do, the author really delves into
how the recruiting and indoctrination mind games work, and how much the
victim cooperates with the program (or doesn't cooperate).
The author also reveals things like that
the actual recruiters' success rate is about 0.005% (page 147).
The author even gets into psychoanalyzing the members, revealing that
many of them had mental problems before joining the Moonies, and
suggesting that that was why they joined.
This book is a breath of sanity in a field that needs more.
Jim Jones and the People's Temple:
Six Years with God Jeanne Mills
A & W Publishers, New York, 1979.
This book is sickening. It is very good, but it is still sickening.
This book borders on the unbelievable — the depths of Jim Jones' depravity and evil
are almost unimagineable.
The continuous lies, vicious hatred, terrorism, physical and mental torture that
Jones inflicted on his followers was so sickening that I didn't actually
finish reading the whole book. I had to stop.
And it is mind-boggling how many followers stayed for more abuse.
Jeanne Mills, her husband, and their young daughter were all
murdered in their home in Berkeley, California, in March of 1980, by People's Temple
cult members, just months after she published this book exposing
the inner workings of the cult.
That happened shortly after the mass suicide in Guyana, and the murders were apparently
done by a few surviving members of the Temple goon squad,
"The Angels", who then committed suicide.
Awake In A Nightmare Ethan Feinsod
W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY, 1981.
Dewey: 289.9 F299a
This is a fascinating story that starts with life in VietNam, Detroit, and
San Francisco, and continues through life in Jim Jones' People's
Temple commune in Guyana, down to the bitter end.
Journey to Nowhere, A New World Tragedy Shiva Naipaul
Simon and Schuster, New York, 1980.
Dewey: 289.9 N157j
A rather depressing, but very accurate and colorful view of Guyana and The
People's Temple of Jim Jones.
Seductive Poison, A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in
the People's Temple
Anchor Books, Doubleday, New York, 1998.
Dewey: B La 4547s 1998
The Layton family got hit hard by the cult. Deborah's mother died of lung
cancer at Jonestown while Jim Jones gobbled up all of her pain pills and pretended to
have cured her with faith healing.
Her brother Larry was part of the assassination team that killed
Congressman Leo J. Ryan and the others at the landing strip in Guyana.
I hear that he's now doing life in a Federal penitentiary.
Deborah was smart enough to get out earlier, so she was left alive to
write the book.
In My Father's House, The Story of The Layton Family and the Reverend
Jim Jones Min S. Yee & Thomas N. Layton
Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1981
Dewey: B La455y
This is the story of the Layton family, told from the viewpoint of
the father of the family. He refused to join the People's Temple
and go to Guyana, but he couldn't stop the rest of his family from
Snake Dance, Unraveling the Mysteries of Jonestown
Laurie Efrein Kahalas
Red Robin Press, New York, 1998.
Dewey: 289.9 K12s
This book is very pro-Jim-Jones. It is a disorganized mess
of scraps of information mixed with conspiracy theories. It is a
frightening example of the mind of a true believer, someone
who believes in the Big Lie so intensely that not even the deaths
of 914 innocent people will make the author see that Jones
was evil. The author still maintains that Jones was a saint.
The author chooses to believe that it was all a big plot by the CIA,
and Jonestown was a paradise, and "a peaceful community was
targeted for destruction" because the U.S. Government didn't
like Jim Jones' radical left-wing politics. The author just will
not face one simple fact: It was Jim Jones, and not the CIA or the
U.S. Government, who ordered 914 men, women, children and babies to
drink cyanide kool-aid.
The Strongest Poison Mark Lane
Hawthorn Books, a division of Elsevier-Dutton, New York, 1980.
Dewey: 988.103 L266s
This is another apology for Jim Jones. Mark Lane is the same
author as the one who gained some fame for Kennedy assassination
conspiracy theories. (Alas, my opinion of those theories just
went down a notch, because if Lane is representative of the lot,
then there isn't much there.)
Lane was hired as a publicist for Jim Jones' People's Temple
in the last days of the cult, and Lane is still doing his job.
Lane, like the previous author,
blames the U.S. government for bothering Jim Jones and pushing
him over the edge, and making him order his followers to drink
cyanide. To Mark Lane, the "strongest poison" was not
the cyanide that Jim Jones ordered fed to the children,
it was the U.S. government saying nasty things about Jim
Jones. Pathetic, really pathetic.
I guess some people will do anything to sell a book.
On the bright side, the book is voluminous, and will give you
Jim Jones' arguments, rationalizations, and excuses on every issue.
Our Father Who Art in Hell, The Life and Death of Jim Jones
James Reston, Jr.
Times Books, New York, 1981.
Dewey: 289.9 R439o
The Children of Jonestown Kenneth Wooden
McGraw-Hill, New York, 1981.
Dewey: 362.7044 W886c
Pays particular attention to the children whom the Temple
collected and killed. The Temple went into the foster parents
business, and got a lot of kids off of drugs, permanently.
267 children were given cyanide on the orders of Jim Jones.
White Night, The Untold Story of What Happened Before — And
Beyond — Jonestown John Peer Nugent
Rawson, Wade Publishers, Inc., New York, 1979.
Dewey: B Jo7178n
Very good, fascinating, detailed, interesting, easy reading,
Gone From the Promised Land, Jonestown in American Cultural History
John R. Hall
Transaction Books, New Brunswick USA and Oxford UK, 1987
Dewey: 289.9 H177g
Hearing the Voices of Jonestown
Mary McCormick Maaga
Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York, 1998
Dewey: 289.9 M111h 1998
Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown National
Public Radio staff
National Public Radio, 1981.
Program tape numbers SP-810423.01/02-C and SP-810423.02/02-C
This is a program that includes the last tapes of
Jim Jones, as they killed themselves at Jonestown.
David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and Waco:
Why Waco? James D. Tabor and Eugene V. Gallagher
University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1995.
Dewey: 289.9 T114w
A less sensational attempt at objectivity.
A Place Called Waco, A Survivor's Story
Public Affairs, Perseus Book Group, New York, 1999.
Dewey: 976.4284 T427p
Another true believer's story. The author still believes that
Vernon Howell, aka. David Koresh, was a prophet and a man of God.
But unlike the previous nut
this true believer
brings up a lot of hot points about the tragic bungling and gross
dishonesty of the [B]ATF, Janet Reno, and the FBI.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and the Rajneeshees:
The Ultimate Game: The Rise and Fall of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Kate Strelley with Robert D. San Souci
Harper & Rowe, Publishers, San Francisco, 1987.
LC: BP605.R344S77 1987
Dewey: 299.93 STR
Fascinating, very well written.
Bhagwan; The God That Failed Hugh Milne
St. Martin's Press, New York, 1987.
LC: BP605.R343M55 1987
Dewey: 299.93 MIL
Riders of the Cosmic Circuit; Rajneesh, Sai Baba, Muktananda... Gods of the New Age
A Lion Paperback, Lion Publishing plc., Tring, Herts, England, 1986.
This is a book from what I call a "spiritual Pollyanna". Such Pollyannas are people
who mindlessly jabber things like, "Oh isn't is so wonderful that these wonderful gurus come
from India to teach us all such wonderful things?" The author was incapable of
recognizing a con artist at work. He raved about how they brought us
"a new consciousness".
I can't say anthing about Sai Baba one way or the other, but the "wonderful" teachings
of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh were a total con that ended with his followers at Antelope Valley, Oregon,
waging germ warfare against the local residents, trying to make them too sick to vote,
to that Rajneesh could take over the county,
and Rajneesh fled the country to avoid being put in prison.
And Muktananda set up a commune where he specialized in
using his yogic powers to screw all of the 14-year-old girls for an hour each.
Afterwards, he would hold up one finger to the girl and say, "Remember. One hour."
The moral of the story is, for every real teacher who came over from the East, ten phonies came
over to cash in.
David Berg and The Children of God cult:
The Children of God: The Inside Story; by the daughter of the
Founder Moses David Berg
Deborah (Linda Berg) Davis with Bill Davis
The Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Missouri: 1984.
Dewey: 289.9 D261c
This is an insider account of David Berg's Children of God cult —
a very insider account, because it was written by David Berg's
daughter. She says straight out front that he was a criminal and a
monster. His idea of "true spiritual freedom" and
"perfect love", for instance,
was that all of the women, including his daughter,
should freely have sex with him. (Pages 9-12 and 99-101.)
And more: all of the women must practice Flirty Fishing,
prostitution to bring in more members and money, and their husbands
should work as their pimps... Unbelievable, but true.
Needless to say, fascinating.
Heaven's Harlots; My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in
the Children of God Cult Miriam Williams
Eagle Brook, an imprint of William Morrow and Company, Inc.,
New York, 1998.
ISBN: 0-688-15504-9 (alk. paper)
LC: BR605.C38W55 1998
Dewey: 299.93 W725h
Engrossing, good reading. Easily the most engrossing and readable
of this bunch of books about the Children of God cult.
Final Report on the Activities of the Children of God to Honorable
Louis J. Lefkowitz, Attorney General of the State of New York,
Herbert J. Wallerstein, Charity Frauds Bureau, Sept. 30, 1974.
Not for a Million Dollars, Una McManus and John C. Cooper
Impact Books, 1976.
Zondervan Publishing House, 1980.
More on the Children of God cult.
EST and Werner Erhard:
est, 60 hours that transform your life, erhard seminars training
Avon Books, a division of The Hearst Corporation, New York, 1976.
This is just lying propaganda, pure and simple, a piece of junk
designed to convince you to give your money to Werner Erhard.
The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile,
St. Martin's Press, New York, 1993.
Dewey: B Er39p
LC: RC489.E7P74 1993
This is good, detailed and descriptive, fascinating reading,
and gives a frightening
look at the ease with which an unscrupulous man can make himself
into a "guru" and the millionaire leader of a dishonest,
See quotes describing Werner Erhard
Arthur Janov and his Primal Scream:
The New Primal Scream: Primal Therapy After 20 Years
Enterprise Publishing, Wilmington, DE, 1991.
Dewey: 132 J34n
Back in the late 'sixties, Janov published his original
Primal Scream, which featured patients saying things like,
"Well, if I add up how much money I spend on cigarettes over
a period of several years, it is many thousands of dollars.
But if I give $5000 of it to Arthur instead, for him to teach me
how to scream and quit smoking,
I'll be so much healthier, and I'll actually save money.
So that's what I'll do — I'll give Dr. Janov $5000."
Well, Janov managed to polish his act a little in the following
20 years, but it's still the same old garbage. Now the back cover of this
"Scientific Research World-Wide Proves Primal
Therapy May Prolong Life by Reducing Stress".
Yep, the Baby Boomers are all middle-aged now, and trying to live
Notice the broken logic:
Scientific blah-blah PROVES that Janov's garbage MAY work.
We get an absolute certainty — "proof" — followed by a
vague, uncertain, maybe.
Yes, and the discovery of the coelacanth PROVES that
Nessie the Loch Ness sea monster MIGHT be real too, but it's
I'm not holding my breath.
Note that the opposite logic is equally valid:
Scientific blah-blah PROVES that Janov's garbage MAY NOT work.
Non-cult Spiritual books:
The Christian Bible, any version.
All Men Are Brothers; Autobiographical Reflections Gandhi; compiled and
edited by Krishna Kripalani
Continuum, New York, 1990.
Dewey: B G195am
A fine book of quotes from Gandhi.
Life is an inspiration. Its mission is to strive after perfection, which is
self-realization. The ideal must not be lowered because of our weaknesses and imperfections.
(June 22, 1935, p. 91.)
I see and find beauty in Truth or through Truth. All Truth, not merely true ideas,
but truthful faces, truthful pictures or songs are highly beautiful. People generally
fail to see beauty in Truth, the ordinary man runs away from and becomes blind to the
beauty in it. Whenever men begin to see beauty in Truth, then true art will arise.
(Nov. 13, 1925, p. 68.)
Miracle of Love: Stories About Neem Karoli Baba
E. P. Dutton, New York, 1979.
LC: BL1175 .N43R35
Dewey: 294.561 N379r
This is a beautiful book. Something high and positive, some
genuine spirituality, just for a change.
Be Here Now Baba Ram Dass
Hanuman Foundation, 1971.
This is the original, first, book that Ram Dass published
about the teachings he had received from Neem Karoli Baba.
The very first printing was a boxed edition the size of a
33 1/3 RPM phonograph record,
and the box contained such a record, and the book was printed on
recycled brown grocery bag paper in very large type.
Alas, the later editions are not so neat.
But it's still a great book.
Mind Control, Brainwashing, Other Psychology, and Propaganda:
Brainwashing, From Pavlov to Powers Edward Hunter
Originally published by Farrar, Straus, & Cudahy, Inc., 1951, 1956.
Reprinted by The Bookmailer, Inc., 30 West Price Street, Linden, New Jersey,
LC: 56-7817 and 60-53397
Dewey: 131.33 H91
This book is very good. It is a classic.
And the book is fascinating and a good read.
It really gives you the feeling of being there and going through
the brainwashing to which the American, British, and other United
Nations soldiers were subjected during the Korean War.
It also clearly explains just how the brainwashing worked and how
some men succumbed to it, and some successfully resisted it.
It also turns out that this was the first book on Communist
brainwashing published, and Hunter was actually the author
who coined the term "brainwashing" — it's just a
translation of the Chinese phrase Hsi Nao, which
Mao Tse Tung (aka Mao Zhe Dhong) and
gang used to denote the idea of washing away the vestiges of
the old system (literally "cleansing the mind") in the
process of being re-educated to assume one's place in the new
Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism:
A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China
Robert Jay Lifton.
The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, and London,
1961 and 1989.
Reprinted by The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill,
This is Lifton's classic study of "brainwashing" in
Lifton's newer book about the Aum Shinrikyo cult.
Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-psychological
Analysis of the "Brainwashing" of American Civilian
Prisoners by the Chinese Communists
Edgar H. Schein with
Inge Schneier and Curtis H. Barker
W.W. Norton, New York, 1961.
In some ways this book complements Edward Hunter's book "Brainwashing,
From Pavlov to Powers", because this
book concentrates its attention on American civilians who happened to be
in China when Mao took over, and were arrested by Mao's forces and subjected to
"thought reform" in prison.
The author states (p.21) that he checked his hypotheses with others like
Lifton and Barnett, and drew heavily from Hunter, so obviously that
small group of pioneers were in communication with each other,
trading ideas and information.
This book and the previous two by Hunter and Lifton are the classics of
the field, and are simply must reading for students of brainwashing
and mind-control programs.
Dr. Schein saw "thought reform" programs as working in stages:
- Unfreezing — Make the subject lose his previous identity.
Shatter his self-confidence and belief in himself, his moral standards,
and his previous philosophy. Make his personality fluid and changeable.
- Changing — Change the subject into whatever is desired.
- Refreezing — Make the subject lock in the changes by solidifying
his new personality.
The bases for being judged guilty which he [the victim] must come to appreciate are
— pages 141-143.
- Guilt by Association.
- Guilt by Intention.
- Guilt for Incorrect Attitudes.
- Guilt for Incorrect Thoughts.
- Guilt for Having Knowledge.
- Guilt for Harmful Action.
- Guilt for Failure to Act.
- Guilt for Having a Characteristic Personal Fault or Faults.
- Guilt for Having Dangerous Social Origins.
Even back in 1960, Dr. Schein saw that Alcoholics Anonymous was a mind-control
or thought-reform program:
Certain organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) do not
deliberately unfreeze an individual but refuse to take anyone under
their care who is not already unfrozen. Thus a person does not
become eligible for care by AA unless he has really become
desperate, is dissatisfied with himself, and is prepared to turn
his fate over to some greater power.
— page 272.
The interesting question arises then, in what way are groups
in fact used in the unfreezing of individuals in the parallel
types of institutions which we have discussed? ...
In AA the small discussion group plays a key therapeutic role;
in mental hospitals there has been an increasing reliance on
therapy groups, work groups of various sorts, and/or patient
self-government groups, where in each case the assumption is
made explicitly or implicitly that for the new group member the
membership experience will produce influence of a kind desired
by the institution; in educational workshops, like those concentrating
on human relations training, the group experience is considered
the key educational experience...
— page 274.
But what of those institutions which are entered voluntarily and
from which the individual may withdraw voluntarily — educational
institutions, religious orders, AA, psychoanalysis, revival meetings,
fraternities, and so on? We believe that in such institutions the
social pressures which can be generated can be as coercive as the
physical constraints previously described. Not only is voluntary
withdrawal generally defined as failure, but the act of entry into
an institution may constitute a more or less irrevocable commitment
in that the individual often cuts himself off from alternate paths
when he makes his decision. In addition to these two forces there is
acting perhaps an even more powerful one, the confirmation by fellow
group members and by "back home" significant others of the emerging
institutional identity. The young man who has entered a religious
order and wishes after half a year to leave it will have a difficult
time psychologically if he is considered by his peers and teachers
to be a good student, if his parents have their hearts set on his
becoming a priest, if his friends have already abandoned his old
identity in their own eyes and treat him only in terms of his new one,
and if his termination is defined by all concerned as an act of moral
weakness. Obviously these pressures are not always as strong as we
have implied, and obviously people do leave institutions like religious
orders, but equally obviously it generally requires an act of great
courage to do so. Such courage is not too dissimilar to the courage
required to resist the pressures of thought reform.
— pages 275-276.
Also see the CIA's review of this book,
Also see the Wikipedia entry on brainwashing, which discusses all three of the books above:
Battle For The Mind; A Physiology Of Conversion and Brain-Washing
Malor Books, POBox 381069, Cambridge, MA, 02238-1069, 1997.
LC: BF633.S3 1997
Dewey: 153.85 S245b 1997
Quite good. Includes:
- Experiments in Animals,
- Animal and Human Behavior Compared,
- The Use of Drugs in Psychotherapy,
- Psychoanalysis, Shock Treatments and Leucotomy,
- Techniques of Religious Conversion,
- Applications of Religious Techniques,
- Brain-washing in Religion and Politics,
- and The Eliciting of Confessions.
Mind Control Peter Schrag
Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 1978.
Dewey: 616.89 S377m
Blink: The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking Malcolm Gladwell
Little, Brown and Company, New York and Boston, 2005.
LC: BF448.G53 2005
Dewey: 153.44—dc22 or 153.44 G543b 2005
A fascinating book about how the human brain works, and how we form snap judgements.
Covers both kinds of snap judgements — situations were the first intuitive impression
is stunningly brilliantly correct, and situations where it is grossly disastrously wrong —
and the author explains why that happens.
This book is relevant to cultish behavior in that most cult members do not really think,
they merely react to information in a mindless knee-jerk kind of reaction (either
instant agreement or instant disapproval, depending on whether it supports their
pre-conceived notions), and the author discusses such non-thinking behavior.
Edward Bernays (1891—1995)
Ig Publishing, Brooklyn, NY, 1928.
ISBN: 0-9703125-9-8 (alk. paper)
LC: HM1231.B47 2005
This book is a classic, and must-readng for the student of
Edward Bernays was the godfather of propaganda.
He basically invented the science of propaganda.
Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, and he did a study of
the human mind from the
viewpoint of figuring out what would fool people into doing what
he wanted. The word is, even the Nazi Minister of Propaganda
Joseph Goebbels learned a few tricks from Bernays.
Bernays considered skilled propagandists to be the
highest of the high of the human race. (He was just a little bit
self-congratulatory there, wasn't he?)
Edward Bernays was such an arrogant elitist that he
believed that propagandists should rule the world because they
were the people who were smart enough and skilled enough and
clever enough to get everybody else to do their bidding.
And Bernays did quite a bit of ruling himself. He contracted
himself out to millionaires, and used his propaganda skills to
make things go their way. Thus Bernays also invented the modern
art of public relations, and his influence on Madison Avenue
advertising was immense. One of Bernays' projects was working
for the tobacco industry in the nineteen-twenties, convincing
women that it was okay for them to smoke cigarettes.
As you can imagine, some people consider Edward Bernays to be the
The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
Random House, New York, 1995.
Dewey: 001.9 S129d
This book is a beauty. Carl Sagan always was easy to read, highly
informative, and clear, and this book lives up to his reputation.
This book includes "the baloney detector", which is a list
of deceitful propaganda techniques that gave me the idea for the
"Propaganda Techniques" web page.
Man For Himself; An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics, Erich Fromm
Fawcett Publications, Inc., Greenwich, Conn. and New York City, NY, 1947.
This book is typical of his work — deep, thoughtful, coherent, comprehensible, and interesting.
Erich Fromm: The Courage to Be Human Rainer Funk
Continuum, New York, NY, 1982.
Copyright 1978 Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt GmbH, Stuttgart.
Dewey: 191 F93f
A study of the philosophy of Erich Fromm.
How To Lie With Statistics Darrell Huff
W. W. Norton & Company, New York and London, 1954, 1982.
Dewey: 519.5 H84
This is a beautiful little classic that explains a lot of the
deceptions and propaganda stunts that you can pull with statistics,
and some other methods, too, like "The Gee-Whiz Graph",
"The One-Dimensional Picture", and "Post Hoc Rides
Proofiness : the dark arts of mathematical deception Charles Seife.
New York : Viking, 2010.
Other Title: Title on 2011 pbk. ed. : Proofiness : how you're being fooled by the numbers
Description: The bestselling author of "Zero" shows how mathematical misinformation pervades — and shapes — our daily lives.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Another beautiful books that explains how we are being fooled by mathematical tricks
and deceptions and numerical sleight-of-hand. A modern companion to Darrel Huff's
book How To Lie With Statistics.
Must reading for those people who don't want to get fooled by con artists who are doing
mental shell games on us by rapidly fumbling the numbers around.
Propaganda, the Formation of Men's Attitudes Jacques Ellul
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1965.
Dewey: 301.1523 E47p
Propaganda Comes Of Age Michael Choukas
Public Affairs Press, Washington, D.C., 1965.
Dewey: 301.1523 C45
Beyond Hypocrisy: Decoding the News in an Age of Propaganda;
including A Doublespeak Dictionary for the 1990s
Edward S. Herman; Illustrations by Matt Wuerker
South End Press, Boston, MA, 1992.
ISBN 0-89608-436 cloth; ISBN 0-89608-435-3 paper
LC: P96.L342U55 1992
This is one of those books that is both beautiful and maddening.
It clearly tells the truth in an age when politicians routinely lie about everything;
but then you get angry about the immensity of the pack of lies that they are
foisting on us, and the immensity of the crimes that they try to hide with
their lies. Recommended.
Untruth, Why the Conventional Wisdom is (Almost Always) Wrong
Robert J. Samuelson
Random House, Inc., New York, 2001.
Dewey: 303.375 S193u 2001
Brave New World Revisited Aldous Huxley
Harper & Rowe, New York, 1958.
Perennial Classics, HarperPerennial, HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.
Dewey: 824 H986br
Letters of Aldous Huxley edited by Grover Smith
Harper & Row, New York, 1970,c1969
Contains a letter where Huxley described Bill Wilson's use of the experimental
hallucinogenic drug leuco-adrenochrome, here:
Channels of Propaganda J. Michael Sproule
EDINFO Press, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47407, 1994.
ISBN: 0-927516-34-9 (cloth)
ISBN: 0-927516-61-6 (paperback)
Dewey: 303.375 S771c
Plagues of the Mind, The New Epidemic of False Knowledge Bruce S. Thornton
ISI Books, Wilmington, Delaware, 1999
Dewey: 001.2 T513p 1999
Official Lies, How Washington Misleads Us James T. Bennett & Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Groom Books, Alexandria, VA, 1992.
Dewey: 351.00819 B471o
Total Propaganda, From Mass Culture to Popular Culture Alex Edelstein
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, Mahwah, New Jersey, London,
ISBN: 0-8058-0891-4 (cloth)
ISBN: 0-8058-0892-2 (paperback)
Dewey: 302.23 E21t
The Hidden Persuaders Vance Packard
David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1957.
Dewey: 659.1 P12
This book is an old classic. It was quite revolutionary in its day.
It particularly exposed how the modern mass media, like TV, were
using sophisticated psychological manipulation of the audience's
minds to sell products. (Gasp! You mean they do that?)
Age of Propaganda, The Everyday Use And Abuse of Persuasion Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson
University of California at Santa Cruz.
W. H. Freeman and Co., New York, 1992.
ISBN: 0-7167-2210-0 (hardcover), ISBN: 0-7167-2211-9 (paperback)
Dewey: 303.375 P912a
This book is especially clear and readable. Recommended.
The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man David W. Maurer
Anchor Books, a Division of Random House, New York, c1940, 1968, 1999.
LC: HV6691.M3 1999
A classic study of con men. Entertaining and informative.
In the Sleep Room Anne Collins
Key Porter Books Limited, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1988, 1997.
Dewey: 616.89'0092 or 616.89 C712i 1997
Quite a blockbuster. Documents immoral and illegal research into
mind control and brainwashing financed by the CIA in Canada
during the 1950s and 1960s:
Behind the doors of the so-called sleep room on Ward 2 South,
Dr. Ewen Cameron, the director of Montreal's Allan Memorial
Institute, exposed dozens of his own patients to barbaric treatments
from which some have never recovered. Operating under the belief
that he could wipe brains clean of "bad" behaviour
and program in new behavior, Cameron kept patients in a chemical
sleep for weeks and months at a time, exposed them to massive amounts
of electro-shock and drugs such as LSD, and forced them to listen
to tape-recorded messages repeated endlessly through headphones.
The book won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction.
Cameron was not alone in his desire to reprogram the human brain.
The U.S. intelligence establishment found in him an eager collaborator,
and funded his work substantially and covertly.
In the Sleep Room, Anne Collins, 1988, 1997,
Acid Dreams: the CIA, LSD, and the sixties rebellion
Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain
Grove Press, 1985.
ISBN: 039462081X (1st Evergreen ed.)
LC: HV5822 .L9L44 1985
Acid Dreams: the complete social history of LSD: the CIA, the sixties,
Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain
Evergreen Press, 1992.
LC: HV5822 .L9L45 1992
This book is fascinating. It tells how the CIA was one of the first
investigators of LSD. They hoped it would make a great truth serum,
or at least a good incapacitating agent — something that would
render enemy soldiers helpless, and give us "war without killing".
They did a lot of experimenting with it, trying it on
everybody from themselves to unaware civilians in San Francisco.
They even gave Ken Kesey his first dose. So bone up on your history,
kiddies. Before there was the Grateful Dead and the Merry Pranksters,
there was the CIA.
Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream Jay Stevens
The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1987.
LC: HV5822.L9S74 1987
A large and complete history, from a fair and balanced viewpoint.
A fascinating stroll down memory lane for some of us.
Racial Hygiene, Medicine Under the Nazis Robert N. Proctor
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., and London, England, 1988.
ISBN: 0-674-74580-9 (alk. paper)
LC: RA418.3.G3P76 1988
A powerful book. Documents the participation of doctors and scientists
in creating the myth of the inferior Jew, and elimination of
"lives not worth living."
The Nazi War on Cancer Robert N. Proctor
Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1999.
LC: RC268.P77 1999
Dewey: 362.196994 P964n
Great stuff. Takes us into the Nazi system of health, which was
far better than most people imagine. Hitler was actually a health nut,
and was the first major world leader to implement a strong program
against tobacco. German medicine under the Nazis was a strange mix
of advanced science and advanced superstition (like rabid anti-Semitism).
Narcissism, Denial of the True Self Alexander Lowen, M.D.
Macmillan Publishing Comany, New York, 1983, and
Collier Macmillan Publishers, London, 1983.
LC: RC553.N36L38 1983
This is a great book, a real classic. Dr. Lowen advances the idea that
narcissism is not falling in love with one's self, but rather with a
false image of one's self. That small subtle difference actually makes
a very large difference. In the original Greek mythology, Narcissus died
— starved to death — because he was obsessed with his own image and
stared at it endlessly.
But as Narcissus approached death, his real emaciated appearance could not have
been very attractive. Narcissus was seeing an illusion, not his true
Dr. Lowen advances the idea that narcissism is often caused
by child abuse and prolonged humiliation and pain in childhood. The child
adopts a persona where he feels no pain and is powerful and invulnerable.
The child thinks, "When I grow up, I'll be so powerful and strong that no
one can hurt me or humiliate me ever again." Then the child, who grows into
adulthood, spends the rest of his life pursuing and defending an illusion.
Narcissists are obsessed with defending and preserving their image — they can't
stand it if somebody "makes them look bad" — they can't stand criticism.
They deny their true feelings and put on a mask of unfeeling, because
they imagine that it will keep them from being hurt again.
Likewise, they completely disregard other people's feelings.
They are obsessed with power and control, so that they can
control the world around them and prevent anyone from humiliating
Narcissists are often extremely seductive and manipulative people, often charismatic
charmers, and occasionally high achievers as well.
They lie habitually, without giving it a second thought.
They fear insanity.
In other words, Dr. Lowen was describing
Bill Wilson, the
abused son of an alcoholic father and a neurotic mother.
Culture of Narcissism; American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectatinos
Warner Books, 1979.
© 1979 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York.
Dr. Ramani Durvasula has a great little video that explains the differences between narcissists,
psychopaths, and sociopaths. It gives you a good idea of what those monsters are like:
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry
Albert J. Bernstein, Ph.D.
McGraw-Hill, New York, 2001.
ISBN: 0-07-135259-7 (hard); ISBN: 0-07-135267-9 (pbk.)
Dewey: 158.2 B531e 2001
This is a wonderful little easy-to-read book on the psychology of exploitative
personalities. It's easy to identify both Frank N. D. Buchman and William G. Wilson
as Narcissistic vampires — "Legends in Their Own Minds" who could not
tolerate the least little bit of criticism, and who felt entitled to take the
best of everything for themselves because they were so special, and who threw
screaming temper tantrums
when the common rabble displeased them.
Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC
New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Oakland, CA, 2003.
Dewey: 158.2 B879L
This book tells you how to cope with being married to an obnoxious narcissist.
The one thing I couldn't see was, "Why bother?" Nina Brown makes narcissists
sound so bad that you really don't want to be married to one. But if you are
some kind of long-suffering masochist who really wants to go through it all,
read this book.
Working with the Self-Absorbed: How to Handle Narcissistic Personalities on the Job Nina W. Brown, Ed.D., LPC, NCC
New Harbinger Publications, Inc., Oakland, CA, 2002.
Dewey: 650.13 B879w
Like the book above, except that this one deals with being trapped in work situations
where a co-worker, or worse, your boss, is a destructive narcissist.
Unless you are financially desperate, go find another job.
Other Alcoholism and Addiction books, plus Miscellaneous
Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass
Grosset & Dunlap, Publishers. Kingsport Press, Inc. Kingsport, Tenn.
Yes, this is the classic. It is, I hear, one of the most-quoted books on
Earth, perhaps second only to the major religions' holy books
like the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita.
DSM-III-R == Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, Third Edition Revised.
Published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. 1987.
ISBN: 0-521-34509-X (casebound); ISBN: 0-521-36755-6 (soft cover).
Dewey: 616.89 D536 1987
DSM-IV == Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. 1994, 1995, 1998.
ISBN: 0-89042-061-0 (casebound); ISBN: 0-89042-062-9 (soft cover).
Dewey: 616.89 D536 1994
DSM-IV-TR == Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
Fourth Edition, Text Revision.
Published by the American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC. 2000.
ISBN: 0-89042-024-6 (casebound); ISBN: 0-89042-025-4 (soft cover).
LC: RC455.2.C4 D536 2000
Dewey: 616.89 D536 2000 or 616.89'075—dc21
See page 323 for delusional disorders.
The Clinical Interview Using DSM-IV
Ekkehard Othmer, M.D., Ph.D. and Sieglinde C. Othmer, Ph.D.
American Psychiatric Press, Inc., 1994.
Dewey: 616.8914 O87c 1994
Principles of Biology Herbert Spencer
Williams and Norgate
14, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London;
20, South Frederick Street, Edinburgh.
Dewey: 570.1 S745
This is quite a classic, good for quotes. It really was published
in 1864, in London, back when the USA was torn apart by civil war.
It is a strong defense of Charles Darwin's new Theory of Evolution.
It's really funny that the fundamentalist religious fanatic
Bill Wilson, who demanded that we
and human intelligence, and just have blind faith in his
grandiose religious proclamations,
would be quoting Herbert Spencer in the Big Book
(page 570 of the 3rd edition).
Addiction is a Choice Jeffrey A. Schaler.
Open Court Publishing Company, 2000. phone: 1-800-815-2280
ISBN: 0-8126-9403-1 hardcover, 0-8126-9404-1 paperback.
Dewey: 362.29 S297a 2000
Quite good. This book makes a good case for the standard ideas
of addiction and the A.A. idea of "powerlessness over alcohol"
being myths. Must reading for anyone wishing to be well-informed in
the alcoholism or addiction fields.
Also see Schaler's web site:
Slaying The Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery
in America William L. White
Chestnut Health Systems/Lighthouse Institute, Bloomington, Illinois 61701, 1998.
LC: HV5279.W48 1998
Dewey: 362.29'18'0973—dc21 or 362.291809 WHI
This book is a mixed product.
The beginning, the history of early alcoholism treatment is excellent.
And the ending chapters, on the various alcoholism treatment programs,
But the chapters on Alcoholics Anonymous (15 to 18) and the
chapters on Hazelden and the "Minnesota Model"
are just reprints of the standard A.A. P.R. handouts.
The strongest criticism of A.A. that the author can
muster is asking whether it will work as well for women and racial minoritites
as it does with white men,
without ever having established that it works on white men.
(That's the propaganda trick of
Assume The Major Premise.)
In fact, he dodges the whole question of the effectiveness of A.A. treatment
by saying that A.A. isn't a treatment program, and A.A. doesn't keep records (page 176).
The author devotes only two pages, 156 and 157, to criticisms of A.A.,
and the author fails to take a single criticism of A.A. seriously. It's
all a white-wash. For example:
2) A.A.'s relative effectiveness has not been scientifically validated.
This is a relatively benign criticism that decries the lack of scientific
study of A.A.'s effectiveness compared to that of other interventions.
Baloney. That is not a minor criticism, it's the whole ball game.
A.A. treatment does not work, period.
It is harmful, ineffective, quack medicine. Period.
There have been several good scientific studies that showed that A.A. is a failure,
even one done by a current Trustee of Alcoholics Anonymous,
Prof. and Dr. George E. Vaillant,
but there has never been one that showed that A.A. worked.
See the web page on
of the Twelve-Step Treatment for more on that.
Stanton Peele, and
criticized A.A. for being unsuccessful, the author "refuted"
their statements by quoting
one of Bill Wilson's
most blatantly dishonest grandiose lies
from the Big Book as if it were a fact (page 156):
Of alcoholics who came to A.A. and
50% got sober at once
and remained that way; 25% sobered up after some relapses, and among the
remainder, those who stayed on with A.A. showed improvement.
Still, this book is required reading for the serious student of alcoholism and its treatment.
Confrontation in Addiction Treatment William L. White
And analysis of the brutal confrontational methods of "treatment" of alcohol and drug abuse problems
that were started by Bill Wilson's psychiatrist, Dr. Harry Tiebout.
Drug-Impaired Professionals Robert Holman Coombs
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. & London, England, 1997.
ISBN: 0-674-21673-3 (alk. paper)
LC: RC564.5.P76C66 1997
Dewey: 362.29'086'22—dc21 or 362.29 C775d 1997
A dead give-away of this book's attitude is that fact that it quotes
Dr. G. Douglas Talbott
as an authority on drug- or alcohol-impaired professionals,
but never bothers to mention the fact that
Talbott had a long history of
torturing his patient-prisoners into committing
suicide at his Atlanta, Georgia treatment facility.
After this book was published, Talbott lost a $1.3 million
lawsuit because of such extreme malpractice, fraud, and false imprisonment.
But this book does not have a single paragraph criticizing
abuse of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) by employers or program administrators.
This author seems to be unaware that it has ever happened, or could ever happen.
Rebecca Fransway's book AA Horror Stories
for more information on that.)
The author promotes the idea of addictions being a disease without even
questioning the dogma:
"Addiction is a disease, and we treat it like any other medical illness.
If you come to me and say, 'I have the illness of addiction and need treatment,'
we'll give you a leave of absence just as if you had a broken leg and needed to
be in traction for a while. But if you keep it a secret and endanger your health
and the lives of your patients, you're out on your ass!"
(And how did you get that broken leg?
"Well, I was just joy-popping leg-breaker pills at parties, only
on weekends, you know...")
Much of this book is just a carbon copy of the standard A.A. religious dogma:
A.A. members agree that while
it is not necessary to believe in a personal
God, it is important for alcoholics to realize that they themselves are not God!
That is, they are not the center of the universe, nor are they running the show.
(Page 217. Italics in original.)
This book also uncritically promotes the idea that
A.A. and spiritual experiences will somehow
magically solve all alcohol or drug problems.
Steven Hyman, directory of Harvard University's Mind, Brain, Behavior Initiative,
explains that "addiction is a form of adaptation" (Delbanco and
Delbanco 1995, p.61). ... He adds, "I suspect that if I could compare
scans of the brain of an alcoholic person before and after treatment in a
twelve-step program, you would see clear changes."
"He suspects that the 12 steps do something to the brain..."
That is the level of "scientific proof" of the efficacy of 12-Step
treatment programs that this book provides.
And yet the author enthusiastically endorses the idea of shoving
any and all drinking or doping professionals
into EAPs that practice the 12-Step cult religion.
American Drinking Practices Don Cahalan, Ira H. Cisin and Helen M. Crossley
Publications Division, Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1969.
LC: HV5292.C3 1969
Problem Drinkers Don Cahalan
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1970.
Dewey: 178 C132p
Understanding America's Drinking Problem Don Cahalan
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco and London, 1988.
LC: HV5292.C337 1987
An Ounce Of Prevention: Strategies for Solving Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Problems
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco and Oxford, 1991.
LC: RC565.C27 1991
Factual and accurate information about addiction prevention programs and
Scholarly, well-researched, and realistic.
Unfortunately, there isn't much evidence that the programs actually work.
It's like this:
And as to whether treatment really works, the overseeing committee
expresses a qualified "yes", but emphasizes that some improve
without treatment and that some treatment can be harmful.
The author also includes a chapter on "Have We Lost The War On Drugs?",
which summarizes many reports, most all of which end on a note like:
"...with no apparent improvement in stemming the drug trade."
Selling Serenity: Life Among the Recovery Stars
Upton Books, a division of Sirs Mandarin, Inc., Boca Raton, FL, 1999.
LC: HV5279 .M43 1999
Dewey: 362.292'0973—dc21 or 362.292 MEACHAM 1999
This book is a blockbuster. It is must reading for anyone in the
alcoholism or addictions treatment or rehabilitation field.
It details a lot of the selling of the standard recovery myths,
like selling the idea of codependency and turning its treatment
into an industry, and "recovering" false memories,
and "reparenting", and more.
He describes "Codependency" as invent a non-existent disease, and then
charge a fortune to treat it.
And one chapter title is priceless: The Metastasizing of Metaphor.
Andrew Meacham's take on
Grandchildren of Alcoholics.
Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps
Charlotte Davis Kasl, Ph.D.
Harper Perennial, A Division of HarperCollins Publishers Inc.,
New York, 1992.
ISBN: 0-06-055263-8 and ISBN: 0-06-096518-5 (pbk.)
LC: RC533 .K365 1992
Dewey: 616.86'06—dc20 or 616.8606 K19m
This book is excellent. It definitely ends up in the Top 10 List of books
that you must read if you are thinking about quitting (or perhaps if
a loved one is trying to quit, or needs to quit).
She covers addiction and alcoholism from a lot of different viewpoints,
including the need for improved nutrition and getting off of other
addictions like nicotine, caffeine, or TV.
She is about the only one who addresses the issue of the narcissism
inherent in A.A., which it got from
the champion narcissist, Bill Wilson.
(Pages 153-154.) She is also the only one to talk about Candida
Albicans, a potentially-devastating yeast infection, in connection
with alcoholism. Something that A.A. all too often fails to consider
is that people kill their pain with alcohol because they are sick and
in pain, not because they are sinful.
Ms. Kasl has the brains to realize this.
She also covers recovery from the woman's viewpoint better than
anybody else I've seen. This book is simply Must reading for
women alcoholics and addicts.
She also has a good take on the inherently-patriarchal attitudes of
A.A., and the fallacies of codependency.
An example of her perceptiveness:
As a counselor and therapist who has had to repair a lot of
refugees from A.A. and 12-Step programs, she has a lot
to say about things like
"How to violate other people's boundaries with:"
(Pages 218-222 and 239-240.)
(Tell somebody whose mother just died: "God never
gives you more than you can handle. Don't feel sorry for yourself.
Get outside of yourself. Stuff your feelings.
Don't dredge up the past. Take responsibility. Get off the pity pot.
Let Go and Let God.")
- Giving unsolicited advice.
- Hugging members of the group without permission.
- Assuming friendship on the part of another member.
- Not accepting a member's saying "no" to phone calls,
socializing, and so on.
- Trying to get a new member to talk.
- Flirting with a group member.
- Seducing a group member.
- Telling sexist or racist jokes.
- Bringing sex into the conversation.
- Coming to group with the intent of finding a date rather than
a sincere interest in personal growth.
- Disclosing lots of personal information without taking time to
create a friendship or find out if the person wants to listen to you.
Her list of the characteristics of unhealthy groups is:
- The group discourages or blocks outside involvement.
- The group limits or discourages access to reading material or
other forms of personal growth.
- Expression of dissension is punished, squelched, or strongly
- The group becomes grandiose in its self-definition — "Ours
is the one way, the road to salvation."
- People get locked into stereotyped roles.
- The group becomes paranoid about outsiders or those who
question the norm.
- People talk like robots.
- In-group jargon predominates in conversations.
- The group exerts pressure on people to stay.
- People use the group for sexual needs.
- The group is unable to reflect on itself, its history, and
its values from a broad perspective.
Sober for Good: New Solutions for Drinking Problems — Advice from Those
Who Have Succeeded Anne M. Fletcher, MS., RD.
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2001.
The authoress interviewed 222 "masters" who had remained sober for
10 years or more, and learned from them.
Almost 100 of them quit while attending A.A. meetings, but the others attended
less-known groups like Women for Sobriety (WFS), SMART Recovery (Self Management
and Recovery Training Recovery), and Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS),
or simply did it alone, with no support group.
The Small Book Jack Trimpey
Dell Publishing, 1992
Dewey: 362.2918 T831s
This was one of the original calls to war against the Evil Empire
of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Note that Jack Trimpey has declared this book obsolete, and says
that you should just read the next one, "Rational Recovery."
The funny thing is, I don't find it to be obsolete.
Trimpey borrowed some techniques from Doctors Maultsby and
Ellis like the ABCs of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and
did a good job of explaining them.
Trimpey did a good job of collecting a variety of
tools for quitting drinking and staying quit and working
them together into a fair toolkit.
This book does what A.A. only claims to do —
the tools you will need to maintain sobriety".
Rational Recovery Jack Trimpey
Pocket Books, 1996
Dewey: 362.2918 T831r
This is Trimpey's second book about quitting drinking
using rational techniques. He changed his mind about a
lot of things and decided that you only need one technique
to defeat cravings — the ability to recognize and dispute
the Addictive Voice as it cajoles, wheedles, and seduces
you into having "just one".
This book is worth reading just for the chapter in the back
that describes a counselling session where Trimpey exposes
the addiction monster that tries to con us into drinking or
using again (really, the
The Thinking Person's Guide to Sobriety Bert Pluymen
St. Martin's Press, New York, 1999.
LC: HV5276.P58 1999
Dewey: 362.2928 P738t 1999
Coming Clean; Overcoming Addiction Without Treatment
Robert Granfield and William Cloud
New York University Press, New York and London, 1999
ISBN: 0-8147-1581-8 (cloth: alk. paper), ISBN: 0-8147-1582-6 (pbk.: alk. paper)
LC: HV4998.G73 1999
Dewey: 616.8606—dc21 or 616.8606 G756c 1999
An excellent book that tells it straight. Dispenses with the myths about recovery,
the disease theory, and the slogans about "Nobody can do it alone", and describes
how a lot of people do in fact recover from addictions on their own, without treatment.
This book makes the top ten list.
Recovery From Addiction; A Practical Guide to Treatment, Self-Help, and Quitting
on Your Own William Cloud and Robert Granfield
New York University Press, New York and London, 2001.
ISBN: 0-8147-1607-5 (alk. paper); 0-8147-1608-3 (pbk.: alk. paper)
LC: HV4998.C56 2001
Dewey: 362.2918-dc21 or 362.2918 C647r 2001
More good stuff from Granfield and Cloud.
Recovery Options; The Complete Guide; How You and Your Loved Ones Can Understand
and Treat Alcohol and Other Drug Problems
Joseph Volpicelli, M.D.,Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of
Pennsylvania, and Maia Szalavitz
John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, 2000.
LC: RC565.V63 2000
Dewey: 616.861 V932r 2000 or 616.861—dc21
Excellent, really covers the subject well. Actually, I knew it would be good when I
saw that Maia Szalavitz was the co-author. I had not encountered Dr. Volpicelli before,
but have enjoyed reading Maia's messages in newsgroup debates for years, and long ago
came to the conclusion that she is one of those delightful people who
has her head screwed on straight, and is intelligent, too, and knows what she is
This book does not disappoint. Strongly recommended for those who are struggling to
break out of addictions.
Help At Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids
Riverhead Books, New York, 2006.
LC: HV1431.S97 2006
A great book. Takes up the thread of the web page
Children's Gulags: Child Abuse for Fun and Profit
and takes it much further. Includes "boots-on-the-ground"
interviews with principle characters in the
criminal enterprise called "tough love".
This is absolutely must reading for anyone thinking of sending a
child to a so-called "tough love" boot camp or "character-building"
"disciplinary" "wilderness trek".
Your child might die there. Many already have.
And the harm done often far outweighs any benefits. The liabilities of such programs
include children who are scarred for life
and spend many years — occasionally the rest of their lives —
trying to overcome post-traumatic stress disorder.
And many children who did not use drugs before being tortured by such a program did afterwards.
The Natural History of Alcoholism: Causes, Patterns, and Paths to
Recovery George Vaillant
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1983.
LC: RC565 .V33 1983
In this book, Vaillant described his eight-year-long study of
the use of A.A. as treatment for alcoholism, which showed that
A.A. didn't work at all. Nevertheless, Vaillant is still a
member of the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World
Services, Inc., and still wants to send all alcoholics to
A.A. to confess their sins. Read excerpts and a discussion of
The Natural History of Alcoholism Revisited
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, and London, England, 1995.
ISBN: 0-674-60377-X (cloth); ISBN: 0-674-60378-8 (paperback).
Dewey: 616.861 V131n 1995
This book reprints
most all of the information
that was present in
Vaillant's previous book, so if you can't get your hands on
the first book, this one will do.
It turns out that Google books has this book online at:
Heavy Drinking: The Myth of Alcoholism as a Disease
University of California Press, Berkely, Los Angeles, London, 1988.
ISBN: 0-520-06290-6, 0-520-06754-1 (alk. paper)
LC: HV5292.F56 1988
A block-buster book that dismissed the disease theory of
alcoholism as a myth.
It also examines "treatment" for that non-existent disease,
and finds it to be an ineffective fraud.
Herbert Fingarette is a distinguished
professor at the University of California, and has been a
consultant on alcoholism and addiction to the World Health
Organization and a Fellow of the Stanford Center for Advanced
Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.
Controlling Your Drinking: Tools to Make Moderation Work for You
William R. Miller and Ricardo F. Muñoz, PhD
Prof. William R. Miller, of the Center for Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Addictions, Dept. of Psychology,
University of New Mexico, could have written a scholarly tome on alcohol abuse
(and in fact, he has written several), but this book is non-technical and is aimed at the layman.
That is, it is written in simple, clear, easily-understood language and is intended
for someone with a problem controlling his drinking.
It is very systematic and complete, and loaded with good advice and working techniques,
and should be helpful to anyone who is drinking too much, no matter whether
he ends up choosing moderation or complete abstinence.
This book will do what A.A. falsely claims to do: Give you the tools you need to stop
(or moderate) drinking.
This book includes:
- Keeping track
- Taking charge
- Slowing down
- Discovering your triggers
- Visual techniques for relaxing
- Managing anxiety and fear
- Coping with negative moods and depression
- Managing a positive self-concept
- When abstinence seems like the best choice for you
Relapse Prevention: Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment
of Addictive Behaviors
Edited by G. Alan Marlatt and Judith R. Gordon
The Guilford Press, New York and London, 1985.
LC: RC564.R45 1985
Great stuff. A huge amount of true information about alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction,
and relapse prevention. Rather scholarly and heavy going;
written for professional therapists and counselors rather
than for the average alcoholic.
Recommended. Chapters are:
G. Alan Marlatt wrote the first five chapters, and a variety
of other authorities and experts wrote the following four.
The authors are quite specific in their descriptions of
tools and techniques that work to help people avoid relapsing,
and that is the greatest value of this book (to me, at least).
- Part 1. Relapse Prevention: General Overview
- Chapter 1. Relapse Prevention: Theoretical and Overview of the Model
- Chapter 2. Situational Determinants of Relapse and Skill-Training
- Chapter 3. Cognitive Factors in the Relapse Process
- Chapter 4. Cognitive Assessment and Intervention Procedures
for Relapse Prevention.
- Chapter 5. Lifestyle Modification
- Part 2. Applications with Specific Addictive Behaviors
- Chapter 6. Alcoholic Relapse Prevention and Intervention:
Models and Methods
- Chapter 7. The Problem Drinker's Project: A Programmatic
Application of Social-Learning-Based Treatment
- Chapter 8. Preventing Relapse in Ex-Smokers: A Self-Management
Alternatives For The Problem Drinker; A.A. is not the only way
Ariel Winters; preface by William R. Miller, Ph.D., Dept. of Psychology
at U. of New Mexico
Drake Publishers Inc., New York and London, 1978.
LC: RC565.W57 1978
A lot of good, true, information, including information on
controlled drinking as opposed to absolute abstinence.
Includes chapters on:
Like Charlotte Kasl, the authoress of this book is a woman
who has some special insights into the problem of women
and alcohol abuse. Hence this book is especially recommended
for women, but its usefulness is not restricted to just
- The Rand Report and the Alcohol War
- Alcoholics Anonymous: Pros and Cons
- Treatment Centers: The Old and the New
- On Psychological Dependence
- Is There An Alcoholic Personality?
- On Physiological Craving
- Alcohol and Drugs: Special Dangers
- The Nutritional Approach
- Women and Alcohol: Special Problems
- Teens and Alcohol: New Trends
- Behavior Modification
- Techniques for Solitary Self-Help
- Self-Help Groups and Inter-Group Dynamics
- On Mastering a Drinking Problem
Strong Drink; The Curse And the Cure T. S. Arthur
Hubbard Brothers, Philadelpha, Cincinnati, Chicago and Springfield, Mass. 1877.
N.D. Thompson & Co., St. Louis Mo.: A. L. Bancroft & Co., San Francisco, Cal.
A really old book about alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction.
The first half of the book describes the societal problem of alcohol abuse.
The second half describes the solution: go to church and pray and have faith.
Still, a fascinating piece of history, and there is more to it than just a simplistic
"go to church" answer. This author tried hard to explore all of the medical and spiritual facets
of the problem of alcohol abuse. It also described the Women's Christian Temperance Union
and "sobriety clubs".
The resemblance of the sobriety clubs to A.A. groups is striking:
FORMATION OF CLUBS
The method pursued by Dr. Reynolds in the formation of these clubs is very simple. There is a constitution
with by-laws, to which the following pledge is prefixed: "Having seen and felt the evils of intemperance,
therefore, Resolved, That we, the undersigned, for our own good and the good of the world in which we live,
do hereby promise and engage, with the help of Almighty God, to abstain from buying, selling, or using
alcoholic or malt beverages, wine and cider included." Article III, of the constitution gives the qualification
for membership: "All male persons of the age of eighteen or upwards, who have been in the habit of using
intoxicating liquor to a greater or lesser extent, are eligible to membership in this club."
After organizing a club of persons who have been addicted to drink, Dr. Reynolds appeals to the Christian
women of the locality to throw around them the shield of their care and sympathy, and urges upon the
people at large the necessity of upholding and encouraging them in every possible way.
The meetings of the clubs are held at least once during the week, in the evenings; and
on Sunday afternoons or evenings, the clubs, with the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, hold public
religious temperance meetings, which are often crowded to overflowing. The order of exercises at these
public meetings consist of prayer, reading of Scripture and brief addresses by reformed men, interspersed
with the singing of such hymns as "Rock of Ages," "Hold the Fort," "I Need Thee Every Hour," etc.
Brief addresses are the rule, and a hymn is usually sung between each address.
Strong Drink; The Curse And the Cure, by T. S. Arthur, pages 609-610.
This book shows that Bill Wilson had nothing original
when he copied the theology and meetings of the Oxford Group as a "solution to alcoholism".
T. S. Arthur had already described the whole A.A. "program" in 1877, even including the women's auxiliary Al-Anon,
and the fact that membership was open to all who wished to quit drinking, and one or two
meetings per week, and God will help you to quit drinking.
Bill Wilson liked to describe Alcoholics Anonymous as
"probably one of the greatest medical and spiritual developments of all time",
"the miracle of the century",
but he didn't bother to mention the fact that his "program" was really created
by other people in the previous century.
PROFESSIONAL and ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS RELATIONS IN OREGON;
An Exploratory Study Report, No. 1, 1965,
Milton A. Maxwell, Ph. D.
Mental Health Division, Oregon State Board of Control, Alcohol Studies and Rehabilitation Section
A very small (20 page) report on Alcoholics Anonymous in Oregon in 1965,
and its relations with alcoholism treatment professionals. He observed many
of the failings of A.A. that are commonplace today, like resistance to taking
medications even when needed, territorial jealousy, stubbornly clinging to
outmoded and dogmatic ideas of alcoholism, and refusal to study treatment failures
and revise the A.A. program.
Dr. Maxwell hoped that those things would be changed and that A.A. would
grow into a valuable ally for the professionals. Alas, none of that came to be.
(Note: Dr. Milton A. Maxwell eventually became a member of the Board of Trustees
of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc..)
The Alcoholics Anonymous Experience: A Close-Up View For Professionals
Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D.
McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York, 1984.
LC: HV5287.A48M39 1984
The sociologist Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., studied A.A. for a summer, and got
converted into a true believer in the cult. He says in the introduction that he got
changed by A.A. in the course of studying it, and this book shows it.
This book is pretty much a definitive manual of A.A. cult dogma.
Maxwell even does the sober/dry tap-dance:
If you quit drinking but don't
go to A.A. meetings, then you aren't really sober, you are only dry.
But soon, you are only "dry", with quotation marks around it;
you don't even rate the word dry. (Pages 42-43 and 116-128.)
Then, after imbuing the word sobriety with all kinds of special meanings,
Maxwell has a chapter titled "More Than Sobriety", where
he tells us that:
Non-A.A. observers who attend only open speaker meetings can easily obtain
an incomplete and even distorted view of A.A. because of the rather heavy
emphasis upon the not-drinking meaning of sobriety.
Heaven Forbid! We don't want the visitors to think that sobriety means
"not drinking alcohol".
Maxwell went on to become a member of the Board of Trustees of
Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc..
Society, Culture, and Drinking Patterns David J. Pittman and Charles R. Snyder,
John Wiley & Sons, New York and London, 1962.
Chapter 33 is Alcoholics Anonymous, an interpretation, by the
sociologist Milton A. Maxwell, Ph.D., who went on to become a member of
the Board of Trustees of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc..
Correlates of Past-Year Status Among Treated and Untreated
Persons with Former Alcohol Dependence: United States, 1992,
Deborah A. Dawson.
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, Vol. 20, No. 4,
June 1996, p. 773.
Relapse Prevention with Substance Abusers: Clinical Issues and Myths,
Social Work, March-April 1987, page 140.
Outpatient Treatment of Alcoholism; A Review and Comparative Study,
Jeffrey Brandsma, Ph.D., Maxie Maultsby, Jr., M.D., and
Richard J. Welsh, M.S.W.
University Park Press, Baltimore, MD., 1980.
One of the most important
studies of the treatment of alcoholism, by highly
qualified people — a randomized longitudinal controlled study.
This book is must reading for the serious student of
A Controlled Experiment on the Use of Court Probation for Drunk Arrests,
Keith S. Ditman, M.D., George C. Crawford, LL.B.,
Edward W. Forgy, Ph.D., Herbert Moskowitz, Ph.D.,
and Craig MacAndrew, Ph.D.
American Journal of Psychiatry, August 1967, 124:160-163.
This is one of the most important studies of the treatment of alcoholism —
a randomized longitudinal controlled study.
The authors found that alcoholics sentenced to A.A. by courts were rearrested
for public drunkenness more often than those who got no A.A. treatment
or training at all. The A.A. "treatment" had a reverse
Outpatient Treatment of Alcoholism; A Study of Outcome and Its Determinants,
Donald L. Gerard, M.D., and Gerhart Saenger, Ph.D.
Brookside Monograph No. 4
Published for the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario,
by the University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada, 1966.
Reprinted 1969 in the USA.
SBN: 8020 3153 6
A quote from the same authors here.
Alcoholism : a comparison of treatment and advice, with a study of
the influence of marriage Jim Orford and Griffith Edwards
Oxford University Press, Oxford Eng. and New York, 1977.
This is one of the most important studies of the treatment of alcoholism — a randomized longitudinal controlled study.
It was the largest and most expensive test of A.A. treatment ever done, and it found that
a year of A.A., even accompanied by giving patients full access to all of the
facilities of the hospital, yielded results no better than having a doctor
talk to the patients for just one hour, telling them to quit drinking.
Dr. Diana C. Walsh's study,
Deborah A. Dawson's study, and
Dr. George E. Vaillant's book, for three other
valid studies of the effectiveness of A.A. treatment of alcoholism.
Alcoholism and Treatment, Rand Corporation Report R-1739-NIAAA
Dr. J. Michael Polich,
Dr. David J. Armor, Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.
Prepared for the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, June 1976.
Also published by John Wiley & Sons, 1978.
LC: AS36.R3 R-1739
This is the blockbuster study that showed that many alcoholics
recover from self-destructive drinking by tapering off to moderate,
controlled, drinking. This study created a firestorm of controversy.
The A.A. empire pulled out all of its big guns to fight this news.
Even Ann Landers denounced the study.
The Course of Alcoholism: Four Years Later,
Rand Corporation Report R-2433-NIAAA Dr. J. Michael Polich,
Dr. David J. Armor, Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.
Prepared for the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Jan 1980.
LC: AS36.R3 R-2433
This is the sequel to R-1739-NIAAA. The first study was done at
18 months after treatment; this follow-up study was done on the same alcoholics,
4 years after treatment.
Alcohol How to Give It Up and Be Glad You Did
Philip Tate, 1997.
See Sharp Press, PO Box 1731, Tucson AZ 85702-1731
Dewey: 362.2928 T217a 1997
This is mostly about REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy).
When AA Doesn't Work for You, Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol
Albert Ellis, Ph.D., and Emmett Velten, Ph.D.
Barricade Books, Inc., New York, NY, 1992.
Dewey: 362.2928 E47w
This is a lot of good sensible advice. Dr. Ellis is the creator of
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), which is the foundation of SMART
(Self Management and Recovery Training). — And he's also the founder
of SMART. If you are looking for some realistic, rational, non-superstitious,
common-sense, help in quitting drinking, definitely read this book.
It includes chapters on:
- "But therapy doesn't work!"
- How to stop self-defeating BS (stinking thinking).
- How to change your stinking thinking.
- Integrating rational ideas into your self-help work.
- Other cognitive or thinking techniques of RET.
- How to get in touch with your feelings.
- Relapse prevention.
- and more...
More on REBT:
firstname.lastname@example.org == Albert Ellis
The SMART web site:
The Essential Albert Ellis
Windy Dryden, Ph.D., Editor.
Springer Publishing Company, New York, 1990.
Dewey: 616.8914 E47e
More on Albert Ellis.
Rational Behavior Therapy Maxie C. Maultsby, Jr., M.D.
Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey 07632, 1984.
ISBN: 0-13-752915-5 (hardcover); ISBN: 0-17-752907-4 (paperback)
This book is the work of one of the founders of the school of Rational Behavior
Therapy. Basically, Maultsby and Ellis started it all.
There is a lot of helpful advice for understanding your own mind and
straightening out your thinking.
How Alcoholics Anonymous Failed Me
Eagle Brook, an Imprint of William Morrow and Company, Inc.,
New York, 1998.
LC: HV5293.G55A3 1998
Dewey: 362.29286'092—dc21 or 362.2928 G481h 1998
In spite of its negative title, this is actually a very positive book.
This is one of the best-looking 'alternatives to
A.A.' kind of books that I've seen (from my biased viewpoint, of course).
It definitely contains a very strong
flavor of spirituality, but without the cult religion aspect.
This is a good 'something' for those who try to take the middle road,
for those who try to be spiritual but sensible,
for those who want something other than either atheism or blind
faith in cult religion.
...the Love that binds the Universe together gently encourages me to
go even where there is intolerance, hatred, and anger. For Love wisely
knows that to go there in peace and acceptance will literally
transform these negative traits into Love itself.
Bill Wilson had a bad habit of
accusing everyone who didn't buy his
peculiar Buchmanite religious beliefs of being an atheist.
This book is a good answer to that.
There can only be duality of good and evil, right and wrong, love and
fear at the lower levels of awareness. For at the highest levels,
there is only Love. Love sends itself out and returns to itself.
All the world is a journey in which love seeks to go where it is not
and heal itself. We can each do this individually with our own lives
and our own physical bodies. To go where love is not, fully supported
by the Universe, we heal.
It also contains chapters on Food and Cigarettes, Fear and Dependency,
The Nature of Addiction, The Role of Ritual, Pleasure and Guilt,
Finding My Inner God, and much more.
If you are looking for an alternative to the A.A. philosophy, then
definitely check this book out.
Personal Habit Control Peter M. Miller, Ph.D.
Simon and Schuster, New York, 1978.
This book is just what it sounds like: how to control, change, or break
personal habits. Obviously, it has a lot to do with quitting drinking, smoking,
or drugging. There is some good advice in here.
Alcoholism, Current Controversies
James D. Torr, Book Editor
Greenhaven Press, San Diego, CA. 2000
ISBN: 0-7377-0139-0 (hardcover); ISBN: 0-7377-0138-2 (paperback).
Dewey: 362.292 A356 2000
Alcoholism: Its Scope, Cause, and Treatment
Ruth Fox, M.D., and Peter Lyon
Random House, New York, 1955.
Dewey: 613.81 F83
Hopelessly obsolete and simplistic. On pages 158 and 159 they consider it
big news that addicted alcoholics can suffer from withdrawal symptoms. And
on page 97 they consider Alcoholics Anonymous to be The Answer.
They describe a man who joined A.A. and started doing The Steps
This phase is anticipatory. The Twelve Steps constitute the cardinal
programmatic aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous, than which, for
alcoholics, there is no better therapeutic approach. The role of this
lay organization, which has done so much to show doctors how
alcoholics can be recovered, will be discussed later in this book.
Note that Ruth Fox was the founder of ASAM — The American Society of Addiction
Medicine — another A.A. front that exists to promote Alcoholics Anonymous and
its 12-Step program to doctors.
One of the most revealing details about Dr. Ruth Fox's program comes from
William L. White in his book Slaying the Dragon, where he quotes
Ruth Fox as writing that
she felt that LSD was useful
because it made patients
more willing to "take disulfiram, attend group therapy, and to
affiliate with A.A.". (Ruth Fox, Alcoholism, Behavioral Research,
Therapeutic Approaches, 1967, page 775, quoted on page 229 of
Slaying the Dragon.) So Ruth Fox felt that LSD was good because it
helped to brainwash the patients and make them do what she wanted?
Alcoholism: Behavioral Research, Therapeutic Approaches
edited by Ruth Fox, M.D., foreword by 'Mrs.' Marty Mann
Springer Publishing Company, Inc., New York, 1967.
Dewey: 616.861 F833
Contains some classic papers, including Dr. Keith S. Ditman, The Use of LSD
in the Treatment of the Alcoholic and
Dr. Ruth Fox, Disulfiram (Antabuse) as an Adjunct in the Treatment of
Dr. Fox described how she gave her patients disulfiram and then alcohol, to
deliberately make them sick, in an attempt to build up an aversion to alcohol.
Even after she discovered that the aversion therapy didn't work, and even
after one patient nearly died from an almost fatal reaction to a single ounce
of alcohol (p. 244), she still insisted on giving each patient
at least one session of being sick from the disulfiram/alcohol combination,
before she released them from the hospital.
The Disease Concept of Alcoholism E. M. Jellinek
College and University Press, New Haven, Conn., in association with
Hillhouse Press, New Brunswick, NJ, 1960.
This is the original book that was so influential in promoting the disease
concept of alcoholism. Unfortunately, what is almost never mentioned is that
Jellinek's major source of data for his theory was about 90 questionaires that
had been answered by true-believer Alcoholics Anonymous members.
Even Jellinek himself warned against overgeneralizing the results, but the
believers did it anyway, and ever since, they have been claiming that the disease
concept of alcoholism is a proven fact. Jellinek even added a lot of qualifiers
and reserve clauses to his findings, which the boosters of the disease theory
have somehow ignored for 40 years:
Mardones points out that in animal experimentation an "overpowering desire"
in the above sense has not been demonstrated and that the increased voluntary
alcohol intake by animals cannot be equated with craving.
The fact remains that the majority of French alcohol addicts do not display
pre-alcoholic neurotic or other gross psychological vulnerabilities, but rather
minor psychological vulnerabilities.
The terms tolerance and intolerance to alcohol have been used indiscriminately
to designate a variety of phenomena, among them the loss of control.
Addictive Behaviors; Readings on Etiology, Prevention, and Treatment
Edited by G. Alan Marlatt and Gary R. VandenBos
American Psychological Association, Washington DC, 1997.
LC: RC564.A315 1997
A large volume that covers a wide array of subjects with many, many contributors.
Very professional and technical. It appears that almost every contributor is either
a doctor or has a Ph.D. in something.
The Real 13th Step Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D.
New Page Books, A division of The Career Press, Inc.,
Franklin Lakes, NJ, 2001.
Dewey: 362.2918 T341r 2001
"Discovering Confidence, Self-reliance, and Independence
Beyond the Twelve-Step Programs"
Seven Sinners Arthur King (pseudonym)
Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc., New York, 1961.
This is a strange book. A psychotherapist describes in detail seven
hard-core alcoholic patients, and in general terms his 30 such alcoholic patients.
He makes some strange and contradictory statements. Sometimes he borrows from
Alcoholics Anonymous, which he first praises and then disagrees with, like
citing the "powerless over alcohol" doctrine and describing how all of his patients
simply relapsed repeatedly, and then explaining how he cured all 30 of his patients
by educating them in religion, philosophy, and history. So they weren't
powerless. Yes, he used a religious or philosophical cure,
which he also called "Educative Counseling",
by assigning religious, philosophical, and historical readings to his patients, and he
insists that it worked as a cure for all 30 of his patients. But the one phrase that the author
never mentioned was "spontaneous remission". He showed no awareness of its existence.
The Truth About Addiction and Recovery; The Life Process Program
for Outgrowing Destructive Habits Stanton Peele, Ph.D.
and Archie Brodsky with Mary Arnold
Simon and Schuster, New York, 1991.
Dewey: 616.8522 P374t or 616.85227 P44 1991
LC: RC533.P33 1991
Stanton Peele was one of the pioneers in exposing the disease theory
of alcoholism as a cult myth.
Another voice of sanity in the vast wasteland.
Includes: Addiction is not a disease — Skills for Taking Control of
Your Life — Changing Communities, Changing Lives.
- Why It Doesn't Make Sense to Call Addiction a "Disease".
- Are People Born Alcoholics?
- Which Is the Most Addictive Drug of All?
- Smoking: The Toughest Habit to Lick?
- Obesity: Are People Biologically Programmed to Be Fat?
- Addictions to Gambling, Shopping, and Exercise:
How We Evade Moral Responsibility
- Love, Sex, and Codependence: Overcoming Trauma
- The Life Process Program
- Quitting as Life Process
- Are You an Addict? Assessing Addiction in the Life Process Program
- Assessing Your Values: Knowing What Is Important to You
- Accessing Your Resources: What Do You have That You Can Count On?
- I'm Not the Person I Want To Be: How People Carry Out Plans to Change
- Changing the Behavior: That Obscure Object of Desire
- Life Skills: If You Don't Have Them, Get Them
- Integrating Change Into Your Life: Groups and Your Social World
- Kids Have To Be Made Into Addicts: You Can Prevent Addiction
- Where the Solutions Lie: Re-establishing Communal Ties
- A Road Map: Where We've Been and Where You Need to Go
Diseasing of America Stanton Peele, Ph.D.
Lexington Books, D.C. Heath and Company, Lexington, Massachusetts & Toronto, 1989.
LC: RC564.P43 1989
Very good. Puts forward the idea that addiction is not a disease, and neither are many
of the other things that are being called mental illnesses these days. The "treatment
industry" is essentially a racket that practices quack medicine.
Love and Addiction Stanton Peele with Archie Brodsky
Taplinger Publishing Company, New York, 1975.
LC: HM132.P38 1975
Puts forward the idea that what is called addiction is essentially just a normal
part of a lot of people's lives, just as commonplace as dependent "love".
Resisting 12-Twelve Step Coercion: How to Fight Forced Participitation in AA, NA, or 12-Step Treatment
Stanton Peele and Charles Bufe with Archie Brodsky
See Sharp Press, Tucson, AZ, 2000.
More truth from the See Sharp Press — how to resist being coerced into the 12-Step cult.
This book is now available for free download at:
SOS Sobriety, The Proven Alternative to 12-Step Programs
Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY, 1992.
Dewey: 362.2928 C556s
This book is about
Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug
addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual content of widely
available 12-Step programs. SOS takes a reasonable, secular approach
to recovery and maintains that sobriety is a separate issue from
religion or spirituality. SOS credits the individual for achieving and
maintaining his or her own sobriety, without reliance on any "Higher
Power." SOS respects recovery in any form regardless of the path by
which it is achieved. It is not opposed to or in competition with any
other recovery programs.
Especially check out the interview with Kenneth Blum, titled
"The Fickle Gene". Blum discovered
one of the genes
that appears to contribute to alcohol abuse, and perhaps also a
tendency towards drug addiction.
The SOS web site is:
Moderate Drinking; The Moderation Management Guide
Crown Trade Paperbacks, New York, 1994.
Dewey: 613.81 K617m
This is the one. That is, this is the book that is at the heart of a large
controversy. Audrey Kishline ended up giving up on her own program,
and rejoined Alcoholics Anonymous. Three months later, she relapsed
while extremely drunk, and caused an auto accident and killed two
innocent people. Then she did some years of hard time in prison.
Some people like to blame A.A. for the crash; some like to blame
M.M... It seems to me that neither accusation is really fair —
Kishline obviously had her own baggage that she carried with her.
Such misfortune neither proves nor disproves the idea of controlled
drinking or moderation management. My personal attitude is, "If
it works for you, okay." But it doesn't work for many, including
me. That is, I cannot even have one beer or I will become readdicted.
There is just something funny about my brain or biochemistry or
psychology, or something...
I know, because I did that experiment for too many years, and
learned the answer beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, for me, total abstinence is the only thing that has ever worked.
Still, I know of a few "alcoholics" who are managing
to walk that dangerous tight-rope, but only a very small few.
Your mileage may vary. Let the buyer beware, etc...
The Benefits of Moderate Drinking; Alcohol, Health, and Society
Wine Appreciation Guild, San Francisco, 1988.
ISBN: 0-932664-61-X (hard); 0-932664-1 (pbk.)
Dewey: 613.8'1—dc19 or 613.81 F699b
LC: HV5258.F67 1988
The book is a gold mine of alternative information about alcohol. That
is, it directly challenges the A.A. party line about alcohol and its
effects. It skewers a lot of myths and stereotypes about alcohol
and alcoholics. Recommended for its true information.
But watch out: there is a lot in here that could
be used to rationalize continued alcohol abuse. Sometimes, the truth
is a two-edged sword, and this is one of those times.
I personally recommend total abstinence for the serious alcoholic,
because it is the only thing that I see working for some people, like
me. But you have to figure out your truth for yourself.
As above, Your mileage may vary, Let the buyer beware, etc...
It Will Never Happen To Me, Claudia Black, Ph.D., M.S.W.
Ballantine Books, New York, 1987.
Why and how children of alcoholics become alcoholics.
Addiction Nemesis, Robert R. Selle,
World & I, Apr 2001, Volume 16, Issue 4, page 46.
News World Communications, Inc.
Available on the Internet through your public library's
Also try the
Be advised that the World & I magazine is
a front for the Moonies' Unification Church cult, and
it publishes a fair bit of anti-scientific, pro-cult-religion propaganda,
praise of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Alternatives to Abstinence — A New Look At Alcoholism and
the Choices In Treatment
Hatherleigh Press, An affiliate of W.W. Norton & Co.,
New York, 2001.
Dewey: 616.861 O34a 2001
You Can't Do It Alone Monsignor William B. O'Brien
and Ellis Henican
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1993.
LC: HV5801.O25 1993
This book is about the Daytop program, a residential rehab program
based on Synanon ideas.
The author is quick to explain how they were inspired
by Synanon, but soon disassociated themselves from Synanon and
Chuck Dederich, because those guys were all crazy and ill-mannered.
Still, Daytop kept the idea of "confrontational attack therapy",
an idea which has led to an awful lot of child abuse (and adult abuse,
This book is very interesting reading, giving the whole history of
Daytop. Unfortunately, it is hard to get excited about the program
when they won't tell what their success rate actually is. Just like
with Alcoholics Anonymous, we get lot of grandiose hand-waving and
talk about how great it is, and a few proof-by-anecdote stories,
and a McDonald's-style "millions served" claim,
but nothing more specific about success rates, relapse rates, drop-outs,
and all of the things that really matter. The basic message of this
book is really rather fascistic (as was Synanon):
"If you kick the addicts' asses
with tough love, you will get good results. They all need discipline;
they all need to grow up."
Jawohl, Herr Kommandant! Sieg Heil!
If the program is so great, why did they leave out all of the numbers?
(I get hearsay, through the grapevine, telling me that their numbers
are no better than anyone else's, that they have the same old 90% or
95% failure/dropout/relapse rate.
More solid numbers to follow, when I get them.)
Love First Jeff Jay and Debra Jay
Hazelden Information and Educational Services, Center City, Minnesota,
ISBN: 1-56838-521-8 (pbk.)
Dewey: 362.29'286-dc21 or 362.2928 J42L 2000
LC: HV5132 .J39 2000
Standard Hazelden propaganda on how to force people to spend
their money on Hazelden treatment. That is, this book is a manual that
will teach you
how to do "interventions" where you confront a loved one
with a gang of family, friends, neighbors, and strangers,
and pressure the alcoholic to go with the "escort service" for a
$15,000 28-day stay at Hazelden.
The Fix Michael Massing
Simon & Schuster, New York, 1998.
LC: HV5825.M356 1998
Massing says that the Nixon administration had a far better program
for handling drug addiction than exists today. That is believable,
considering that the problem has just gotten worse since then.
The author does a good job of making his case. The documentation
is extensive, 275 footnotes or citations.
How To Quit Drinking Without AA, A Complete Self-Help Guide
Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA, 1994, 1997.
LC: HV5278.D58 1994
Dewey: 362.29'—dc20 or 616.861 D718h 1997
Looks good. Covers everything from diet to yoga, and even some
off-the-wall stuff like aroma therapy. Whatever works for you.
I can't endorse the techniques listed here, because I didn't use
them personally, but they look like they could help some people,
perhaps many people. One of the best contributions this book makes
is right at the start, "A New View Of Alcoholism".
It's a hundred times more realistic than Bill Wilson's "You
are born an alcoholic because you are a disgusting sinner."
(Or was it, "You are a disgusting sinner because you were born
Under The Influence: A Guide to the Myths and Realities of Alcoholism
Dr. James R. Milam and Katherine Ketcham
Bantam Books, New York, Toronto, London, 1983.
Dewey: 616.861 M637un
Far more true facts about alcoholism than your average "recovery" book contains.
It even dares to say:
Yet for all its strengths, A.A. is not perfect, and the recovering alcoholic
should be warned of A.A.'s shortcomings. First, A.A. is not a treatment program,
and alcoholics who walk in off the street have a very rough time trying to
stay sober. The alcoholic who is just starting a new life of sobriety should
realize this fact and not be disheartened by those A.A. members who stop
attending meetings and start drinking again.
The recovering alcoholic should also beware of the A.A. belief that character flaws
or personality defects cause alcoholics to get into trouble with alcohol, a
belief which simply has no basis in fact. The alcoholic should be assured throughout
treatment that his personality did not cause his disease and that he is
in no way responsible for it. This assurance will rid him of years of
accumulated guilt and shame and help him to understand that abstinence is essential
for the simple but very real reason that he is physically incapable of processing
alcohol in a normal way. If he believes that his personality caused his disease,
he may then believe that once his personality problems are fixed, he can return
to normal drinking. Furthermore, a guilty and ashamed alcoholic may rebel
against a program that aggravates these feelings and forfeit his sobriety in the
Patients should be taught never to base the 4th step — "Made a searching
and fearless moral inventory" — on a review of their past drinking behavior.
Instead, the inventory should be based on their conduct after
detoxification and enlightenment about their disease and the recovery process. ...
Finally, the alcoholic should understand the grievous error in the A.A. belief
that is is acceptable and even beneficial to drink coffee or tea and to eat
foods high in sugar such as candies or ice cream when depressed, anxious,
irritable, or feeling the need for a drink. This is dangerous first aid, for
while caffeine and sweets have the immediate effect of elevating the
alcoholic's low blood sugar, their use is followed soon after by a sharp drop
in blood sugar, thus intensifying the hypoglycemic symptoms. Worst of all for
the alcoholic, an unstable blood sugar level often leads to an impulse to drink
if not an outright conscious craving for alcohol. It seems clear that hypoglycemia
is a primary cause of the mood fluctuations and "white knuckle" sobriety so
often seen around A.A. and also a major cause of "slips."
And there is much more. This little paperback is worth reading.
Beyond The Influence: Understanding and Defeating Alcoholism
Katherine Ketcham and William F. Asbury with Mel Schulstad and Arthur P. Ciaramicoli, Ed.D., Ph.D.
Bantam Books, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and Auckland, 2000.
LC: HV5035.K53 2000
Dewey: 362.2928—dc21 or 362.2828 K43b 2000
Addiction-Free: How To Help An Alcoholic Or Addict Get Started On Recovery
Gene Hawes and Anderson Hawes
Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, New York, 2001.
LC: HV4998.H39 2001
Dewey: 362.29'18—dc21 or 362.2918 H391a 2001
Another pathetic piece of 12-Step propaganda, of no merit.
Family members are advised to join Al-Anon with these words quoted from an Al-Anon
For the very beginning we learn that we are powerless to control an alcoholic's
drinking. Until we stop trying to control, we will continue to live with the
frustration that made us seek Al-Anon. ...
In Al-Anon we discover that no situation is really hopeless and that it is
possible for us to find contentment and even happiness, whether the alcoholic
is still drinking or not. ...
(Pages 118-119, quoting from
the Al-Anon pamphlet P-32, This Is Al-Anon.)
So, Mrs. Housewife, quit trying to get your husband to quit drinking.
That job is reserved for the A.A. men.
Besides, what are you doing, bothering your pretty little head with
reading books, anyway?
The authors conclude:
It [Al-Anon] can give you a recovery program you need in order to grow personally
in harmony with the recovery of the alcoholic/addict you care about. And for you,
this might be it's most important benefit of all.
So once again we see that Mommy is spiritually sick and in need of a 12-Step recovery program
because Daddy drinks too much beer.
Their advice to help recovering alcoholics and addicts is similar:
He was amazed especially that they [A.A.s] fought off that irresistable craving to drink
and to drug. How? With various basic tools, perfected by many over the years.
A prime one is that AA members don't vow to quit forever. They simply don't drink
or drug today. They quit "one day at a time," as they endlessly remark.
And they are given phone numbers by other men (or women, for a woman). And if
they feel an urge to use getting strong, they phone or see another member and confess
the urge and get bolstered by the member not to give in because that insane
urge will soon pass and be gone.
First off, the cravings are not "irresistable".
If they were, no one would ever be able to quit.
(That's another repetition of the "Powerless over alcohol" First Step dogma.)
But millions of people do resist the cravings, and do quit, all of the time (and they
usually do it without a 12-Step program).
In fact, the next piece of advice tells the recovering person to resist
the "irresistable" urge to drink or use because it will soon pass.
Also, telling people to only quit for one day at a time is terrible advice — it
leaves them free to relapse tomorrow —
"I never promised I wouldn't drink when Saturday came."
Then, having people get on the phone and "confess" their cravings to an
elder member is a slip that reveals the religious nature of the program.
Confession is not the cure for alcoholism.
A Ghost In The Closet: Is There An Alcoholic Hiding? Dale Mitchell
Hazelden Information and Educational Services, Center City, MN, 1999
LC: HV5279.M58 1999
More Hazelden propaganda. Reprints all of the standard dogma. Features chapters
like "The Alcoholic Mind" which repeats the standard A.A. stereotype of
The chapter on recovery tools — "Tools for Success" —
actually lists "Act As If" as a tool, and
explains that it came from the Oxford Group cult evangelist
Rev. Samuel Shoemaker,
who invented it to get non-believers to start praying:
"Act As If"
In 1954, the Reverend Samuel M. Shoemaker wrote a story about an unfortunate
who came to him admitting that he didn't believe in God and certainly didn't
know how to pray. Shoemaker asked him to "try an experiment," as he had nothing
to lose. He asked him to get down on his knees and say anything at all that
came to his mind, addressing his thoughts to "The Unknown."
He then asked if the man could read just one chapter from the Bible,
from the book of John. Solely out of respect for Shoemaker, the man
obliged, but fighting every step of the way. This went on for some
time, until one day the man actually began praying to God and reading
the Bible and other works on his own. The man eventually became a spiritual
leader within his church. Shoemaker believed that this was possible because
the man "acted as if he had faith" until faith came by accident, or
"until there was an opening for God to come through."
The slogan "act as if" has been used in AA circles ever since.
That's a clever stunt for brainwashing people into joining a cult religion,
but what does it have to do with quitting drinking, or Alcoholics Anonymous?
(Oh, yes, I almost forgot: Alcoholics Anonymous is a cult religion, so it's
a highly relevant recruiting technique.)
Getting Started in AA Hamilton B.
Hazelden Information and Educational Services, Center City, MN, 1995
LC: HV5278.B3 1995
Dewey: 362.29286—dc20 or 616.861 B115g 1995
More Hazelden propaganda — all of the usual garbage, including "Call Your Sponsor",
"Work The Steps", "Go to Meetings", "Read the Big Book", "Say Your Prayers", etc...
This book actually tells us to use lots of mind-numbing slogans —
Use AA Slogans
AA slogans help us stay focused on AA principles. They remind us of attitudes and actions
that will strengthen our recovery, and they lead us to productive behavior.
Dozens of AA slogans and expressions have evolved over the years.
And then they list a bunch of
the standard A.A. slogans,
including this gem:
"Go With The Flow". Excuse me, but that one is an old Hippie instruction for
how to trip on LSD, not how to quit drinking. Going with the flow is how we ended up drinking
too much alcohol in the first place, isn't it?
Twelve-Step Guide to Using the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book
Dewey: 362.2928 K11t
Vicious guilt-inducing garbage. The book begins with a story about how
your life must be sacrificed to serve the purposes of "Master",
and then it gets worse from there, telling us to confess in the fourth Step that...
"My Creator, You have given me sex powers and they are good.
However, I have used them selfishly and dishonestly; I have been inconsiderate".
Now how would the author know what the reader actually did? We are not all clones of Bill Wilson
and we are not all
sexual predators like him...
The Road to Malpsychia; humanistic psychology and our discontents
Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2002
LC: BF204.M54 2002
Dewey: 150.19'8—dc21 or 150.198 M662r 2002
This is a strange book. The authoress has quite an ax to grind.
The basic premise is that Abraham Maslow allegedly
created a horrible school of humanistic psychology, which led to a
long list of
disciples and disciples of disciples, which led to everything that
is wrong with psychology and psychotherapy today.
Maslow begot Carl Rogers and Franz Boas, and Boas begot Margaret Mead
and Ruth Fulton Benedict, and they or their followers begot everybody
else. She chases chains of connections the way a conspiracy theorist would,
and manages to condemn and blame just about everybody who was anybody
in twentieth-century psychology or therapy. She devotes a couple of
chapters to denouncing Timothy Leary, and then returns to him in the last
chapter to gloat over his death. In between, she criticizes most of
the recovery cults (rightly so), and everybody else too, even
the sixties anti-war movement, feminists, lesbians, and Gloria Steinem.
Almost nobody is spared from at least a few whacks from her stick.
The only conspicuous
recovery cult that she does not denounce is Alcoholics Anonymous
and its other 12-Step bretheren.
She mentions the fact that Timothy Leary gave psilocybin (the active
hallucinogenic chemical in magic mushrooms) to Bill Wilson in December
of 1960 or early 1961 (page 85), but says nothing more about it.
She says that Charles
Dederich, the founder of Synanon, was an alcoholic in A.A. before
setting up his own cult.
She says that Dederich split with A.A. over the issue of a higher power,
but doesn't trace any of the other ideas or faults of Synanon from their
origins in A.A..
EST hoax and A.A. like this:
Perhaps the greatest problem that Erhard faced was that many est
graduates were beginning to discover that their post-training
euphoria didn't last.
The belief that we have the power to create our own reality can be
highly motivating. But when things go wrong, it can also lead to
profound depression. This is exactly why Alcoholics Anonymous, the
most successful self-help program in history, insists that its members
acknowledge the existence of a higher power, however loosely defined.
Newcomers often have trouble with this requirement, but in the long
run it protects them from falling into the depressive's trap of
obsessing about things that can't be changed.
The Road to Malpsychia; humanistic psychology
and our discontents, Joyce Milton, page 193.
But the authoress stubbornly refuses to see that Bill Wilson's faith in
his Higher Power (as well as a dozen years of Working The Steps)
didn't save him from turning into
a very sick chronic depressive.
And the biggest, most successful, and most influential purveyor of
malpsychia and voodoo medicine in the USA is undoubtedly Alcoholics Anonymous.
Joyce Milton just won't even consider that idea.
She blames everybody but A.A. for bad medicine and bad therapy,
and accuses everybody but A.A. of foisting narcissistic psychobabble
and ineffective therapy on the American people.
Strange. (Strange, unless she is a hidden member of Alcoholics Anonymous,
which would explain a lot.)
The Culture Of Recovery; Making Sense of the Self-Help Movement in Women's Lives
Beacon Press, Boston MA, 1996.
LC: RC533.R365 1995
Dewey: 305.42—dc20 or 362.293 R221c
Good stuff. As the title implies, this book's emphasis is on women's issues,
and how a woman has experienced the self-help movement.
Particularly read chapter four:
"In the Rooms: Learning to Talk the Talk".
My experiences led me to agree with many professional observers that this
classic AA model operates as a cult — a term I use descriptively,
not judgementally —
and therein lies the secret of its success. It thrives on exclusivity and
social isolation, on rote repetitions of scriptural doctrine, and on a blind
faith in an omnipotent "leader" and God. It enforces rigid rules of
behavior that virtually program one's every move every day, week, and month.
Members who do best tend to break ties with former friends and family
and relate only to fellow drunks, often attending meetings every day,
sometimes even twice a day. By repetition the Steps and Traditions
become so ingrained that all casual
conversation comes to include key phrases — "I let go and let God"
is a common saying, for example — and the idea that one's Higher Power had
a role in virtually every positive moment in one's life is taken for granted
here. The members who told the most inspiring tales, moreover, were generally
the ones whose every moment was coordinated according to the Steps and
Traditions and meeting schedules. Many members speak often of giving up
old haunts and friends to stick "close to home" as one put it,
and the conversation of members tends to revolve so thoroughly around ideas
and activities of recovery that it is probably a relief to old friends when
they drift away. There are alcohol-free social clubs where members meet in
many cities, and many members carry around AA literature and turn to it
whenever they find themselves with nothing to do, for fear that they
to old habits if they relax. "I read the Big Book (the basic text,
written by Bill W.) every day, every time I start to feel nervous,"
one man told me. "It saved me the other day, when I ran into an old
drinking buddy on the subway. He took one look at it and split."
I had no doubt.
— page 98.
Since one may never "cross talk" or raise issues not related to one's
addiction, or even talk about the addiction itself in terms other than
the Steps prescribe, one is forced, in the interest of one's progress out
of addiction, to internalize and adopt the "mainstream attitudes"
fostered by the program. ...
The political ramifications of this tendency to subtly impose a totalizing
ideology on members are easy to see. ...
As in any kind of hegemonic discourse or ritual, the absence of apparent ideology
is itself the most powerful kind of ideology, since it can never be acknowledged
or questioned. The political implications of this kind of thinking, this kind
of process, are apparent and depressing. ...
This reactionary tendency of AA is further bolstered by its tendency to exclude
contact with all "outsiders" who may indeed have other ideas about
what has caused a member's suffering and what might be done to assuage it.
One of the characteristics of cults described by
Arthur Deikman (1990)
tendency to "devalue outsiders" and assume "an attitude of
righteousness" about one's own customs and beliefs. In AA and (to a lesser
degree) other recovery groups, this takes the form of labeling as "in denial"
those who question basic tenets.
— pages 99-100.
ACOA is the only group I visited in which no response was ever expected of anyone.
At times, the silence was so nerve-wracking that I felt all eyes upon me, the
ever silent presence, to finally speak. ...
The members of my home group were a bizarre lot behaviorally, although, by
appearance, they were conventional and respectable. ...
Other members of this group — there were about ten women and four men —
were apparently even more out of control, unable to handle the emotionally
charged, unresolved feelings from childhood, for reasons that were sometimes
explained — incest and physical torture — and sometimes hard to figure out
— page 108.
And there is much more. Check it out.
Hooked Lonnie Shavelson
The New Press, New York, 2001.
LC: HV5833.S25 S53 2001
Dewey: 362.29'38'092279461—dc21 or 362.2938 S533h 2001
Five addicts tell their stories, "challenging our misguided drug rehab system".
Taming The Beast: An Alternative Twelve-Step Process of Regeneration From Addictions
Henry Herlong, M.A. and Rita Herlong, R.N., M.S.
Beast Haven Company, Salem, Oregon, 1995.
The authors make up their own 12 steps and do a fair job of it, with ideas like
"strengthening the ego" and "I can take charge of my life."
Unfortunately, they base their program on astrology.
Reckoning; Drugs, The Cities, and the American Future Elliott Currie
Hill and Wang, A division of Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, New York, 1993.
LC: HV5825.C88 1992
LCCN: 91-40276 CIP
Jake Ginsky (Editorial@boulderweekly.com),
Drug Mistreatment Feeding teens to the correctional complex,
Boulder Weekly, March 2-8, 2000.
Available on the Internet through your public library's
— There's big money to be made in diagnosing kids who only dabbled with drugs
a couple of times as hard-core addicts, in need of imprisonment
in a residential treatment facility. And once in there, the parents can't
even get their children back because the staff "experts" say
that the kids need treatment. And it's also a cute way to
force either the kids or parents or both to go to Alcoholics
Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Al-Anon
12-Step meetings, as part of the "treatment" program.
— There are tens of thousands of adolescents whom a raft of
experts say are coerced into entering drug treatment each year
by schools, parents or the courts, despite not having any
serious drug problem.
— Joel Brown of the Center for Educational Research and Development
estimates that "less than 10 percent" of the kids who enter
treatment at the insistence of their schools actually have problems.
Cold Turkey A movie starring Dick Van Dyke and Bob Newhart
A great comedy, a classic. The basic plotline is that a backwoods town is
dying because the military base closed. Bob Newhart plays an evil tobacco executive
who wants to become the 'Alfred Nobel' of smoking by offering a huge prize
to any town that totally quits smoking for a month (which he doesn't
believe any town will ever be able to do). Dick Van Dyke plays the preacher
of the dying town, who decides that winning the prize is the only way to get
the town back on its feet. The results are both very funny and very true.
It's a great spoof on smoking and addiction.
See ref here.
Degeneration: The Dark Side of Progress, Ed. by J. Chamberlin and S. Gilman
Columbia University Press, New York, 1985.
LC: CB417.D44 1985
A study of the idea of degeneration, which was popular in the nineteenth century.
This book consists of a dozen chapters, each by a different author, which cover a
lot of different aspects of the concept of degeneration, including
anthropology, sociology, biology, medicine, technology, and political theory.
The basic idea of degeneration is the belief that there is some ideal archetype
of humanity, and that whoever differs from that standard is somehow degenerate.
Thus black men were considered to be degenerate versions of white men, and the
Nazis of course took this theory to extremes in declaring that everybody who
wasn't a tall blond blue-eyed Aryan was a degenerate specimen.
Alcoholics were also considered to be degenerate.
The Emperor's New Drugs; Exploding the Antidepressant Myth, Irving Kirsch, Ph.D.
Basic Books, Perseus Group, Random House, 2010.
Explains how many anti-depressants are a fraud and a hoax.
What happened is, the pharmaceutical companies got one bad, ineffective, anti-depressant approved
by the FDA through fraud, error, and bureaucratic slight-of-hand. Then they got many other
non-working anti-depressants approved by the FDA by merely showing that they work just as well
as the first anti-depressant (that doesn't work). The pharmaceutical companies never
actually proved that the new anti-depressants really worked on patients. So now we have a lot of
bad drugs on the market that don't really work right at all.
On The Internet:
"The effects of sponsorship in 12-Step treatment of injection drug
Byron L. Crape,
Carl A. Latkin,
Alexandra S. Laris,
Amy R. Knowlton,
(all of the Johns Hopkins University,
School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA),
Drug & Alcohol Dependence, Vol 65(3), Feb 2002,
Examined the relationship between sponsorship and abstinence in 12-Step
treatment of injection drug users. 500 former and current injection drug users
(median age 39 yrs) reported sponsorship in Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) at baseline and at 6-mo and 1-yr follow-ups. Results
show that having a sponsor in NA/AA was not associated with any improvement in
1-yr sustained abstinence rates compared to non-sponsored controls. However,
being a sponsor over the same time period was strongly associated with substantial
improvements in sustained abstinence rates, even after controlling for involvement
with community organizations, NA/AA meeting attendance, marital status,
employment, participation in drug and alcohol treatment centers, and HIV status.
Web sites for A.A. abuse information:
— "Apple"'s web site,
AAdeprogramming. I think this was the first web site dedicated to exposing the truth about
"The contributors to this site have found that AA has a dark
side which is rarely discussed in meetings and is discussed only
in a limited capacity in print. This is an attempt to voice this
much needed alternate point of view."
Recovery From Addiction Without God?, by Gary Lee Persip.
www.peele.net — Stanton Peele's site.
Mind Control Tactics Of Alcoholics Anonymous by Devin Sexson
DMOZ Open Directory Project, Society: Support Groups: Opposing Views: Twelve Step
— University of Virginia — New religious movements, Alcoholics Anonymous Beliefs and Practices
— Critiques of the 12-Step Programs.
Peter Daum: Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit den Alcoholics Anonymous
Peter Daum is not an ex-member. It's a scientific work, so it's from another point of view.
http://www.positiveatheism.org/rw/ofcourse.htm — also includes
the article "Alcoholics Anonymous: Of Course It's A Cult!"
http://www.AApublicControversy.com — the A.A. controversy
http://www.AApublicControversy.com — AAWS crimes.
http://www.AApublicControversy.com — Henrietta Seiberling's letters.
http://www.AAgso.org — watchdog info on the GSO
http://www.aabbsg.de/ — Good historical information.
http://alcoholism.about.com/health/alcoholism/library/blmitch20.htm — The
A.A.W.S. perjury about the Big Book, in Germany.
Mitchell K.'s history of A.A.
DEAD LINKS. Some A.A. true believer took over the alcoholism section of About.Com, and deleted
all of Mitchell K.'s work. But you can see the local archived copies here:
Exploding the myth that Marty Mann learned that "alcoholism is a disease" from
Bill Wilson, the Big Book, or A.A..
The Cult Called A.A. by Paul Roasberry
The Culture of Cults
http://www.bee.net/cardigan/attic/guest09.htm — The
Twelve Step Cult by Mitch Bailey
http://www.angelfire.com/journal/forcedaa/ — About forced A.A. attendance.
http://www.noart.de/ambrosia/index.html — a view from Germany.
http://www.angelfire.com/blog/aaacomix/ — The lighter side of recovery, anti-AA comics.
http://www.geocities.com/sanegallery/ — more anti-AA art.
— More anti-AA humor.
Web sites for other, Non-A.A., Recovery and Abusive Cults
http://www.caic.org.au/ — the Cult Awareness &
Information Centre in Australia. Good stuff.
American Family Foundation. AFF studies cults and psychological
Cult 101 is a good place to begin research on the subject of cults.
information about Straight, Inc. and related recovery cult
about Straight, the Seed, and other children's gulags.
http://www.geocities.com/snoffl/strtstry.html — Straight Inc, Drug War Concentration Camp of the 1980s.
http://www.trebach.org/ — about Straight and its clones.
more recovery cult and children's gulags information.
http://www.whyaretheydead.net/krasel/aff_96.html — anti-Scientology
http://www.lermanet.com/cos/index.html — anti-Scientology
http://www.crackpots.org/ — anti-Scientology
http://www.nots.org/ — anti-Scientology
http://www.clambake.org/ — anti-Scientology
http://www.b-org.demon.nl/scn/ — anti-Scientology
— Why bogus therapies seem to work.
Also do research on the Internet through your public library's
You may need a library card to access these (like your local
city library's cards).
SMART: Self Management And Recovery Training.
Rational, sane, common-sense recovery techniques.
Based on Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, the brainchild
of Dr. Albert Ellis.
Also see his book,
When AA Doesn't Work for You, Rational Steps to Quitting Alcohol.
WFS: WOMEN FOR SOBRIETY,
WFS is the oldest — founded in 1975 — of the modern (non-12-Step) programs,
dedicated to helping women overcome alcoholism and other addictions.
WFS accepts the disease model and is an abstinence program. The "New
Life" program helps women achieve sobriety and sustain ongoing
recovery. For groups in your area call 1-800-333-1606.
SOS: Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a.k.a. "Save Our Selves".
SOS is an alternative recovery method for those alcoholics or drug
addicts who are uncomfortable with the spiritual or superstitious
content of widely available 12-Step programs.
SOS takes a reasonable, secular approach
to recovery and maintains that sobriety is a separate issue from
religion or spirituality. SOS credits the individual for achieving and
maintaining his or her own sobriety, without reliance on any "Higher
Power." SOS respects recovery in any form regardless of the path by
which it is achieved. It is not opposed to or in competition with any
other recovery programs.
Rochester, NY, SOS on the web.
LifeRing Secular Recovery (LSR).
http://www.unhooked.com/index.htm — LifeRing
http://www.unhooked.com/lsr/faq.htm — FAQ.
LSR is a non-religious self-help
recovery organization for individuals who choose abstinence from
alcohol and other addictive drugs, or who are in relationships where
chemical dependency is a problem. The basic philosophy of LifeRing
Secular Recovery is summarized in the Three "S" — Sobriety,
Note that LifeRing provides live, online meetings on the Internet.
Web sites for Other Information:
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a subsidiary of the
National Institutes of Health (a government agency).
Politics and Current Events, with a minor in Propaganda:
McCarthy, The Man, The Senator, The "ISM"
Jack Anderson and Ronald W. May
The Beacon Press, Boston, 1952.
Dewey: B M1225A
A pretty good analysis of Senator Joe McCarthy and his methods.
Because this book was published in 1952, it does not tell the end of
the story — the Army-McCarthy hearings and the Senate's censure of McCarthy.
The Bush Dyslexicon, Observations on a National Disorder
Mark Crispin Miller
W.W. Norton and Company, New York and London, 2001.
Dewey: 973.931 M649b 2001
The Betrayal of America, How the Supreme Court Undermined the
Constitution and Chose Our President
Thunder Mouth Press / Nation Books, New York, 2001.
Dewey: 342.075 B931b 2001
Supreme Injustice, How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000
Alan M. Dershowitz
Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2001.
Dewey: 342.075 D438s 2001
The Smartest Guys in the Room; The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron
Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
Portfolio, The Penguin Group, New York, 2003.
Dewey: 333.79 M163s 2003
LC: HD9502.U54E5763 2003
A great book, a fascinating story of brilliance, greed, ambition, arrogance, and
Democracy Matters; Winning the Fight Against Imperialism Cornel West
The Penguin Press, New York, 2004.
LC: JC423.W384 2004
Dewey: 321.8 W516d 2004
A great book. Gives about the clearest analysis that I've seen of the current predicament
and threats to the survival of our democracy. Also offers a higher, clearer, moral vision of
the future than I see anybody else offering.
Sleeping With The Devil; How Washington Sold Our Soul For Saudi Crude
Crown Publishers, New York, 2003.
Dewey: 327.538 B141s 2003
Robert Baer is a former CIA agent who has a lot of expertise about the Middle East.
He has written a very disturbing and revealing book here, which basically says
that the days of the House of Sa'ud are numbered, and when it goes, so does our
dependable oil supply.
Baer says that the Saudi royal family is paying off the terrorists and extreme
Islamic fundamentalists to keep them from attacking the royal family, but that is
an "end game" — only a matter of buying time while the terrorist
organizations grow richer and more powerful, and the non-royal population of
the country becomes poorer and increasingly dissatisfied with the extravagant
profligate behavior of the thousands of high-living Saudi princes.
Baer says that there are 30,000 royals in Saudi Arabia, and they have
a population explosion problem: each prince has a dozen or two wives,
and many have 50 to 70 children, and all of the royal children expect and demand a
life of opulent luxury while the common people can't even get a job.
At that birth rate, in another generation, there could be many hundreds of thousands
of royals for the oil dole to support — and the money has actually already run out.
The hey-day when Saudi Arabia had more money than sand is gone. Now they are borrowing
money to keep the circus going. Sooner or later, the situation will
become unstable and blow up. And Baer shows us many reasons why the time will
probably be sooner than later.
And yes, the money that financed the 9/11 attacks on the USA came from Saudi Arabia.
And the Washington politicians know it, or should know it,
but they are too busy taking big campaign contributions and other huge payoffs
from the Saudis to make a fuss about the situation in Saudi Arabia —
"sleeping with the devil". But the times they are a'changin'.
Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror Anonymous
(His real name is Mike Shoyer — he later
broke his anonymity.)
Brassey's Inc., Washington, D.C., 2004.
LC: HV6432.I47 2004
Dewey: 973.931 I3445 2004 or 973.931—dc22
A fascinating and disturbing book. The author, a CIA agent who prefered
to remain anonymous, makes a very good case for the USA being in big trouble
because of arrogance, ignorance, and stupidity in the highest offices.
He says that we do not clearly see our enemies because we insist on stereotyping
them and seeing them through Western eyes, rather than on their own terms.
What we call suicide bombers they call heroes who are going straight to Heaven.
The author says that our conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq is so incompetent
and unrealistic that defeat is inevitable — that in Afghanistan, it has already happened.
Monumental hubris and insane arrogance led American leaders to think that
they could easily defeat, with just a few troops, a little precision bombing,
and a short war, the very Afghani freedom fighters who had just defeated the Soviet Army.
The Soviets had already learned the hard way that it isn't that easy,
but the arrogant Washington neo-Cons didn't listen, look, or learn.
This is a good book for those who are interested in current politics and the
"war on terrorism".
The End of Affluence; The Causes and Consequences of America's
Economic Dilemma Jeffrey Madrick
Random House, New York, 1995.
LC: HC106.7.M27 1995
A fascinating book. The author shows how our real rate of economic growth,
after correcting for inflation,
has been depressed and below average since 1973. From 1820 to 1973,
the USA enjoyed an economic growth rate of around 4% per year,
even after averaging in the great depressions, but the author believes that
those heady days are gone forever. The Wild West is gone,
the buffalo are gone, the free land, oil, and trees are gone,
and the possibility of great rapid growth is gone.
The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-first Century
James Howard Kunstler
Atlantic Monthly Press; an imprint of Grove/Atlantic, Inc., New York, 2005.
LC: TP355.K86 2005
A great and frightening book. Describes the immense problems — converging disasters —
that will befall us in the next 30 years or so:
- the end of cheap oil and the Oil Age (and the depletion of natural gas, too).
Saudi Arabia is running out of oil. So is everybody else.
- failure of agribusiness because of no cheap oil and no insecticides or fertilizers;
hence, great food shortages and famine
- how alternative energy sources like wind, hydroelectric, and solar aren't
enough to save us, and how hydrogen is not an energy source (it's a storage device,
like a rechargeable battery)
- coal and nuclear power pollute and poison, and projects like the extraction of oil
from oil sands and shale are pipe dreams that will produce only a little bit of
expensive oil while using up too much precious fresh water and horribly polluting the territory.
- the end of the era of antibiotics — horrible new superbugs are immune to antibiotics
the rise of superdiseases like AIDS and new influenzas. We are also slowly being invaded
by things like the West Nile Virus. (We may even be cursed with outbreaks of
exotic germs like the Congolese hemhoragic fevers — Ebola, Marburg Virus, Zaire virus —
and without gasoline, we will have a hard time getting ahead of them.)
- global warming and pollution damaging the ecosphere and causing climate change
- great water shortages causing the end of irrigation —
the Ogallala Aquifer and the Manzanita Aquifer and others are going dry
just like how the oil fields are going dry, because they getting sucked dry.
It will take many thousands of years to refill those aquifers.
- crop failures because of the collapse of the ecosphere, climate change,
and abuse of the land with chemicals, and water shortages, and so, more famine
- how most large cities will become death-traps, and you can't farm your back yard in Phoenix
or Los Angeles (especially not when the electricity fails and the pumps can't pump water
to your house)
- collapse of the "hallucinated economy" because the current system is
simply unsustainable — it's just a mountain of debt supported by nothing but more borrowing.
The current U.S. Government is just running a Ponzi scheme, borrowing ever more money
to pay off older debts while running up even more debts.
It is physically impossible for that to continue forever.
When the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese feel the need to cash in their
U.S. Government T-bills (to buy more of that expensive oil),
the dollar and the U.S. economy are done for. (So what will we buy Saudi oil with? Euros?
We don't have any.)
- the burst of the housing bubble — will take down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and a lot
more of our financial institutions, too.
- collapse of our whole economic and industrial infrastructure because of all of
- All of our factories have been dismantled and sold to places like China, so
we won't even be able to manufacture our own bicycle tires in the future
"New World Order". (Thank you Walmart.)
Rebuilding our industrial base without any oil or gasoline to fuel the
rebuilding will be extremely difficult and slow.
- The process of collapse will be chaotic and anarchic, not an orderly rearrangement
of society. Governments will prove ineffective and incapable of dealing
with the overwhelming problems, and many governments will become irrelevant
relics, or disband entirely.
About the only ones the author forgot to mention are:
The loss of the honey bees because of the Varoa Mites and Sudden Colony Collapse Syndrome, and the
resulting loss of crops which require bee pollination, which is immense:
everything from A to Z: almonds and apples and apricots to zuchini.
Collapse of the world's fisheries because of over-fishing and pollution of the
oceans. This one is already here.
That will in turn contribute to world-wide protein shortages.
Invasion of the coastlines around the world with Calerpa taxifolia,
the toxic seaweed that is currently destroying the Mediterranean, and which has
already traveled to Australia and San Diego, California. It was originally a tropical
plant that could not survive in the cooler Mediterranean, but it seems to have
mutated in people's aquariums and turned into a plant that can now tolerate cooler waters,
while its natural enemy, a tiny sea slug that eats it, cannot.
Calerpa taxifolia is quite toxic and inedible by anything other than that little slug.
Calerpa taxifolia densely covers everything on the sea floor
and totally displaces all of the native plants, producing a marine "green desert"
without any fish or other wildlife, because no animals can find anything to eat.
That will put the last nail in the coffin of the world's fisheries.
What is really frustrating is the way that our whole society, from our
political leaders on down to the
man on the street, are just playing ostrich and ignoring the problems.
But if we don't deal with those problems and soon, then Mother Nature will,
by eliminating the excess human population —
about 5 billion people or so — through starvation, diseases, and wars.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse will ride again.
Seeing Like a State; How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed
James C. Scott
Yale University Press, New Haven CN and London, 1998.
ISBN: 0-300-07016-0 (cloth: alk. paper), 0-300-07815-3 (pbk. alk. paper)
LC: HD87.5.S365 1998
Dewey: 338.9—dc21 or 338.9 SCOTT
Studies many examples of bad planning by states, and reveals an interesting conflict:
states want systems which can be easily governed and taxed, even if they don't work well.
Given a choice between free-roaming nomads or organized plantations, the states choose
the organization most every time. (Witness the destruction of free-roaming native American
peoples in the USA.) In Malaysia, free-roaming rubber harvesters who worked as hunter-gatherers,
gleaning wild rubber, were far more cost-effective than the rubber plantations which
the Europeans established at great expense, and which were prone to failure from
diseases because of over-crowding of the rubber trees.
But those free wanderers were impossible to govern, and difficult to tax, so the
state chose to create more plantations.
The author also explores the arrogance of political leaders who imagine that they know
what is good for the common people, without bothering to talk to the common people.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin is his first example.
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Last updated 16 April 2019.
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