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  • Hachette Australia
  • Hachette Australia
  • Hachette Australia

Zealot: A book about cults

Jo Thornely

4 Reviews

Rated 0

True crime

Based on the popular Australian podcast ZEALOT, this is a comprehensive look at cults around the world and why people are drawn to them.

'a smart, daring and refreshing book' - Weekend Australian

'deliciously sinister' - Herald Sun

Why would anyone join a cult?

Maybe they're unhappy with their current religion, or they want to change the world, or they're disappointed with their lives and want to find something bigger or holier that makes sense of this confusing, chaotic and dangerous world. Or maybe they just want to give themselves the best possible chance of having sex with aliens.

Whatever the reason, once people are in, it's usually very difficult for them to leave. Cults have ways of making their followers do loopy, dangerous stuff to prove their loyalty, and in return they get a chance to feel secure within the cult's embrace, with an added bonus of being utterly terrified of the outside world.

From the tragic JONESTOWN Kool-Aid drinkers to the Australian cult THE FAMILY to the fiery Waco climax of THE BRANCH DAVIDIANS, this book is a wide-sweeping look at cults around the world, from the host of the popular podcast ZEALOT.

'a piss-taker of rare boldness' - Weekend Australian

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Praise for Zealot: A book about cults

  • prose where every sentence is alive with individuality and intelligence. ... She has opened the creaking lid of the vampire's coffin and let in a good old blast of fresh daylight. - Weekend Australian

  • Written with a wonderfully irreverent sense of humour, the book has a serious aim, to instill irreverence in the reader, because, after all, an excess of reverence was what got many of these cult members into danger in the first place and then kept them there. - Daily Telegraph

  • 'freakily entertaining' - The Clothesline

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Reader reviews (1)

  • Told with a quirky, irreverent sense of humour, “Zealot” is the cults101 book I didn’t even know I was looking for. This is one of the few books that has made me genuinely laugh out loud, then recoil in horror just a few paragraphs later. I listened to the audiobook which Jo narrated herself and does a fantastic job.

    Renée Boyer

    Rated 5
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Jo Thornely

Jo Thornely has been writing opinion pieces, articles and recaps for over ten years, featuring in and on Marie Claire,, Yahoo7, The Women's Weekly, King's Tribune, The Punch and Madison, plus voice-over scripts for television and digital projects, pieces for Women Of Letters, Confession Booth and Erotic Fan Fiction, and co-writing Charlotte Dawson's Air Kiss and Tell: Memoirs of a Blow-Up Doll. She is obsessed with cults.

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