Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism

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In Cultish, Amanda Montell digs into the language that drives the engine of cults and “cultish” organizations. Montell turns her attention to everything from bona fide cults like The Family and Scientology to the cult-like environments found in SoulCycle classes and multi-level marketing communities, offering a linguist’s take on how these groups draw in members—and keep them in. Along the way, she muses on why cults have appeal, both for the people drawn into them and the people who are eager to learn everything they can about them.

Cultish is well-researched and well-written, covering a wide range of cultish groups in a highly readable way. The analysis Montell offers, however, sometimes feels a bit one-note—as she turns from section to section, the same takeaway seems to emerge again and again. This continuity in itself is not problematic, but I found myself wishing for a deepening of the linguistic analysis as the book continued. At times, Montell glances over different cults and cultish groups in ways that left me wanting more depth and detail, since the mysterious workings of cults is, after all, deeply fascinating. Overall, Cultish is a well-done look at a range of cultish groups that, despite its shortcomings, will appeal to readers hoping to understand more about why cults are so transfixing.

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Author Amanda Montell
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Harper Wave
Publish Date 15-Jun-2021
ISBN 9780062993151 Buy this Book
Issue September 2021
Category Religion