Zealot: A book about cults (Paperback)

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'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

About the Author


Jo Thornely has been writing opinion pieces, articles and recaps for over ten years, featuring in and on Marie Claire, news.com.au, 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.

Praise For…


Written with a wonderfully irreverent sense of humour, the book has a serious aim, to instil 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

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
Product Details
ISBN: 9780733640506
ISBN-10: 0733640508
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Publication Date: September 8th, 2020
Pages: 304