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Destroying the World to Save It

Destroying the World to Save It

Subtitled: Aum Shinrikyo, Apocalyptic Violence, and the New Global Terrorism

Since earliest history, prophets and gurus have foretold the world’s end, but only the nuclear age has made it possible for a megalomaniac guru with an apocalyptic vision to bring his prophecy to pass. Robert Jay Lifton offers a case in point in this chilling exploration of Aum Shinrikyo, the cult that released sarin nerve gas in the Tokyo subways.

With unprecedented access to former Aum members, Lifton has produced a pathbreaking study of the inner life of a millennial cult. He shows how Aum’s guru created a religion from a global stew of new age thinking, ancient rituals, and science fiction, then recruited scientists to produce weapons of mass destruction. Also taking stock of Charles Manson, Heaven’s Gate, and the Oklahoma City bombers, Lifton confronts the frightening possibility of a twenty-first century in which cults and terrorists are able to bring about their own holocausts.

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