Cover image for Cult leaders
Cult leaders
Kellaher, Karen Burns, 1969-
Publication Information:
San Diego, CA : Lucent Books, [2000]

Physical Description:
111 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Profiles the lives and unusual teachings of six charismatic cult leaders: Mother Ann Lee, Father Divine, L. Ron Hubbard, Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones, and David Koresh.
Cults and their leaders -- Mother Ann Lee: The Shakers -- Father Divine: The Universal Mission Movement -- L. Ron Hubbard: The Church of Scientology -- Sun Myung Moon: The Unification Church -- Jim Jones: The Peoples Temple -- David Koresh: The Branch Davidians.
Reading Level:
1040 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 8.8 5.0 51533.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 8.5 7 Quiz: 20669 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL72 .K45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



At the heart of every cult is a convincing, charismatic leader. These leaders often exert firm control over the lives of their followers; some have claimed to possess special powers. The lives of cult leaders including Jim Jones, Sun Myung Moon, and David Koresh are explored here.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-9. This History Makers series entry profiles six cult leaders, from Shaker founder Mother Ann Lee to Branch Davidian leader David Koresh. An introduction examines the history of the word cult, general characteristics of cult leaders, and similarities and differences in their approaches. Lively, well-written, and informative accounts detail the leaders' personal histories, individual and group controversies, varying public responses, and how and why they gained followers, fame, and often wealth. Surprisingly, several of the individuals were known initially as public do-gooders--among them, Jim Jones, once named San Francisco's "Humanitarian of the Year." Photos show leaders, followers, and gatherings, including a somewhat unsettling shot of Jonestown massacre victims. Overall, this is an intriguing, well-rounded overview of controversial leaders whose followers believed in salvation at any cost. An annotated reading list and a bibliography offer extensive additional resources. --Shelle Rosenfeld

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-10-This informative and thought-provoking collective biography focuses on six charismatic leaders of religious movements in U.S. history. An introductory chapter explains the difficulty of defining the word "cult" and chooses the one used by social scientists and historians to refer to any religious group whose beliefs and practices are markedly different from the rest of society. Kellaher suggests some traits that cult leaders may share and notes the importance of constitutional protection for all religions. The author profiles Mother Ann Lee and the Shakers, Father Divine and the Universal Peace Mission Movement, L. Ron Hubbard and the Church of Scientology, Sun Myung Moon and the Unification Church, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, and David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. The biographies are sympathetic in tone and clear about each leader's strengths and weaknesses. Enough detail about history and beliefs is provided to give readers a solid introduction to each movement. The chronological sequencing will be helpful to students who may not yet have encountered the 20th century in history. Black-and-white photographs and drawings break up the text. Even-handed, detailed, attractively presented, and carefully attributed, this exemplary presentation makes a good companion to Joan Barghusen's more general Cults (Lucent, 1997).-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.