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The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult, from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia
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The Cult at the End of the World: The Terrifying Story of the Aum Doomsday Cult, from the Subways of Tokyo to the Nuclear Arsenals of Russia

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The brave new age of postmillennium terror is awakening and its harbinger is Aum Supreme Truth: a Japan-based global web of wired, technically expert New Age zealots armed with biologial weapons, driven by an apocalyptic vision of unprecedented destruction. With compelling immediacy, this book tells the terrifying story the cult reponsible for the Tokyo subway nerve gas at ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published May 21st 1996 by Crown (first published January 1st 1996)
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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  152 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
”Smart people don’t join cults.”

If you think this is a true sentiment I dare you to read this book, h*ck, any book about cults.

No. One. Joins. A. Cult.

People join things that speak to them. Save the world. Find inner peace. Strengthen your mind and body. Become a model. We have hot chics. We play awesome music. We are cool. We have the answers to everything. Simple answers, charismatic and authoritarian leaders, small things that seem to work in the beginning.

No one is too smart to be fooled. E
Amar Pai
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Aum Shinrikyo (click to prounounce) is literally incredible. After reading this book I had to fact check a lot of it via Google, cos I couldn't believe this really happened.

If you don't remember these guys-- they're the ones who did a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in the late 90's. But the story is much, much crazier than that. To cite one random fact-- at one point these guys were responsible for 50% of the world's LSD supply. They murdered a slew of people, infiltrated the
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of Aum Shinrikyo is astonishing. It had all the elements of failure in it - blind, sex-crazed self-proclaimed Jesus and yogic flyer who went from a room in Tokyo to 40,000 followers despite their own bumbling and self-interest.

It'd be almost funny if they weren't a millennial death cult which also undertook intensive chemical, biological and nuclear weapons research, used LSD and brain-zapping hairnets on their followers, microwaved dead members to goop which they then poured into nea
Stephen Kelley
Horror movies don't scare me, but things like the twisted plans of Aum Supreme Truth make my skin crawl. It's amazing that Aum got so entrenched into Japanese society that nobody could really do anything. Really makes me worry about how unsinkable the Church of Scientology is, and how awful it would be if they suddenly shifted more to the dark side.
May 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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Sarah Furger
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
This cult is fascinating and horrifying, but the book (published in 1996) didn't age as well as I'd hoped. I didn't know much about the Aum cult before my team missed a trivia question a few weeks ago. Informative, if a little dry.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016, 2018
It took me two years to trudge through this book. Interesting topic, boringly-written (and the language used is very timely for the 90s). I'd recommend listening to the Last Podcast on the Left's coverage of the affair before this book.
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have any interest at all in the history of Aum or cults in particular, this books is probably worth reading. Considering the behaviors and practices of Aum grew ever more brutal over time, be prepared for some graphic and disturbing content. While at times I found the catalog of information regarding finances and acquisitions overwhelming, these lists demonstrate just how rapidly Aum's sphere of influence grew both within Japan and internationally. I also found the critique of the Japanes ...more
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Crazy. Reads like an Onion article meets Vanity Fair exposé. Aum is basically Japanese Scientology in that it was and incredibly well-financed, lawsuit-happy cult based on techno-spiritual hokum. But its difference lies in that it truly wanted to bring about a doomsday so that it's enlightened members could rise from the ashes of the rest of the non-Aum world. Typical millenarian motivations. It's fascinating how much stuff they tried to bring the end-times about though. Cyanide gas, botulism po ...more
Mike Haefeli
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is crazy to believe that this book is non-fiction. A very sophisticated cult with the ability to manufacture and use chemical weapons. In subway stations in Korea and Japan, you'll notice huge glass cases full of gas masks and other chemical weapons first aid items - which always reminds me of this cult's culminating terror attack. Very good read for those interested in cults psychology or chemical weapons manufacture and use (definitely on the CBRN/NBC reading list).
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a very very interesting (and chilling) story. It was an excellent examination of the phsycology of a cult (Aum Shinrikyo), to compare and contrast to more well known cults in the western world. I found especially interesting the details about their biological and chemical weaponry development. However it was also extremely scary and make you think that if this happened more than 15 years ago, what could be happening now? One of my favourite books.
Oron Arbogast
Oct 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book for a Crisis Management class in grad school. It is a great, in depth review of Aum Supreme Truth's leader and how the cult grew. It also provides an analysis of the cult's physical, emotional and cultural power so the reader can understand why so many would be lead to a suicide cult.
Oct 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Not a cheering read, but a fascinating exploration of the demented cult responsible for the Tokyo subway poison gas attacks, why nothing was done to stop them - and some courageous people who stood up to the madness and paid with their lives.
Blaine Morrow
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good read, with lots of background on the cult and its leaders.
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