Losing Reality: On Cults, Cultism, and the Mindset of Political and Religious Zealotry
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About the Author
Robert Jay Lifton has written over twenty books, including many seminal works in the field such as the National Book Award-winning Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima and The Nazi Doctors, as well as The Climate Swerve and Losing Reality (both from The New Press). He has taught at Yale University, Harvard University, and the City University of New York. He lives in New York City and Wellfleet, Massachusetts.
Praise for Losing Reality
"Persuasive. . . . Unsparing. . . . Robert Jay Lifton returns to his classic works on the dangers of extremist cults and updates them with new material."
"At the core of this work is the problem of the ownership of our mind, a problem thrown into relief at those historical moments when it is challenged--by ideology, totalitarian politics, disinformation, cults, even social media. Psychiatrist and historian Robert Jay Lifton considers the psycho-politics of what he calls mental predation and how it can end up changing the way we see reality itself. Required reading for a necessary conversation."
--Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
"In this distillation of a lifetime of scholarship and wisdom, Lifton delineates the psychology of fanaticism, from isolated cults to vast totalitarian systems. A treasure for our time."
--Judith Herman, author of Trauma and Recover
"For decades, Robert Jay Lifton's work on the sources and dangers of inhuman zealotry--brainwashers, mass murderers, religious extremists, political cultists--has been a bulwark of democratic liberalism, a touchstone of public sanity. Now, with this selection of classic passages, in urgent combination with fresh reflections, Lifton has given us precisely what we need to understand, resist, and survive the unmoored chaos of the age of Trump. Lifton's writing, a long-established treasure, has never mattered more."
--James Carroll, author of The Cloister
"One of the world's foremost thinkers on why we humans do such awful things to each other."