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Publisher's Summary

An Instant National Best Seller

"Don't Call It A Cult is the most detailed, well-reported, and nuanced look at NXIVM's history, its supporters, and those left destroyed in its wake. If you want to understand NXIVM - and other groups like it - reading Sarah Berman's account is essential." (Scaachi Koul, best-selling author of One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter)

They draw you in with the promise of empowerment, self-discovery, women helping women. The more secretive those connections are, the more exclusive you feel. Little did you know, you just joined a cult.

Sex trafficking. Self-help coaching. Forced labor. Mentorship. Multi-level marketing. Gaslighting. Investigative journalist Sarah Berman explores the shocking practices of NXIVM, an organization run by Keith Raniere and his high-profile enablers (Seagram heir Clare Bronfman; Smallville actor Allison Mack; Battlestar Galactica actor Nicki Clyne). In her deeply researched account, Berman unravels how young women seeking creative coaching and networking opportunities found themselves blackmailed, literally branded, near-starved, and enslaved. With the help of the Bronfman fortune Raniere built a wall of silence around these abuses, leveraging the legal system to go after enemies and whistleblowers.

Don't Call It a Cult shows that these abuses looked very different from the inside, where young women initially received mentorship and protection. Don't Call It a Cult is a riveting account of NXIVM's rise to power, its ability to evade prosecution for decades, and the investigation that finally revealed its dark secrets to the world. It explores why so many were drawn to its message of empowerment yet could not recognize its manipulative and harmful leader for what he was - a criminal. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Sarah Berman (P)2021 Viking

What the critics say

“Sarah Berman is absolutely fearless in Don’t Call It a Cult. Her determination to not only tell the difficult, often disturbing story of NXIVM, but tell it right, shines through in every aspect of this gripping book. I simply could not put it down.” (Alicia Elliott, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground)

"Berman’s rigorously sourced narrative brings this über-creepy story to life . . . This deep dive behind the headlines isn’t to be missed." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"...investigative journalist Berman front-loads her startling, comprehensive exposé on the NXIVM group with key information on how the association became popular yet remained elusive to law enforcement...the author’s engrossing reportage meticulously reveals the tumultuous rise and fall of NXIVM after numerous criminal indictments and prosecutions...File this alongside Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear and Jeff Guinn’s The Road to Jonestown...An incendiary, serpentine report on criminal manipulation of staggering proportions."  (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) 

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