In this no-nonsense, informative book, Porterfield presents a broad overview of what she calls ""harmful"" cults, some 2,000 or so of which exist today. She begins with an account of the 1993 shootout and subsequent conflagration in Waco, Texas, between David Koresh's Branch Davidians and federal agents to illustrate how dangerous--even deadly--cults can be (although some may disagree with her flat statements about the Davidians). She defines cults, describes recruiting techniques, and gives examples of their activities and what members can expect, as well as what such groups demand of their members. The vital role of the charismatic leader is discussed, as is the type of person who may be most susceptible to joining up. Descriptions of real cults and leaders flesh out this material. It's fascinating reading that may also help teenagers recognize cults (and avoid them). A list of organizations and hotlines is included, as is a very brief (five titles) bibliography.