Julie Tibbott is an editor of teen fiction at a major publishing house. She lives on New York City's Lower East Side, once home to many organized crime syndicates, street gangs, and underground anarchists. She's not a member of any secret societies . . . or is she?
This title takes teens behind the shroud of secrecy that surrounds many exclusive groups. With detailed, engaging text and eye-catching photographs, this book will draw in those interested in little-known facts of the deliberately strange. Her short, almost encyclopedic chapters and dry wit will appeal to struggling readers. Despite the title, there are few pages devoted to cults. Moreover, the brief section on 'Killer Cults!' and the discussion of the Peoples Temple (whose members committed mass suicide in 1978), along with the inclusion of the violent, left-wing revolutionary group the Symbionese Liberation Army (known for kidnapping heiress Patty Hearst), seem out of place next to sections on bizarre but ultimately harmless groups, such as the Freemasons and the Knights Templar. While the scope of the information is vast and sharply rendered, the book lacks citations. Given this omission, this offering is suitable only for entertainment, rather than for scholarly work. VERDICT An appealing but nonacademic look into a wide variety of secretive groups.--School Library Journal-- "Journal"