From Publishers Weekly
By the time Japan's bizarre Aum Shinrikyo cult launched its 1995 nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, killing 12 and injuring thousands, the wealthy religious sect, which received generous tax breaks, had a global network of at least 37 companies, according to this exhaustively researched page-turner. Aum had acquired powerful lasers and was planning a military assault on Japan's parliament so that its bearded, near-blind leader, Shoko Asahara, a fanatical admirer of Hitler, could install himself as head of a new religious state. Asahara, now on trial for mass murder, recruited physicists, engineers and doctors into a crackpot New Age cult whose members popped LSD and wired shock-inducing electrodes to their heads while chanting mantras. Aum's hit squads allegedly abducted and murdered opponents and former members. Forging ties with yakuza (Japan's mafia) and KGB veterans, Aum attempted to get Russian nuclear weapons and prospected for uranium in Australia's outback. A superb job of reporting, this account unfolds like a scary cyberpunk thriller presaging a new era of high-tech terrorism, and it brings the cult into sharper focus than D.W. Brackett's Holy Terror (Forecasts, May 6). Tokyo-based reporter Kaplan wrote Yakuza and Fires of the Dragon (on the murder of Chinese-American journalist Henry Liu). Marshall is Asia correspondent for British Esquire. First serial to Wired; condensation rights to Reader's Digest.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Scientific American
(A) fascinating horror story... so outlandish and violent that it sounds like a Hollywood adventure movie. But it's a lot scarier than that: It really happened.
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