From School Library Journal
Grade 8-10 According to the first three essays, Satanic ritual abuse of children, intimidation of cult members, and the irresistible lure of youth to this practice are all real and serious threats to society. The next two essays support modern Satanism as a legitimate and nonthreatening religion. The remaining four are devoted to the idea that claims of ritual abuse are unsubstantiated, Satanists' role in crime is exaggerated, and societal forces have contributed to what is known as "Satanic panic." One of these is a report of a sociologist's observations of and interviews with members of a teen cult. The language used by cult members makes liberal use of words that would make most parents cringe. Yet this authenticity bears out the sociologist's contention that cult members are social outcasts who revel in their rebellion against the dominant culture. A bibliography of books and periodical articles supplements the generous lists of notes and references appended to several of the articles. Full contact information and a clear description of programs and activities are given for each of the 11 "Organizations to Contact." The list includes Satanic as well as Christian groups and cult-monitoring organizations. As an introduction to the psychology behind these groups in North America, this is a reasoned and relatively neutral treatment. -Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6-12. As stated in the introduction, and reiterated by several essayists throughout this entry in the At Issues series, Satanism is not merely the amalgamation of anything not Christian, Judaic, or Islamic. Instead, the modern Church of Satan is a singular religion formed in San Francisco in 1966 by Anton LaVey. With only nine primary tenets, the church is admittedly hedonistic, but, as argued in the bulk of the text, nothing like the child-abusing, animal-sacrificing, blood-drinking ritualistic manifestation of evil as often portrayed in the media. In nine essays, mostly professors and psychiatrists explore Satanism's rituals, its influence on youth (Church members must be 18 to join), its association with certain crimes, and the social and cultural forces that make its credos intriguing to some teens. Particularly enlightening is an excerpt from the Church of Satan's Advice to Youth, which both allays some concerns about what the church wants of new, young members and also clarifies some of the Church's perspectives on society, life, and humankind. Throughout, the arguments are even-tempered, the information straightforward, and the details unsensationalized. Roger LeslieCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved