NXIVM has been the subject of multiple docuseries and podcasts, but investigative journalist Berman’s account is a standout. With astute research, court testimonies, and firsthand narratives from inner-circle NXIVM members, she traces the downfall of NXIVM ... Berman demonstrates the tactics cults use to manipulate and control without casting judgment or blame on the victims. Truly gripping, this is the definitive book on NXIVM.
Journalist Sarah Berman brings her signature gimlet eye and impeccable reporting to the story of the NXIVM women in Don’t Call It a Cult, a chilling true crime account ... The book is a nuanced story that strays into big questions ... The book explores the subtle power exchanges and struggles within the group; it uses victims’ stories to explain how each person became enmeshed in NXIVM.
NXIVM has been covered extensively, but Berman sets her work apart with a deep dive into the history and growth of the organization and an empathetic look at the psychology of the victims. Given the wide interest in this story, this is a strong addition to true crime shelves.
Berman’s story, while riveting, becomes so bizarre and convoluted that it deserves a companion key—a book much like the explanatory key available for readers of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake ... Berman’s book is full of stories ... Both captivating and frightening, Don’t Call it a Cult will astonish most readers.
Not for the easily rattled, the author’s engrossing reportage meticulously reveals the tumultuous rise and fall of NXIVM after numerous criminal indictments and prosecutions. The author incorporates critical narratives from former members, laying bare their awful experiences ... 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.
...the definitive look at the NXIVM cult ... Berman’s rigorously sourced narrative brings this über-creepy story to life, and by waiting to publish until after the conclusion of Raniere’s trial, Berman has produced a more comprehensive account of the case than previous studies. This deep dive behind the headlines isn’t to be missed.