Investigating Religious Terrorism and Ritualistic Crimes. By Dawn Perlmutter; published by CRC Press, 800/272-7737 (phone), www.crcpress.com (Web); 453 pages; $69.95.
It is said that the devil is in the details. That is literally the case in this fascinating primer on religious terrorism and ritualistic crime committed by fanatical groups such as Satan worshippers.
Perlmutter, director of the Institute for the Research of Organized and Ritual Violence, examines in detail groups and religions such as Odinism/Asatru (Germanic "heathenry"), the White Order of Thule (Aryan supremacism), and the Phineas Priesthood (a white-supremacist group, of sorts), depicting the violence their members have wrought.
It is alarming to glimpse the scope of such organizations, including millennial religions, groups practicing vampirism, and syncretic religions such as Santeria. One common sign of such possible activity in your backyard is the presence of the "Goth" movement, which author Dawn Perlmutter says draws the interest of youth to vampirism.
Particularly noteworthy are depictions of frequently used symbols and signs in movements such as white supremacy, as well as a comprehensive account of linguistic symbols, hieroglyphics, and details on such topics as magic candles and calendars.
This view of the "dark side" gives the devil its due. It is thorough, perceptive, and well-documented.
Reviewer: Mark H. Beaudry, CPP, is a senior security professional at IBM-SWG in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a member of ASIS International.