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      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

      FEBRUARY 1, 2011                                                                                                                      FEBRUARY 1, 2011

CULT CLASSIC RETURNS

Conway & Siegelman’s SNAPPING
Now Available in Kindle E-Book Edition

Downloadable e-book format of expanded second edition brings
authors’ award-winning writing and research
to a new generation and readers worldwide

NEW YORK, February 1, 2011 – The expanded second edition of SNAPPING: America’s Epidemic of Sudden Personality Change, by Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman, the seminal work on the methods and effects of cult ritual practices and control techniques, is now available in the Kindle e-book format at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Conway and Siegelman’s groundbreaking investigation in SNAPPING was the first to call attention to the pandemic of sudden, drastic personality changes that has brought a new era of human loss and tragedy to America and cultures worldwide. The book was first published in June 1978, six months before the Peoples Temple massacre in Jonestown, Guyana, that left a U.S. Congressman and more than 900 others dead in a frenzied ritual of murder and mass suicide. In the years that followed, the authors’ term “snapping” entered the lexicon as a description of a sudden personal change that leads to violent or self-destructive acts.

In 1995, Stillpoint Press published an expanded and updated second edition of SNAPPING just as this baffling phenomenon was beginning to erupt on a global scale. Today incidents of snapping are being reported among zealous cult members, fundamentalist extremists of many faiths, radical anti-government ideologues, participants in popular self-help, professional training and stress reduction programs—and, increasingly, among people in everyday life situations. In SNAPPING, the authors show how potent ritual practices, covert mental and emotional control techniques, new personal growth and training practices, and intense real-life stresses may undermine the brain’s information-processing powers and lead to altered awareness, impaired thinking, feeling and free choice, post-traumatic stress disorders, grand delusions, and violent destructive acts.

Conway and Siegelman span the history of snapping, from its roots in age-old mystical practices into the new era of manipulative cults and other controversial groups and movements, like the Unification Church (“Moonies”), the Church of Scientology, extreme Christian sects, political groups, and spinoffs of Eastern religions. They trace the worsening conflicts and violent clashes between cults and their surrounding societies: from the 1969 Manson Family murders, to the 1978 Peoples Temple massacre, to the disastrous 1993 siege and conflagration at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.

The second edition of SNAPPING also includes the complete findings and statistical profile from Conway and Siegelman’s award-winning study—the first of its kind—which uncovered more than twenty recognized symptoms of mental and emotional disorder among former members of 48 North American cults, fundamentalist sects, and self-help enterprises. Those symptoms include: problems of disorientation, dissociation, recurring nightmares, daytime “flashbacks,” hallucinations, delusions, uncontrollable episodes of “floating” in and out of altered states, debilitating emotions of fear, guilt, anger, and plaguing repetitive thought patterns that persisted, in some instances, for up to twelve years after individuals had left their groups! The authors describe possible neurological and neurochemical pathways of these new information-processing disorders, and they confirm that the controversial intervention known as “deprogramming” may reduce the severity and duration of those symptoms by up to one half.

A new postscript tracks the ominous “turn to terror” that began in the 1990s with the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Oklahoma City bombing by anti-government extremists and the poison gas attack in the Tokyo subway by Japanese Aum Shinrikyo cultists in 1995, and the global rise of extremist terror cells of many persuasions. The second edition, published before the Al Qaeda terror attack on America on September 11, 2001, describes many of the same mental and emotional control methods extreme religious-political sects are using today to recruit, convert and control their followers, to train and deploy furtive “sleeper” cells poised for action, and to unleash terrorists and suicide bombers on innocent civilian populations around the world.

Conway and Siegelman unveil a hidden dimension of this expanding universe of terror and tragedy: the intimate domain of human communication where the snapping phenomenon is occurring, where its unprecedented changes of mind and personality are communicated from one person to many others via every new medium of communications technology, and where the escalating threats of snapping to all our freedoms are being translated into deadly real-world action. They make a persuasive case for recognition of the new modes of mental illness today’s most extreme instances of snapping may give rise to and call for new laws and precedents to safeguard freedom of thought. Their seminal work offers new ways to think about and counter this mushrooming threat to the mental health and security of America and every civilized society.

“We’re pleased to bring the historical events and scientific documentation in SNAPPING to a new generation and readers worldwide in the Kindle e-book format,” Conway and Siegelman said in a statement released with the new digital edition. The pair said they waited to release their book for Kindle until the evolving e-book technology was capable of reproducing the detailed charts that supplement their research findings and the graphic models from “catastrophe theory” and “chaos theory” they draw on to illustrate the communication dynamics of the snapping phenomenon. 

“As the twenty-first century unfolds,” they note, “the growing power of information and communication to change the beliefs and behavior of individuals, groups, and whole societies has become an issue of urgent concern for people everywhere. SNAPPING makes clear that many ‘senseless acts’ by people who have snapped and committed some unspeakable crime are not so senseless after all. Only by understanding these individuals and the historic events in which they have played an often unwitting part can we hope to prevent more tragic incidents in the future.”

The print edition of SNAPPING can be ordered online and purchased at bookstores across the United States and Canada. The Kindle edition can be ordered through Stillpoint Press at stillpointpress.net or direct from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk. The Kindle e-book format can also be read on personal computers, iPads, iPhones, iPods, and BlackBerry and Android phones, using free Kindle Reader software and “apps” available for download from Amazon and Apple’s iTunes store.

About Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman

Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman are journalists and communication researchers who have been studying the human consequences of new communication techniques and technologies for three decades. Their work has won praise from legal, educational and mental health professionals. They have lectured at more than 40 colleges and universities and addressed numerous scientific and professional associations, civic groups, and community organizations, and they have long been familiar figures in the American media. They have testified in Washington at joint U.S. House-Senate hearings on cults and their dangers. Their research has won awards and recognition from the National Mental Health Association and the International Communication Association.

In March 2000, they received the Leo J. Ryan Award, from the national educational foundation named in honor of the U.S. Congressman who lost his life in Jonestown, Guyana, for their “extraordinary courage, tenacity, and perseverance in the battle against tyranny over the mind of man.”  In 2009 and 2010, their research was cited in presentations by Rick Ross, executive director of the Ross Institute for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements, at two international symposiums in China sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Destructive Cults in China and the Institute of Religious Studies of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Conway and Siegelman are members of the Advisory Board of the Ross Institute.

For more information contact: publicity@stillpointpress.net .

 

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