Apocalypse Observed is about religious violence. By analyzing five of the most notorious cults of recent years, the authors present a fascinating and revealing account of religious sects and conflict. Cults covered include:
* the apocalypse at Jonestown
* the Branch Davidians at Waco
* the violent path of Aum Shinrikyo
* the mystical apocalypse of the Solar Temple
* the mass suicide of Heaven's Gate.
Through comparative case studies and in-depth analysis, the authors show how religious violence can erupt not simply from the beliefs of the cult followers or the personalities of their leaders, but also from the way in which society responds to the cults in its midst.