Jonestown, Waco, and Heaven's Gate resonate in the contemporary mind in the same way that Masada or Mount Tabor resonated in the minds of others long past. The members of these movements believed that the end of the world was at hand and that they had to act through violence or suicide to ensure its occurrence. Frederic Baumgartner explores the long, often violent, history of millennialism as it has affected Western civilization. From ancient Zoroastrians to Concerned Christians of 1998, a belief in the imminent end of the world and the coming of the new age has motivated hundreds of sects and cults, some of which have burned out in an orgy of violence to become a permanent part of Western history.
Frederic J. Baumgartneris Professor of History at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg. He is the author of many books including Louis XIIand France in the Sixteenth Century.
A lucid and readable survey of the many varieties and permutations of millennialism in Western thought. Paul Boyer, Author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture