Manhattan Cult Story: Abuse, Crime, Sex, and My Life inside a Secret Organization

Arcade: Skyhorse. Jul. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781950994557. $26.99. CRIME
In 1989, Schneider, a blogger at, joined School, a cult run by Sharon Gans in Manhattan. Members of School are taught techniques which claim to help them achieve a higher state of mind and Schneider outlines the core teachings and recruitment methods. However, Gans manipulated her followers’ insecurities and controlled their personal lives, even dictating their relationships. Schneider chronicles his time with School, showing how he became susceptible to recruitment during a vulnerable period in his life and was coerced into staying in the cult until 2013. Each School member was expected to attend weekly classes, endure abusive behavior and cut ties with outsiders. He details the methods by which Gans controlled him and other members and forced them to do things for her including forced labor at her Montana retreat. Schneider has keen insight into Gans and shows the extent of her power and need to control others. Finally, Schneider reveals how he left the cult, and details offenses that he believes Gans committed until her death in 2021.
VERDICT A highly personal account of a cult survivor.
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