Why do we need to know about cult leaders? Because anyone can be manipulated by them. From the rich and famous to the poor and lonely, people believe in the worlds created by these extraordinarily charismatic and persuasive manipulators. But promises of a better life often lead to something dark, traumatic, or even fatal. Feature articles, op-ed pieces, and obituaries tell the stories of five of the most infamous cult leaders in American history: Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heaven's Gate founder Marshall Applewhite, and Nxivm's Keith Raniere. Readers will learn about the people who sacrificed everything to follow them. Media literacy terms and questions deepen readers' understanding of reporting styles and devices.