Born in 1953 near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the daughter of an Irish alcoholic man and a fundamentalist Christian mother who had escaped Nazi Germany, the author joined the Children of God religious cult right out of high school, first going to a commune in upstate New York. The leader, David Berg, a California native who called himself "Moses David," issued periodic newsletters to the faithful that got progressively stranger over time. Through most of the 1970s, Miriam lived in Europe, having babies (four, eventually), singing and begging for money from strangers, and regularly giving "God's love" to strangers with her body -- as commanded by the cult. Aside from its weird practices and the selfish infighting of believers, her story is remarkable for the way in which such oddballs managed to rub shoulders with the powerful and famous in places such as Nice and Monte Carlo; for example, Catherine Deneuve, Ringo Starr, Adnan Kashoggi, and Spyros Niarchos, the son of a hugely wealthy Greek magnate. The author had numerous child custody tussles with an ex-husband, the two of them kidnapping their son back and forth from each other -- but it was basically her love for her son Thor and concern about how other children of the cult were treated that got Miriam to stand up and get out. She eventually returned to college and secured degrees, and has since been helping other survivors of the cult. Her story, hair raising at it is, is told with admirable honesty and dignity, and a minimum of lurid detail.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus