USC Alumni Association

New Titles

Escape: My Lifelong War Against Cults
by Morantz, Paul
USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, 1968, Gould School of Law, JD, 1971
Figueroa Press (2012)
Lancaster, Hal
USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, 1969

Unique in its scope and perspective, the book scrupulously details the origins and activities of nearly every major destructive cult this country has ever known, from the Charles Manson family to today’s Church of Scientology. But it also chronicles Mr. Morantz’s unique career and the deep personal losses he suffered because of it, including, nearly, his life. In the midst of a decade-long legal battle with Synanon, a once-acclaimed drug rehabilitation center that turned into a militaristic cult, he was bitten by a four-foot-long rattlesnake stuffed in his mailbox by followers of of the group. As the title implies, the book details his attempts to help victims escape from destructive cults and his subsequent legal battles with those entities, which led to landmark changes in the legal landscape surrounding this little-understood subject. At times tension-filled, at times funny, the book also raises a host of intriguing issues—from the misguided legal treatment of cult victims to the oddly cult-like behavior of our last two presidents.