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THE MYTH OF ETHNIC WAR: SERBIA AND CROATIA IN THE 1990S V. P. Gagnon Jr. explains how the media myths of ``ancient hatred'' and primal ethnic loyalty conflicted with the facts on the ground -- facts about people negotiating ethnic and other identities as best they could.

ETHNICITY WITHOUT GROUPS Sociologists have long spoken of ethnic groups and nations as if they were massive blocks, taking up space and persisting through time. In this important book, sociologist Rogers Brubaker argues that ethnicity is a form of thought and perception, and that his colleagues need to accept this fact. An interesting proposal to link the psychology of individual subjective experience to the study of politics and culture. And a good preview to Brubaker's upcoming account of how a multiethnic village in Romania was experienced by its residents.

Why do the choices of cult members make sense to them? Janja Lalich draws on her own experience in a ``high commitment group'' to propose a new theory of this ultimate Us-Them experience.

Brings the brain to the subject of ``brainwashing'' -- how and where does this psychological experience manifest itself in the structures of the brain? A nice example of how the ``mind'' level of analysis, which speaks of emotions, memories and perceptions, is being combined with the ``brain'' level, where the concepts run to circuits, patterns of firing, and measurable physical changes over time.

MULTIETHNIC JAPAN The cliché is that Japan is a homogeneous society. Not so, argues John Lie.

DIVIDED KINGDOM Rupert Thomson's new novel plays with our supposedly separate notions of the human kinds used in politics, in ethnic perception, and in our thoughts about personality types. The book is set in a Britain organized according to the four ``humors'' of medieval psychology: You live and work among your fellow phlegmatics, cholerics, sanguines or melancholics.