angry music fan
The author does her best to present the information in an unbiased manner, albeit the listener can't help but draw inevitable conclusions about the Church of Scientology from the facts and eye witness testimony presented within. The book begins with a history of LRH and how the church itself evolved over the years. Although most people will tend to be interested in the later stuff involving Tom Cruise (which is quite fascinating), the author does a good job of covering all aspects of the church's history.
Several themes crop up again and again, among them are the church's insatiable appetite for money collection, repeated use of lawyers to bully church "enemies", and the ultra-secretive nature of the church's "cannon". The author also shows the very subtle way that people are lured into the religion. At the surface the church promotes very practical applications of "LRH technology" such as auditing to rid the mind of unpleasant memories or reading/scholastic programs to help children learn. However, these are merely for show. At the heart of scientology is a manipulative program designed to draw people deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole until they end up turning over a significant portion of their income to the church.
All of this is done in a rather entertaining fashion with a really good narrator. Some parts were actually quite shocking. Highly recommended.
trying to see the world with my ears
This is a great listen for the social history detail of the period and also for following the development of a courageous man's thinking about moral issues: To arrive at nonviolence as a personal philosphy, and yet face circumstances where involvement in a violent plot is the "last resort" solution to a desperate situation becomes a moral choice! For me, Bonhoeffer is the great the icon of the 20th century, with all its moral dilemmas, and this bio does him justice. It also helps in understanding how otherwise good people -- so many of Bonhoeffer's fellow citizens -- slide into and rationalize immoral choices.
I hesistated to download this because I had found Metaxas' Amazing Grace to be a bit rambling and the tone a bit odd, but Bonhoeffer is both a stronger bio and is better narrated.
I'm an adult high school history teacher, and I am always amazed that most students (even those who know great detail of WWII battles etc.) have NEVER heard of Bonhoeffer. I hope this book and the deserved publicity it is getting change that. Nevermind Valhalla - Bonhoeffer's story deserves a Hollywood film all its own.