I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
This was a great book. I really found myself unable to put this down. I somewhat expected a dry, one sided, hatchet job. Instead this was detailed story starting with the early life of the clearly troubled founder of Scientology and continuing to the present day. I fully enjoyed the reading of every footnote. I did not really expect to, but I learned a lot. The writing and the narration were both quite compelling.
I have not been a fan of Scientology since a friend of mine joined, and after a few years called me having just escaped penniless and only wearing his underwear out of a window after a many hour auditing session with several people pointing out body thetons on him that were visible to them but not visible to my friend. I agree many of the ideas of Scientology are no weirder than any other religion, and I always thought the basic idea of auditing sounded interesting and potentially useful, but there does seem to be a pattern of secrecy and intimidation not seen elsewhere. This book presents a pattern of paranoia, violence; control, and hypocrisy with an intensity that is truly shocking. I would recommend anyone thinking about Scientology to read this book first.
This book is intentionally very repetitive, retelling very slightly different rituals and myths from one culture after another, for hours. The book follows the slow path of belief from simple magical thought, to rituals, to myths explaining the rituals, and finally to religions. The book demonstrates a wide spread and repeating pattern of ritual and myth regarding the killing and resurrection of a god.
The author uses a few outdated terms, like “savages”, to describe tribal people and beliefs, but the author was clearly trying to be unbiased and respectful to each of the cultures he covers.
This was well worth listening to understand the similarity of myths across a variety of cultures plus I saw how influential this book was on western literature. Clearly Durant was greatly influenced by this book as were many, many, others.
The narration is good, but slightly dry. This is really not a book for everyone. I enjoyed listening as rituals and myths mutate slowly from one form to another. The author’s passion for the subject was impressive and enjoyable.