Tracing Scientology from its beginning to the present, this book answers many of the questions I've had about this strange belief system, beginning with a look at its founder, L. Ron Hubbard.. Also fascinating: the trial of the Florida woman whose death is, apparently, directly attributable to Scientology -- and the celebrity campaign. The book makes it clear that this is a business, not a religion - and one that employes the most brutal and cutthroat tactics to ensure its profitablilty.
One drawback to listening to (instead of reading) this book is that every time David Miscavige (the current head of Scientology) is mentioned by his last name only (hundreds of times!), my split-second reaction was "now WHO is Miss Caviage?" before snapping back with an "oh yeah, that guy". I spent too much time dwelling on other ways the name could have been pronounced (or misprounounced) to prevent that. I wish the author had just referred to him as "David"! But that's just me!
What a fascinating book!
My son, a ceaseless searcher and student of philosophies, told me a few years ago that he had looked into Scientology, but they didn't welcome him into the fold because he didn't have any money. I'm sure glad they turned him down! After reading this book, I had to wonder if they also recognized that he was too intelligent to swallow what they offered and could end up being another whistle-blower.
Some of the stories in the book are so disturbing, I wonder how Scientology is still "in business" today! People have died, others have been imprisoned, and others driven to insanity by this "religion", yet people still join and drain their resources for what is on offer. By the way, the current head of this tax-exempt "church", David Miscavige, has a net worth of $50 million!
If you wonder about Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and other celebrity Scientologists, they're all in here! (And I still love them just as much - especially Tom!) Trivia Challenge: What celebrity visited a Scientolotgy center and loudly scoffed at the philosophy and saw it as a money pit that could make you insane. Hint: He attended with his Scientologist girlfriend, Peggy Lipton (of the Mod Squad). Give up? Elvis Presley! Long live the King!
I'm a trucker of nearly 25 years. Listening to the radio is a matter of habit for me, but hearing the same songs over and over and OVER again became old. Audio books help those miles roll by faster!
L. Ron Hubbard was incredibly bold to use a person's hope and faith in continued life after death to make as much money as possible. The more money a "parishioner" pays, the quicker they "cross" the bridge of immortality. The ultimate scam.....Research of the book appears very thorough and includes views of the controversial religion from both positive and negative points of view.
I have always been curious about "what the heck is Scientology?" This book revealed a great many secrets and very disturbing stories about this group. How it got to be called a Religion or a church is still beyond me as there is no mention of God, Buddha, Jesus, Zoroaster, Moses, Mohammed, Krishna, Baha'u'llah, not even Confucius! What I gather is the label of "Church" is for collecting money for classes and calling it tax deductible. Well written and researched. A story that needs to be told. You will be amazed that this is going on and legal in America. Whew
I was born in Clearwater and raised in the general area so it was interesting to read more about all the people I used to see walking around in the same suits all the time growing up. I really have nothing against Scientology, it's a free country (well used to be anyways) so do whatever you want.
With that said it's pretty amazing anyone would take this "religion" seriously. Most religions are pretty silly however or just flat out dangerous, for example Muhammad's parents were rock farmers (look it up) and he married a 6 year old and consummated the marriage at 9 -- he's a pretty awful person and the story of that religion is truly disturbing. However since it's old enough people believe in it --Scientology is newer so it gets mocked more. However if I had to live in Clearwater or Mecca, well I think everyone knows which I'd choose.
Anyways the book is quite entertaining and provides a good background on Scientology, there is so much covered and I don't want to give anything away so I'll just leave it at that.
The reader does a great job hitting in setting the proper tone for the book.
I had no real interest in Scientology itself, just about it's background and this book did a great job of fulfilling those requirements.
Non-fiction audiobooks can be challenging because the material can be a bit dry, but it was still an interesting listen.
I would recommend this book for those interested in the subject matter (and who isn't?). It isn't the "unbiased" book it states it intended to be, but still worthwhile
I do think this would have been as interesting a read as it was a listen.....listening to the audiobook was a convenience, but not an improvement on the material, I think.
Interesting subject matter and competently read, for those interested in the subject.
Detailed investigative look at Scientology, and exciting from start to finish. It was like a train wreck that I could not turn away from. Just when you thought it could not possibly get any wackier--well...buy the book...
I never read the print version.
Alice in Wonderland. Things get weirder the further in you get.
He brings a nice cadence to the story.
Janet Reitman says at the beginning that she is trying to present a fair and objective history of Scientology.
In spite of her best efforts, she can't dispel the notion that you can't spell "crazy" without "Scientology."
I was absolutely shocked at what actually goes on inside Scientology. The various ex-members and insiders perspectives were eye opening and literally jaw dropping. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what L. Ron Hubbard was, Dianetics, etc. This is NOTHING like what I thought, NOW I understand why the secrecy. Absolutely appalling, I can't figure out whether it's more of a business scam or more of an emotionally and physically abusive cult. But one thing it's NOT is religion. I also liked that it walks the listener through the years from beginning to current day, so you can really get an idea of how things changed over the years and after Hubbard died.
I had never heard the horrific story of Lisa McPherson. This was probably the most memorable and saddest part of the entire book. I don't want to spoil the story, but it's appalling what this devoted member went through. I plan to read more about her on the internet, but the book gives a very good summary. Also, the outright abuse and neglect of members was shocking. Members literally trapped from escaping, being fed only beans and rice, emotionally tortured, forced abortions, forced divorces, forced to sleep under tables and give every penny they had to the "church". The only thing missing from this story was the Kool-Aid.
The narration was perfect. No complaints. Clear, serious tone due to the serious nature, and good tones of sarcasm when appropriate. So good I kept forgetting he was not the actual author, but only the narrator.
Again, the story of Lisa McPherson was tragic and shocking. I still can't believe they got away with what they did. Several other former member stories were moving and sad. People going bankrupt by the pressure to give every penny they had, and many of them just treated like slaves.
This book was incredibly eye opening. Of course the "church" denies many of the claims, but when you hear the repeated accounts, along with actual proven records, I have no reason to believe it isn't true. I also previously knew nothing about David Miscavige, who led the "church" after Hubbards' death. An ego maniacal abusive, manipulative narcissist who clearly viewed this as a cash scam and ran it like a spoiled brat tyrant. I HIGHLY recommend this audiobook to anyone concerned about, interested in, or wanting to know more about what goes on behind the "secret doors". When you hear what goes on, it's no wonder they're so secretive.
As unbiased as was possible, considering the subject. Way too involved for the casually interested, like myself. I confess I skipped many chapters.
He did a fine job but I would have preferred a woman in this instance, since it was authored by a woman.
I thought this would be more about Ms. Reitman's personal experience with Scientology and how it may have helped or not been helpful in her experience. The preview indicated this.
I would buy this again only if I had a very deep and passionate interest in Scientology, either for or against.