I bought this after hearing part of an interview with the author on public radio, and was so engrossed in it that I couldn't stop listening. While I knew a few things about Scientology, I knew next to nothing about L. Ron Hubbard, and it was fascinating to hear his history (particularly compared with the sanitized history put forward by the COS). Honestly, it was quite shocking to have to keep in mind that this man had somehow founded a powerful religion with a net worth in the billions. He frankly comes across (in his OWN WORDS) as a delusional, paranoid narcissist. I also recently read a book about Jim Jones and People's Temple, and I was really quite struck with the similarities between Jim Jones, L. Ron Hubbard, and David Miscavige. In fact, I found myself chuckling at the irony of L. Ron Hubbard having his empire more or less stolen by another charismatic charlatan.
It blows my mind that so many people could buy into such weird ideas, or that any such belief could persist after the first instance of abuse that is described as affecting all but the high-priority celebrities. I had no idea the COS was so endemically homophobic, or that there was any connection between it and Prop 8.
It was an eye-opening look at current celebrities and their relationship with the COS. I'm sure that Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Jenna Elfman, and others will be very upset about having some of their activities involving the Church detailed. (Travolta actually comes across as a fairly decent guy.) The story of the Church auditioning actresses for the role of "Tom Cruise's new girlfriend" was so sexist and appalling that I think I will henceforth refuse to ever watch another movie he's in. If it is in fact the case that he and other celebrities involved in Scientology are unaware of its abuses, it is only through willful blindness- and they should be ashamed of it.
I was curious about this book and then, once I started listening could not stop. Extremely well done - both the writing and the performance. If you have any curiosity about Scientology, you should check this out!
Its in the top tier of the many audiobooks I've listened to.
The stories of Hubbard and Miscavige were both fascinating to listen to.
Sometimes, the absurdities I heard made me burst out laughing. Many times I would just pause it and say something like, "Wow. I can't believe it. Did I just hear that? That's crazy!"
There are so many characters involved, so its hard to keep track of them. There are many stories that get revisited from different perspectives or to add new information. Its part of the appeal, but also makes it a bit challenging to keep up with everything. However, this book definitely has re-listen value to it. I know there are many things I missed. This is not due to the author. It is due to the complexity of Scientology. Indeed, the book tells the fascinating life stories of many people and simultaneously defines Scientology to the audience. It is a tall order for any author. I will listen to this one again.
this book left me with so many things to think about: the absurd danger of of ego, the evil effectiveness of repeating false(and bizzare) notions until no one questions whether they are true or not. I also found many similarities between the leaders of scientology and dictatorships like North Korea or Mao's China, and the soviet union. These guys seem to have the complete dictatorship package: fear, intimidation, ruthless execution of ideology and the Big Lie repetition.
Perhaps the hardest thing to understand was the clear pattern of pathological lying throughout Hubbard's life, most were easy to verify as false:
-he was a war hero(not)
-science fiction scenarios explaining the founding of the human race going back billions of years. These scenarios were very similar to his science fiction books...(did his followers take note of this before plunging in?)
-bigoted philosophical views on gays and jews which were eliminated later for PR reasons(yet the true feelings still seem to remain)
The most obvious evidence his religion might not be all he proposed was Hubbard himself: -Hubbard was clearly and admittedly very unhealthy, overweight, palsied, stained teeth from constant chain smoking, heavy drinking and was witnessed having violent unexplainable outburst of rage.
These are not the signs of someone who transcended disease and achieved "clear". He did not seem at all an example of what he proposed. He seemed by all accounts, a broken and sick man who never had a very good grasp of reality, and who progressively lost touch with it to the point of paranoia...
the book seemed balanced and well researched and Wright seemed to bend over backwards to show balance by inserting the churches reaction to each assertion(which was always to deny) and cited where he got his research repeatedly...it seemed transparent and I would have not finished it if I felt he had some kind of agenda...I don't like to read those kind of books
...this was a chilling and great read with greater implications than just scientology and its followers..but about how we as humans fill our voids with strange and dangerous notions without checking the source out enough, and paying the price.(virtually every top tier leader has "escaped" or been purged, then trashed by the church).
why do they still get recruits?
Perhaps my favourite of three books on Scientology abuse that I have listened to back-to-back over the past few months.
The author does a good job of documenting the history of Scientology, its eccentric (and I am being kind) founder L. Ron Hubbard, its celebrity connections in Hollywood, and the repeated physical and mental abuse by the church on its own members!
Avid listener and reader! Favorites are crime, mystery, thriller and paranormal. Medical science and some non-fiction as well.
Yes I would because it is very interesting to read about the upper hierarchy of Scientology and it's evolution.
Yes It was well researched and written.
He has a pleasant voice, it has good pitch.
This book is really a biography of L Ron Hubbard and not very much about Hollywood as the title would make one believe. It also differs from other books about Scientology in that it is about the executives and the upper tier of members running the Church. Other books are written by younger x-Scientologists for example and paint a different picture of this world. I found that reading this along with other books from different perspectives helped me really understand this religion which I was very curious about.It is a bit horrifying at times to believe these things are occurring in modern society and also how strongly people are "taken in" for lack of a better phrase. So cult like, I am almost afraid to write a review!
One of the best written books I've gone through in a long time.
I think the author was very thorough in his attempt to show Scientology in its true form. His presentation of the "facts" are able to be corroborated by many other accounts..
The evenhanded journalistic approach Lawrence Wright brought to this story was to me the best part. The religion manages to shed illusions and expose itself a monster without much coaxing at all.
Narrator was great, but subject matter was difficult. The first few hours of the audiobook that cover LRH's life were honestly kind of tedious to get through - I found it more relatable when the book started talking about people and situations I'd heard of. Overall it's a good read though, so if you're interested in the subject you should definitely check it out.
This well researched book sheds a lot of light on Scientology. Featuring L. Ron Hubbard and the many others involved in shaping Scientology into what it is today. Everyone even mildly interested in this movement or the characters involved with it should read this book. I was just mildly curious at the start but was shocked at how random events, and less than stable founders could come together and form an almost religion with thousands maybe millions of members and worth billions of dollars.
Read, or listen to, this book!!!