Extremely well researched, detailed and balanced. this goes light years beyond the HBO documentary.
Level of detail - willingness and ability to reach out to the "other side" for commentary and include opposing opinions in footnotes.
If you want to know where Scientology came from and where it is now, get this book. Tells the story from the beginning and gives a fair summary at the end.
Terrifically well written, engaging, and nicely paced. Narration was a bit slow, but it was kind of fitting for the story, which includes many unknown terms for non-Scientologists.
Loved this book. Reminded me a lot of the books Double Down and Game Change. Lots of unflattering details and anecdotes that are both corroborated and disputed by several sources that are all appropriately cited and footnoted within the book. Most memorable throughline was reading about Paul Haggis joining and ultimately loudly leaving the church. Some of the greatest passages in the book came during some of the final paragraphs that describe the growing pains of any new religion, and the way that several others - Islam, Mormonism, the Amish, to name just a few - have survived and evolved long enough to be seen as more than inventions or forgeries or hotbeds for violence and instead are often rightly appreciated for the insights they have to offer, the values they espouse, and the traditions they try to pass on.
A comprehensive, evidence-based case against the corrupt (and certainly violent and probably sociopathic) leader of Scientology. And a compassionate, empathetic look at the motivations of ordinary Scientologist. The author makes a well supported case that most Scientologists are good people following their religious beliefs. Many of them, especially those involved with Seaorg, are certainly exploited and probably abused. The founder, L. Ron Hubbard comes across as a sincere yet disturbed charlatan. The current leader, David Miscavage, has a dark and corrupt history full of and manipulation. control of the organization is troubling. It is also deeply troubling how many celebrities in Hollywood refuse to take a critical look at this organization.
The narration is competent and understandable but monotone in the extreme making the data heavy narrative sometimes slow going.
Highly recommend it! Great flow, very informative and a good inside view of Scientology and its history. Good springboard to the HBO documentary too.