This was one of the best recent books I've "read". The detailed research is unimpeachable.
L. Ron Hubbard has to be my favorite character. His story is about as unbelievable as the pulp he wrote in the 1930s: science-fiction writer turned self-help guru turned messiah. You can't make this stuff up!
Sellers brings out and enhances the narrative. His tempo is perfect, allowing the listener to picture everything happening while never feeling like the story is dragging.
The book made me laugh at the absurdity of Scientology, especially given the objective stance Wright gives to the religion. Wright goes to great lengths to place scientology in historical perspective. His epilogue examines Scientology in comparison to other religions, and he does a great job at explaining how questions of faith, from the perspective of someone outside the religion, always appear illogical and silly. This goes for Scientology as for Christianity. (Think of the virgin birth, for instance). And yet even with this disclaimer the belief system is so irrational, so unscientific (some events that the religion chronicles occurred before the beginning of the universe) that one has to chuckle at times when it is systematically described.
Moreover, Hubbard himself, as his biography reveals, is a charlatan of charlatans - in the end, maybe, even fooling himself.
This is a very informative book. Assuming it is true, LRH is an incredible individual with the power to convince people to follow him despite his numerous faults which included bigamy, kidnapping, excessive lying, and a tendency to elevate himself above the "crowd". And that is only some of his faults!!
The detail to which the author described LRH
Yes, very much so in my opinion
LHR's continual lying about his WW2 service record.... and the absolute proof that he was not where he claimed to have been. He was no war hero, but instead a coward.
This is the second book I have read about Scientology. This is much better researched and informative. Great read!!
Definitely, for those who love a story about a mysterious and evil cult.
The details uncovered were a great act of investigative journalism by the author. Well researched to give a fleshed-out picture of an insane and powerful cult. It portrayed our vulnerability as humans to belong and the exploitation of that weakness by sinister forces.
Absolutely, and I almost did.
I didn't want it to end!
Entertaining, well written, impeccably researched, this book reports both sides of the story, which makes it extremely clear who is telling the truth, and who is lying. The "Church" of Scientology is a massive fundraising operation skilled in deception, fraud and intimidation. It is amazing to read a book that really gets to the heart of the "religion" from its earliest roots to its present incarnation.
The real biography of L. Ron Hubbard is a fascinating story of a deeply disturbed, but yet enigmatically brilliant mind. It provides a picture of his life you just don't get from reading about him on wikipedia, and while it only forms a part of this in depth story, its an amazingly interesting part.
I knew the cult of Scientology was crazy but didn't realize the depth of the insanity nor did I realize the degree of torture that this "church" performs. Very informative. Looking forward to seeing the documentary that received rave reviews at Sundance.
Okay, I admit it, I am a sucker for books about the weird stuff people choose to believe in, and the origins of those beliefs, so I was definitely in the target audience for this book. I was fascinated by the details of LRH's biography (both the real and invented) and by the details of the Church's workings. But I have to admit, my favorite thing about the book was that, after every claim that might remotely raise an eyebrow, the author would drop a footnote: "[insert celebrity's name here]'s lawyers deny that [celebrity] ever __________." The narration was good, if occasionally monotonous (after all, how many times CAN you say "_____ denies ever doing ____"
I really enjoyed description of the accounts and personal relationship each person had with the church. Also that it was written as a storyteller and not a one-sided monologue. Really makes you think about your own spirituality too.
This could have been a great book, and parts of it were. But the author spent too much time on a small number of things, making the entire book drag on. Also, the reader had no inflection, making it difficult to listen to.
The first part of the book is the biography of L Ron Hubbard. I understand why he needs to be discussed, but there was just too much. I don't need to know every little detail about his life. It was tiring and rather boring.
The second section is early Scientology after LRH's death. A lot could have been done here. However, there was little coherence. Instead, the book jumped from topic to topic and person to person with no break in the flow. Perhaps it would have been better in book form, where spaces can be added between sections to mark breaks. As an audiobook, there is no obvious break, making everything flow together.
The last bit of the book could be called "The Tom Cruise section," since that's who is discussed more than anyone. I get that Cruise is a big-name Scientologist. Who cares? The book makes it clear that his experience with Scientology is very different from the normal person, so what is the point of discussing him so much? His experience is not an indication of what Scientology is like.