Lawrence Wright is an excellent author. His "Looming Tower" should be read by everyone with an interest in the Middle East and its problems. This book was not in the same league. As a mini-bio of L.Ron Hubbard, it was interesting. The rest of the book got sort of tiresome, due to the fact that the disaffected members of this cult seemed to have pretty much the same issues. The stuff about the Hollywood folks was mildly interesting, in terms of Entertainment Tonight kind of gossip.
Mainly, this book struck me as a very good magazine article that was lengthened into a book and suffered from the additions.
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.
I would not, as the footnotes included in the audio version can sometimes be a distraction from the history it tells.
The details the author was able to come up with, as well as his clear effort to get the Scientology side of the story. While critical, it is not without sympathy in its own way to LRH and some of what the church has done.
The narrator was exceptionally good. The epilogue to the book provides context and balance. This organization is truly scary, and having a good, journalistic investigation is eye-opening.
Yes! I loved this book and I will most definitely listen to it again. I have also encouraged my family and friends to read or listen.
The most compelling aspect was the murder in ClearWater Florida and finding out what people were involved. It was one small part of the book but it was amazingly fascinating.
I wish I could have listened to this all in one sitting! I did not want to stop listening!
This book provides fascinating insight into the world of Scientology. Because the writer himself is not an ex-Scientologist his point of view is unbiased. All of the biased feelings of ex members are filtered through his perspective. The book therefore provides a very educated view on the "church".
Such an extensive and thoroughly researched book on scientology and general religion. I would highly recommend it to everyone, though those would benefit the most from it will not likely get to it.
Shocking, Illuminating, Engrossing,
Focus on Paul Haggis gives us an example of a well-known person who fell under the spell of Scientology, discovered the abounding cruelty of it, and ultimately got out
Sellers reads with crisp authority but also at a snail's pace. I eventually listened at 2.0x, and it barely felt faster than I would expect from normal speech.
Scientology is so much worse than you ever imagined
I am a fan of Lawrence Wright, whose specialty is investigative journalism focused on religion. As with his other works, Going Clear is meticulously researched relying on interviews with Scientology spokespersons, former members, church documents as well as the public record. What you get is a history of Scientology, a bio of its founder L. Ron Hubbard, and insight into its tenets, practices, and purported abuses. There is a particular focus on the church’s cultivation of celebrities and the story of screenwriter/director/disaffected member Paul Haggis provides a narrative focus. The audiobook is critical of Hubbard and Scientology though Wright takes pains to present both sides where possible and to his credit approaches the material with a journalist’s impartiality. One criticism I have of the book is that it quickly leaps from Hubbard’s writing of Dianetics to Scientology having been established, leaving me to fill in the details of how the movement took hold/expanded and Hubbard grew rich. Despite this, Going Clear is a fascinating and entertaining read that demystifies Scientology, though its adherents will probably feel otherwise.