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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief | [Lawrence Wright]

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.
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Publisher's Summary

A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than 200 personal interviews with both current and former Scientologists - both famous and less well known - and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.

At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige - tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.

We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.

In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.

©2013 Lawrence Wright (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“Brings a clear-eyed, investigative fearlessness to Scientology . . . a rollicking, if deeply creepy, narrative ride, evidence that truth can be stranger even than science fiction." (The Washington Post)

“A hotly compelling read. It’s a minutiae-packed book full of wild stories.” (The New York Times)

“An utterly necessary story. . . . A feat of reporting.” (The Wall Street Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    lauren bertram 03-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Enthralling"
    What made the experience of listening to Going Clear the most enjoyable?

    Having little knowledge beyond "Tom Cruise is a Scientologist", I came in with open eyes, wanting to learn more about the story behind this religion. The book does not disappoint, with the history of the Church laid out plainly but intelligently, allowing the listener to easily come to understand how LRH lived and how his deification by the Church's followers may be harmful.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan moyet Harrisburg PA 03-05-15
    Jonathan moyet Harrisburg PA 03-05-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Truth is stranger than fiction..."

    It won't take long to have your views on Scientology confirmed.The rest will be an eye-opening, gritty & unflinching account (from multiple sources) of an underestimated, manipulative & intimidating organization.I still struggle to understand the level of Stockholm syndrome & cognitive dissonance displayed by true believers worldwide.This is by far not the only major religion based on lies & exaggerated claims easily debunked ( Christianity etc); just a more recent one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darla Elenbaas 02-16-15
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    "Very good"

    Enjoyed this because I wanted to learn the Scientology history and any controversy involved. Certainly this is the book for precisely that. The first 1/2 isn't as interesting as the last 1/2, but necessary to understand the "religion" and basics.
    I gave it 4 stars only because the story goes back and forth instead of chronological order. I'm not sure if I was annoyed by that because it was audio or if would have also been annoying in hard copy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen 02-13-15
    Maureen 02-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "couldn't stop listening."

    This account of Scientology is the most comprehensive and accurate I've read. Great read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TJ 02-07-15
    TJ 02-07-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Very informative"

    An interesting look at Scientology. If only a fraction of the allegations are true then...wow. Both entertaining and sad.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gabriel LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 01-26-15
    Gabriel LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 01-26-15 Member Since 2010

    Criminal defense Lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read mostly non-fiction.....history, science, military biography. My quirky side likes Zombie Books? Will also pick up a fiction bestseller once in a while. Favorite movie: Being There

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    "Excellent work of investigative reporting"

    Mr. Wright is a master of getting to the bottom of things. "Going Clear" is no different. I downloaded this book after a recent visit to Clearwater, Florida. I was very amused when I saw the downtown area crawling with uniformed Scientologists. This made me curious, so I did some research and came upon Lawrence Wright's book. It's well worth the listen! If you're in any way curious about the secretive world of Scientology, this is the source.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Assaf Lavie 10-30-14
    Assaf Lavie 10-30-14
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    "Illuminating and hard to put down"
    If you could sum up Going Clear in three words, what would they be?

    Scientology is scary.


    Any additional comments?

    I went into this book thinking that scientology is some weird, relatively harmless religion. It is not. It's as terrifying as it is ludicrous.
    The book works hard be factual and unbiased, providing comments from people and organizations mentioned.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 10-15-14
    George 10-15-14

    Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo

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    "Scientology-The Inside Scoop"

    This is first rate reportage specifically about Scientology but generally also about faith based belief by one of our best investigative journalists. Is Scientology a religion? a cult? a commercial enterprise? What is the difference? What is the role of religion and celebrity in contemporary American life? These are central questions in this excellent book. There's a lot of Hollywood gossip packed in it too which makes for an easy read/listen. The wacky underpinnings of Scientology are explored and juxtaposed against more conventional faith based creeds and the listener is left to question how, and to what extent, Scientology is any wackier than traditional (conventional) religious forms. The Scientology leadership comes across as lacking all credibility, which is not to say that the reportage is biased. In fact, Wright goes out of his way to give Scientology a fair shake. He reveals the extent to which Scientology has recruited many intelligent, sincere and accomplished believers. He also reveals that the system has helped more than a few people live better lives. Yet he does not shy away from revealing Scientology's dark side which he convincingly derides as a "prison of belief" which has led to the subjugation of many of its less celebrated adherents. Tom Cruise figures prominently in the book. His symbiotic relationship with Scientology is revealed at great length. Given Scientology's propensity to sue and its history of intimidation, Wright, Knopf and the New Yorker deserve Kudos for publishing this important work. I thought that Sellers' narration was good but nothing exceptional.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ladyface 09-27-14
    Ladyface 09-27-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Fascinating topic, dull writing"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The extent of Wright's research is impressive but he somehow made an engrossing subject...boring. It begins as a chronology of the founding of the church and then devolves into a catalogue of abuses. If there's an abridged version that might be worth listening to.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The first person accounts.


    Was Going Clear worth the listening time?

    No. An abridged version might be.


    Any additional comments?

    I wanted to like this book. I really liked the first half but it just went on and on and became monotonous.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly 03-22-14
    Kimberly 03-22-14
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    "Interesting but laborious"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes because relevant and revealing.


    Would you recommend Going Clear to your friends? Why or why not?

    Depends on friend's interest .


    What three words best describe Morton Sellers’s voice?

    Ok. Why use only one narrator?


    Do you think Going Clear needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Not sure


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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