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
“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)
The ravings of Hubbard got tedious at times. I do appreciate the authors attempts to explain what draws people to Scientology, but calling it a religion abuses our tax code. It was all rather exhausting and infuriating.
Always wondered about Scientology and the people in it. This is full of crazy and troubling info about the founding of and practices within this Religion. I could not put it down. In fact I think I'll listen to it again. But I am left with "where the hell is Shelly and why hasn't she been found? Scary stuff! Must read if only to expand your knowledge.
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Concise, diplomatic, incredibly well researched and the production is clear, and so easy to listen to. Epilogue was my favorite part. Great job on all accounts!
World Champion Parallel Parker
I bought this book for what I thought would be light and entertaining reading. However, it sucked me down into a whirlpool of sadism, abuse, lying, tyranny, and mind control. L. Ron Hubbard and his successor rank with Hitler and Stalin, lacking only opportunity to take a whole country. The first courageous journalist who tried to stand up to them nearly lost her life. It's terrifying how easily this can happen - all you need to do is gain access to some key public figures who will do your recruiting for you, suggest an air of mystery and superiority, then corner and brainwash your converts. At the same time I'm reading "Crowds and Power" by Elias Canetti, and this same thing has been done countless times before and will be done again. Thank god some converts were able to leave, live and tell their tales and for the journalists who put their lives on the line.
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.
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.
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.
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