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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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  •  
    P. Hall FL 02-02-14
    P. Hall FL 02-02-14 Listener Since 2010

    Phyllis H.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well writtent and balanced view"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This gives a "biography" of the etiology of the church of Scientology, a topic I was curious about since I have heard so much in the press about it especially with movie star involvement. The author presents a balanced view with comparisons to other new religions. The fact check information at the end was especially interesting.


    What about Morton Sellers’s performance did you like?

    The reading performance was eloquent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa United States 01-15-14
    Teresa United States 01-15-14 Member Since 2010
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    "Fascinating..."

    I was curious about this book and then, once I started listening could not stop. Extremely well done - both the writing and the performance. If you have any curiosity about Scientology, you should check this out!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helios Houston, tx 01-05-14
    Helios Houston, tx 01-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "I couldn't put it down."
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Its in the top tier of the many audiobooks I've listened to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The stories of Hubbard and Miscavige were both fascinating to listen to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Sometimes, the absurdities I heard made me burst out laughing. Many times I would just pause it and say something like, "Wow. I can't believe it. Did I just hear that? That's crazy!"


    Any additional comments?

    There are so many characters involved, so its hard to keep track of them. There are many stories that get revisited from different perspectives or to add new information. Its part of the appeal, but also makes it a bit challenging to keep up with everything. However, this book definitely has re-listen value to it. I know there are many things I missed. This is not due to the author. It is due to the complexity of Scientology. Indeed, the book tells the fascinating life stories of many people and simultaneously defines Scientology to the audience. It is a tall order for any author. I will listen to this one again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crusader Palm Springs, CA, United States 11-18-13
    Crusader Palm Springs, CA, United States 11-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Awesome book regarding Scientology!"

    Perhaps my favourite of three books on Scientology abuse that I have listened to back-to-back over the past few months.

    The author does a good job of documenting the history of Scientology, its eccentric (and I am being kind) founder L. Ron Hubbard, its celebrity connections in Hollywood, and the repeated physical and mental abuse by the church on its own members!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Hyde Park, Morocco 11-15-13
    Amy Hyde Park, Morocco 11-15-13 Member Since 2014

    Avid listener and reader! Favorites are crime, mystery, thriller and paranormal. Medical science and some non-fiction as well.

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    "Wrong Title"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes I would because it is very interesting to read about the upper hierarchy of Scientology and it's evolution.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Lawrence Wright? Why or why not?

    Yes It was well researched and written.


    What about Morton Sellers’s performance did you like?

    He has a pleasant voice, it has good pitch.


    Did Going Clear inspire you to do anything?

    NO!


    Any additional comments?

    This book is really a biography of L Ron Hubbard and not very much about Hollywood as the title would make one believe. It also differs from other books about Scientology in that it is about the executives and the upper tier of members running the Church. Other books are written by younger x-Scientologists for example and paint a different picture of this world. I found that reading this along with other books from different perspectives helped me really understand this religion which I was very curious about.It is a bit horrifying at times to believe these things are occurring in modern society and also how strongly people are "taken in" for lack of a better phrase. So cult like, I am almost afraid to write a review!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig 10-11-13
    Craig 10-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Amazing look into a Cult"
    Where does Going Clear rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best written books I've gone through in a long time.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the author was very thorough in his attempt to show Scientology in its true form. His presentation of the "facts" are able to be corroborated by many other accounts..

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles N. Ward ojai ca usa 10-05-13
    Charles N. Ward ojai ca usa 10-05-13 Member Since 2011

    ward

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    "Wow"
    What made the experience of listening to Going Clear the most enjoyable?

    The evenhanded journalistic approach Lawrence Wright brought to this story was to me the best part. The religion manages to shed illusions and expose itself a monster without much coaxing at all.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica ATLANTA, GA 09-07-13
    Jessica ATLANTA, GA 09-07-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This was a tough read"

    Narrator was great, but subject matter was difficult. The first few hours of the audiobook that cover LRH's life were honestly kind of tedious to get through - I found it more relatable when the book started talking about people and situations I'd heard of. Overall it's a good read though, so if you're interested in the subject you should definitely check it out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill Browder Ocala, Fl USA 08-29-13
    Bill Browder Ocala, Fl USA 08-29-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Educational and entertaining"

    This well researched book sheds a lot of light on Scientology. Featuring L. Ron Hubbard and the many others involved in shaping Scientology into what it is today. Everyone even mildly interested in this movement or the characters involved with it should read this book. I was just mildly curious at the start but was shocked at how random events, and less than stable founders could come together and form an almost religion with thousands maybe millions of members and worth billions of dollars.
    Read, or listen to, this book!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victor 08-25-13
    Victor 08-25-13 Member Since 2011
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    "L. Ron Hubbard is a bastard."
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    Yes, it was incredibly informative.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Going Clear?

    When you realize that L.Ron Hubbard wasn't just a science fiction writer, but a complete scumbag dictator oppressor.


    What about Morton Sellers’s performance did you like?

    The narration was pretty good. I would have preferred George Guidall... but that's always the case.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    It was a long book, but I liked the part where L. Ron Hubbard is in the Navy and attacks a log at sea.


    Any additional comments?

    If you want to really know what Scientology is all about, listen to this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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