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Going Clear Audiobook

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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  •  
    David San Diego, CA, United States 07-10-15
    David San Diego, CA, United States 07-10-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Fascinating History"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Going Clear to be better than the print version?

    I would not, as the footnotes included in the audio version can sometimes be a distraction from the history it tells.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann 06-22-15
    Ann 06-22-15
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    "Well researched and balanced treatment"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 06-16-15
    Jennifer 06-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "This is fascinating"
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    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.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I wish I could have listened to this all in one sitting! I did not want to stop listening!


    Any additional comments?

    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".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bojan Jokic 06-14-15
    Bojan Jokic 06-14-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book, afraid Miscavige might read this review"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Toastie Durham, NC 06-11-15
    Toastie Durham, NC 06-11-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Superb crackerjack expose narrated way too slow"
    If you could sum up Going Clear in three words, what would they be?

    Shocking, Illuminating, Engrossing,


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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


    What do you think the narrator could have done better?

    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.


    If you could give Going Clear a new subtitle, what would it be?

    Scientology is so much worse than you ever imagined


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 05-29-15
    Scott Scarborough, ON, Canada 05-29-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Investigative journalism at its best"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Veronica 05-28-15
    Veronica 05-28-15 Member Since 2014

    Mom of teens, navigating the modern world by the seat of my pants.

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    "Detailed, scary and factual"
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    I do not think I would listen to it again, simply because all my questions have been answered.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    Answered the mystery of how Mr. Hubbard spent his last days. Described what happened during the change of power during that period.


    Any additional comments?

    This book answered many questions I had about the organization, answers that were even worse than I'd imagined. The time line of events was very eye-opening. The honesty of the accounts was marked.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shawndra Delaney Portland, OR 05-20-15
    Shawndra Delaney Portland, OR 05-20-15 Member Since 2014

    Books are hotter than TV

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    "A little too complex ..."

    ...for a book you listen too. This one is perhaps better read. So many people, events, etc that are so detailed that they are hard to keep track of. Book is great but I'd a lot to digest in this format.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Robben 05-20-15
    Mark Robben 05-20-15
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    "Needed to be edited down"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Cut it in half. I got that he and they were all nut jobs.


    Have you listened to any of Morton Sellers’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    It is a documentary, and from what I hear a good one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Irvington 05-19-15
    Irvington 05-19-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Wow! Unbelievable"

    Very informative and packed full of historical detail about Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard. Eye opening! Narration was really good.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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