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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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  •  
    Deshawn 04-08-15
    Deshawn 04-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Groundbreaking"

    This was my first ever audiobook. I loved the experience. The book was informative and I felt I personally knew characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-07-15
    04-07-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Fair and balanced book!!"

    Outstanding and very even-handed account of an extremely dangerous group of narcissists preying on people who truly want to better the world. Highly recommend!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia Dawn 04-05-15 Member Since 2013
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    32
    3
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    "Well Done"

    You know all those stories you've heard or maybe only half heard about Scientology? This book puts it all into context with a single, clear chronology. Worth going through more than once just to get all the people straight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    debra 04-02-15
    debra 04-02-15
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    "Scary.. But real"

    Good story line, well read, awful content!!!!!
    Thank you for the epilogue .. It brought so much to my understanding of the cult.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Spencer Little 04-02-15
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    46
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    "Scared the heck out of me but it was fun."
    Would you listen to Going Clear again? Why?

    Someday I will listen again to remind myself why not just religions but any system of belief (even not religious) can go crazy and become a case of the lunatics take over the asylum.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This book is a cautionary tale not only about how belief systems can go wrong but also about how organizations can go wrong if the crazies are allowed to have their way.


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

    This book scared the heck out of me but it was worth it. I learned a lot about the things to watch for in organizations when they go bad. Bad behavior tends to lead to more bad behavior unless something stops it. And if bad behavior comes from the top it pervades the organization until it goes rotten.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard D. Ross Seattle, WA 04-01-15
    Richard D. Ross Seattle, WA 04-01-15 Member Since 2012

    Dickard

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    3
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    "This Reader is Kakan"

    A bad reader ruins a great book faster than an SP injects body thetans into a PTS. But when I heard this guy talk I was immediately just like ... pffft. Great tone, speed, articulation, perfect. This man is Kakan.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim N Chicago, IL 03-31-15
    Jim N Chicago, IL 03-31-15 Member Since 2008
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    "Unsettling and Compelling"

    Wright paints a very ugly picture of Scientology, it's founder, L. Ron Hubbard and more than a few people associated with the cult. I found the book simultaneously fascinating and depressing, because despite some of the dark, disturbing places it goes, it's truly interesting and informative. The "Prison of Belief" is an appropriate phrase to include in the title because many of the people described in the book really seem to be prisoners of their own fanatical devotion to a strange religion founded by troubled former pulp science fiction writer. It's hard to believe Hubbard could inspire the devotion he inspired. It speaks to the desperation many of us have to understand the world and ourselves as well as to our ability to blind ourselves to what we don't want to see.

    The book some of the celebrities associated with the cult in a very unflattering light and it left me feeling angry with them and angry at our own government for not only allowing some of what's been reported by former Scientologists to go on but for allowing an incredibly well-funded cult to bully their way to tax exemption. Money and fanatical devotion are powerful tools indeed!

    I found the reading by Morton Sellers adequate but it certainly takes nothing away from this book. Recommended... but you may want some lighter reading afterwards.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Millam 03-30-15
    Todd Millam 03-30-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Thorough investigation of a wacky cult"

    This production showcases a thorough investigation of this frightening organization. It is hard to imagine believing in this bizarre man

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MARGE GUSTAFSON 03-27-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Nuts with power and money"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KA Brinkman 03-25-15
    KA Brinkman 03-25-15
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    "Fascinating!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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