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)
I would not, as the footnotes included in the audio version can sometimes be a distraction from the history it tells.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I wish I could have listened to this all in one sitting! I did not want to stop listening!
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".
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.
Shocking, Illuminating, Engrossing,
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
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.
Scientology is so much worse than you ever imagined
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.
Mom of teens, navigating the modern world by the seat of my pants.
I do not think I would listen to it again, simply because all my questions have been answered.
Answered the mystery of how Mr. Hubbard spent his last days. Described what happened during the change of power during that period.
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.
Books are hotter than TV
...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.
Cut it in half. I got that he and they were all nut jobs.
It is a documentary, and from what I hear a good one.
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