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)
This isn't really a biography of either L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige, but their stories are inexorably linked to Scientology, and they have each shaped the church into what it is today. The way the church works, and how it is run makes more sense with the context of these two men, and the many others featured in this book.
For a proper biography of Hubbard, I recommend "Bare Faced Messiah" by Russell Miller, which focuses more on the man than the church, but these two books make great companion pieces.
The narrator was excellent but a little slow, i recommend 2x speed. The information of Scientology is surprising, sometimes unbelievably ridiculous but above all, it is kind of sad.
I loved this book. It's's so amazing to see what people will put up with just to be a part of a community, even when they find out that there are damaging lies, with his religion they stay. I see it in Mormonism all the time. I'm so glad to hear that some got out, but sad to hear that marriages broke up, and families were divided. Heres to hoping Tom Cruise John Travolta, and others like them will see the light one day to be able to move forward.
Terrifically well written, engaging, and nicely paced. Narration was a bit slow, but it was kind of fitting for the story, which includes many unknown terms for non-Scientologists.
Loved this book. Reminded me a lot of the books Double Down and Game Change. Lots of unflattering details and anecdotes that are both corroborated and disputed by several sources that are all appropriately cited and footnoted within the book. Most memorable throughline was reading about Paul Haggis joining and ultimately loudly leaving the church. Some of the greatest passages in the book came during some of the final paragraphs that describe the growing pains of any new religion, and the way that several others - Islam, Mormonism, the Amish, to name just a few - have survived and evolved long enough to be seen as more than inventions or forgeries or hotbeds for violence and instead are often rightly appreciated for the insights they have to offer, the values they espouse, and the traditions they try to pass on.
Highly recommend it! Great flow, very informative and a good inside view of Scientology and its history. Good springboard to the HBO documentary too.
most the stuff in this I already knew but it did shed some light on LRH and who he was. if you want to learn about Scientology, this is the best book to read
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!!!!
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.
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