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Publisher's Summary

How did an obscure science fiction writer become one of the world's most notorious religious leaders? 

Bare-Faced Messiah tells the extraordinary story of L. Ron Hubbard, a penniless science fiction writer who founded the Church of Scientology, became a millionaire prophet, and convinced his adoring followers that he alone could save the world. 

According to his "official" biography, Hubbard was an explorer, engineer, scientist, war hero, and philosopher. But in the words of a Californian judge, he was schizophrenic, paranoid, and a pathological liar. What is not in dispute is that Hubbard was one of the most bizarre characters of the 20th century. 

Bare-Faced Messiah exposes the myths surrounding the fascinating and mysterious founder of the Church of Scientology - a man of hypnotic charm and limitless imagination - and provides the definitive account of how the notorious organization was created.

©2015 Russell Miller (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about Bare-Faced Messiah

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Book, Awful Narration

The subject matter is endlessly fascinating to me, but the narrator had essentially the same inflection, emphasis, and tone on every sentence - regardless of context. Normally I would’ve returned the book after an hour or so of listening time, but I wanted to hear this biography enough to put up with it. If you’re interested in this book (cult leaders, Scientology, etc.) I’d recommend reading it on paper. The narration really hurts the overall experience.

7 people found this helpful

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Ugh. Another Great Book Read Badly by a "Pro"

Honestly, the professional reader's weird cadence makes this almost unlistenable. I will never understand why authors opt for them when THEY are the ones who know where emphasis is warranted or not. If the author is alive, I want to hear THEM read, I don't care what they think of their voice. Everyone hates their own voice, but the rest of us are used to it.

1 person found this helpful

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Great look behind the mask of LRH

The British narrator is rough but this is an incredibly interesting biography of L Ron Hubbard. It undoubtedly takes a critical look at his life, but it goes into detail that is not discussed elsewhere, as most documentaries and books focus on the abuses of Scientology. This book pulls back the curtain on LRH's life, with it's focus on his travel as a child, his less than distinguished military career, his strained personal relationships, his fascination with Alistair Crowley and the occult, and his delusions of grandeur tinged with insecurity. Great read.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the best Biographies

Bare-Faces Messiah is easily one of the best biographies ever written. It’s an absolutely brilliant exposé into the life of Scientology’s creator and sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard. The book deeply researched and filled with the personal stories of the people who knew and lived with L.R.H.

Equally as good is the book’s Narration. With a soft British accent, the narrator bring the story to life with great pomp and skill. I was so enthralled by his voice that I’m currently looking into other books read by him.

All in all, this is one of my favorite books. And I’m glad that it finally gets the narration it deserves.

1 person found this helpful