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Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 17, 2013
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“Powerful . . . essential reading.” —Michael Kinsley, the front page of The New York Times Book Review
“Who’d have thought a history of a religion would offer so many guilty pleasures? Lawrence Wright’s enthralling account of Scientology’s rise brims with celebrity scandal. To anyone who gets a sugar rush from Hollywood gossip, the chapters on Tom Cruise and John Travolta will feel like eating a case of Ding Dongs.”
—Evan Wright, The Los Angeles Times
“An utterly necessary story . . . A feat of reporting. The story of Scientology is the great white whale of investigative journalism about religion.”—Paul Elie, The Wall Street Journal
“Wright’s account of the church’s history and struggles is helpful, admirably fair-minded and, at times, absorbing . . . The book’s most intriguing aspect, though is not its treatment of Scientology, in particular, but its raising general questions about the nature of faith and reason and the role of religion in American life.”
—Troy Jollimore, Chicago Tribune
“A wild ride of a page-turner, as enthralling as a paperback thriller . . .I could go on and on, listing Hubbard’s tall tales, paranoid delusions and eccentricities, as well as Miscavige’s brutalities and tidbits from the famously wacky and decidedly unscientific Scientologist cosmology.”—Laura Miller, Salon.com
“Insightful, gripping, and ultimately tragic . . . The initial biographical section [about L. Ron Hubbard] could stand as an engrossing book in itself. . . .The second section,
“Hollywood,” provides the answer to one of the great mysteries of the modern world: What’s the deal with Tom Cruise and Scientology?”—Buzzy Jackson, The Boston Globe
“A hotly compelling read. It’s a minutiae-packed book full of wild stories.”
—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“Lawrence Wright brings a clear-eyed investigative fearlessness to Scientology—its history, theology, its hierarchy—and the result is . . . evidence that truth can be stranger even than science fiction.”—Lisa Miller, The Washington Post
“A gripping, exhaustive, remarkably evenhanded investigation of the religion everyone loves to hate.”—Lawrence Levi, Newsday
“It’s incredible. It is an incredible, fascinating read. It is like a pirate novel, but there are celebrities in it. I admired [Wright’s] chutzpah, he’s like Don Quixote.”—The Hairpin
“Revealing and disturbing . . . A series of devastating revelations that will come as news even to hardened Scientology buffs who follow the Church’s every twist and turn.”—The Daily Beast
“Devastating . . . A patient, wholly compelling investigation into a paranoid "religion" and the faithful held in its sweaty grip.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Not only a titillating expose on the reported “you’re kidding me” aspects of the religion, but a powerful examination of belief itself.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A fascinating look behind the curtain of an organization whose ambition and influence are often at odds with its secretive ways. . . . For those aware of Scientology through its celebrity adherents (Tom Cruise and John Travolta are the best known) rather than its works, the sheer scope of the church’s influence and activities will be jaw-dropping.”
—Keir Graff, Booklist
“An eye-opening short biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and a long-form journalism presentation of the creature Hubbard birthed: a self-help system complete with bizarre cosmology, celebrity sex appeal, lawyers, consistent allegation of physical abuse, and expensive answers for spiritual consumers.”—Publishers Weekly
- Publisher : Knopf; First Edition (January 17, 2013)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 448 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0307700666
- ISBN-13 : 978-0307700667
- Item Weight : 1.73 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.57 x 1.39 x 9.49 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #828,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I am one of the many people throughout the world who holds the opinion that Scientology is nothing more than a cult. Scientology may not be considered a cult in the strictest sense of the word, but there continues to be remarkable similarities to actual religious or quasi-religious cults such as Peoples Temple, Heaven's Gate, and even the Branch Davidians. And while LRH may not have induced the followers of Scientology to commit murder or ritualistic suicide, many of the things that he did persuade them to carry out and rules/policies they are required to adhere to are just as controversial, if not down-right scary.
Even more scary though, in my opinion, is the manner in which certain high-ranking Scientologists are treated by current Religious Technology Center (RTC) Chairman David Miscavige. I won't reveal information from the book, but let's just say that most future readers of this book are likely to do so with raised eyebrows and an open mouth when it comes to certain situations that are described and depicted in Wright's book. I HIGHLY recommend this book as a starting point and point of reference for anyone that is even remotely interested in studying about the history of Scientology and how the church of Scientology has managed to hook their claws into many of our most "beloved" celebrities, musicians, and other "Hollywood-types" such as Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kelly Preston, Chick Corea, Kirstie Alley, Jenna Elfman, Elizabeth Moss, Giovanni Ribisi, Beck, and Juliette Lewis.
Prison of Belief seems like a poor title, too, as the belief system just seems like massive egotism. The "hero" is clearly all about his ego and therefore can ignore cruelty without any pangs of conscience. I know people are sick but I really want to believe not this sick. The "prison" seems to be the wish to be imprisoned although the author tells many stories about cult goon squads. Scientology as a name is even funny for all this piled up terminology, although I suppose you can discover equally ludicrous mountains of verbiage in Critical Theory or university humanities departments.
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Here's an e-mail I've just sent to the publisher which details all the manufacturing faults:
Subject: YOUR BUSINESS PARTNER AMAZON IS LETTING YOU DOWN
Just bought the excellent Going Clear by Lawrence Wright, but I'm afraid this print-on-demand product is very shoddy, as is usually the case with anything printed & bound by Amazon: cover has been printed off centre, so the lettering/headings lean to one side; the book splays open into two distinct, mis-matching halfs due to hasty assemblage/collation, & the paper stock is 'rippled'; the cover curls up at the ends & the lamination is peeling at extremities. I realise alot of publishers feel compelled to use print-on-demand these days for one reason or another, but Amazon is the worst choice possible for this method of production. When you are publishing such interesting & important books, I feel it's a shame that you can't rely on your chosen business partner to provide the quality product your books deserve.
I won't be buying any more of your books, I'm afraid - but as I hope to have made clear, this is due to Amazon's shoddy, haphazard production. I resent paying 15-20 pounds or so for a book that is not worth keeping after just one, quick read.
This book was not an eye-opener, as I had already seen and heard much about 'Scientology', but it was interesting to read something more in-depth. Scientology is not unique in its lack of morals and flagrant human rights violations, but being so 'new' it is often scrutinised more easily. I'd like to see the same being done to all religions.
It is a great read which highlights the abuses committed by this money making cult masquerading as a "church".