National Book Award Finalist
The enhanced eBook edition of Lawrence Wright’s revelatory study of Scientology includes additional photographs and documents, plus more than thirty minutes of original video—taped interviews with former members of the church speaking about what drew them to Scientology and about discovering past lives, the church’s position on abortion and homosexuality, and how the Guardian’s Office functions; and in interviews with the author, Lawrence Wright speaks about his aims in writing this book, his respect for his sources, and methods of research.
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with 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.
Pulitzer winner Wright (The Looming Tower) expands and carefully footnotes his investigation of Scientology, which began as a 2011 New Yorker article examining the defection of acclaimed screenwriter-director Paul Haggis from the church. The book-length version offers in persuasive, albeit sometimes mind-numbing, detail 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 allegations of physical abuse, and expensive answers for spiritual consumers. Wright capably sows his thorough reportage into ground broken by Janet Reitman (Inside Scientology, 2011). He poses larger questions about the nature of belief, but can only lay groundwork because he has to fight to establish facts, given the secrecy and controversy surrounding Scientology, and his eyewitnesses are necessarily disenchanted and therefore adversarial. While Wright's brave reporting offers an essential reality test, an analysis of why this sci-fi and faith brew quenches a quasi-religious thirst in its followers is still needed. First printing 150,000.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I chose this enhanced version over the regular edition ebook since the price was the same, however, the videos did not significantly add to the book. Also, there are a number of errors - missing footnotes at the end of at least two chapters, as well as no other numbered notes, though I discovered at the end many pages of such endnotes. Just go with the regular version, which is hopefully presented more efficiently.
This is what I said over and over again as I read this book. Scientology is just plain nuts.
I may not agree with everything I read, but I found the book incredibly fascinating. It was difficult to put down. For the record I have no particular affiliation with Scientology and read the book on recommendation of a friend.