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Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion Hardcover – July 5, 2011


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Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion + Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief + Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618883029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618883028
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (286 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2011: Whatever your opinion of Scientology, the truth is more extreme. Inside Scientology is journalist Janet Reitman's incredible book-length follow-up to the Rolling Stone cover story of the same name, a 2007 finalist for the National Magazine Award. Founded by wayward science-fiction writer and historical revisionist par excellence L. Ron Hubbard, "America's Most Secretive Religion" is perhaps best known for high-profile adherents like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, but its tenets, processes, and internal organization form a story as surprising and captivating as that of any investigative work released this year. Reitman's extensive research--including hundreds of interviews with devotees and defectors alike--culminates in an expansive, page-turning survey of the origins, development, crises, beliefs, and scandals of this fascinating incorporated religion, all with a fair-minded approach that favors diligent curiosity over judgment at every turn. "It has been my goal to write the first objective modern history of the Church of Scientology," Reitman writes in the book's introduction, and to this end, Inside Scientology succeeds in spades. This book will remain the definitive study of the subject for a long time to come. --Jason Kirk

Review

A New York Times Notable Book

"[A] meticulously compiled exposé, culled from hundreds of interviews with active Scientologists and defectors alike. [Reitman's] revelations — including abuse allegations against church leader David Miscavige and details about the organization's aggressive courtship of Tom Cruise — come with impressive backup." - Entertainment Weekly

"A serious, painstaking investigation of the organization's unique structure and bare-knucled business acumen." - GQ

"In a new book, Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secret Religion, author Janet Reitman tell the fascinating history of the mysterious organization and its members." - Time.com

"The most complete picture of Scientology so far." –Garry Wills, New York Times Book Review

"Reitman's book delivers all it promises, and it promises a lot… [Reitman] has put together the most masterfully written, narratively rewarding, and thorough yarn about L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige, and Scientology and its strange past, present, and possible future….In Inside Scientology, we have a thorough, brave journalist backed by a major publisher, and soon what no doubt will be a major publicity push: Reitman's book should soon become Scientology's biggest headache in years." - Village Voice

"This book is fearless" - Wall Street Journal

"[A] meaty, engaging new book" -Slate.com

"[A] meticulously researched history and revealing exposé, a frightening portrait of a religion that many find not just controversial, but dangerous…Throughout the book, the author displays consummate journalistic skills. Her accumulation of evidence is particularly impressive and gives rise to one of the more memorable works of investigative nonfiction in recent years."- Boston Globe

"A well-researched and compelling read" - Los Angeles Times

"[A] richly narrative history of the organization… The book is convincing and compelling. It will be interesting to see how the Scientology leadership responds." - St Louis Post Dispatch

"So most journalistic accounts of Scientology fall into two categories: ax-grinding expose or fawning apologism. Fortunately Janet Reitman finds a third way in her authoritative, absorbing "Inside Scientology": nuanced reporting that lets the facts speak for themselves..."Inside Scientology" will remain a thoughtful, fair-minded record of its tumultuous first generation." - San Francisco Chronicle

"Inside Scientology is a masterful piece of reporting....a compelling introduction to "America’s most secretive religion," as the subtitle has it. Even for those who have no interest in parsing when cults become religions or why faith upends fact, Reitman tells a spellbinding story of a larger-than-life personality whose quirks, ticks and charisma shaped America’s newest homegrown religious movement." - Washington Post

"INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY is notable for its depth and sweep. Reitman's research pays off not only in rich portrayals of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and current leader David Miscavige, but in intimate portraits of people who have been swept up along the way….Reitman's analysis of Scientology's ability to survive scandal and mockery is compelling and persuasive." - Seattle Times

"The inside scoop on Scientology, the steeped-in-secrecy religion of L. Ron Hubbard." - Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Inside Scientology leaves no scandal unturned in the life of L. Ron Hubbard, underlings, celebrities and cult "slaves" in this story of America's most secretive religion....It is a riveting read not only for its thorough research, and winning style, but because [Reitman] has left no greed undescribed in the 396 page-turner." - Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Inside Scientology" by Janet Reitman is an amazing book...a masterful telling of the church’s history and the division among its members" - Asbury Park Press

"Inside Scientology is an engrossing, groundbreaking work that brings a welcome sense of fair-mindedness to a subject that is, for many journalists and scholars, too hot to touch. Reitman has accomplished the miracle of adding light without heat."- Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

"Inside Scientology goes beyond the celebrities and the scandals -- though they're here in all their absurdity and horror, too -- to find in Scientology a more profound story about "technology" as an article of faith and faith as a vessel for science, or, at least, science fiction. With courage, empathy, and clarity -- if that word can be reclaimed from L. Ron Hubbard -- Janet Reitman has with this definitive investigation laid bare the genesis and possibly the endgame of America's strangest religion".--Jeff Sharlet, bestselling author of The Family and C Street

"Thoroughly engrossing page-turner on the shape-shifting Church of Scientology...A bizarre and complicated history told with masterful control." -Kirkus Reviews starred

"A detailed and readable examination of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, and his successor, David Miscavige. The book is rife with astonishing accounts of the abuses of power, the purges, and the climate of fear and intimidation commonplace in the top ranks of the organization." - Publishers Weekly

"Janet Reitman spent five years researching and writing Inside Scientology: it was worth the wait… Inside Scientology is now the definitive account of key episodes in the movement’s history. For veterans of the campaign against Scientology’s excesses, Reitman’s book will become an essential resource. For the general public it will be a revelation." --Infinite Complacency

More About the Author

Janet Reitman is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, and the author of "Inside Scientology," (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 2011), which was based on her National Magazine Award-nominated story of the same name published in Rolling Stone in March, 2006. She is the first American journalist to publish a major book on Scientology, and the only writer to have charted its full history.

Reitman also covered the war in Iraq for Rolling Stone and has reported on a wide range of other topics, including the failure of US and international recovery efforts in post-earthquake Haiti; the Duke lacrosse scandal; the death of American aid worker Marla Ruzicka in Baghdad; and the national childhood obesity crisis. She has also reported extensively in Africa, profiling Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, and covering conflicts in Sudan and Sierra Leone.

In addition to Rolling Stone, Reitman's work has appeared in GQ, Men's Journal, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, and Salon, among other publications. She and journalist L. Christopher Smith live in Brooklyn, New York, with their French sheepdog, Bode.

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Customer Reviews

The book flows and is an enjoyable read.
Mary McConnell
It's amazing just how much people can become sheep and follow such cults and organized nonsense.
Steve
Ms. Reitman has written a thorough, well researched book on Scientology.
John T. Sostak

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

292 of 308 people found the following review helpful By Mary McConnell on June 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion is objective, nonbiased and well written. It will raise the blood pressure of the management of Scientology, as well as the hairs on the arms of those unfamiliar with what goes on inside.

I heartedly whipped through this informative book and I highly recommend for general readers,as well as current and former members.

The most important thing I came away with after reading it was that this well researched and written book is an must read for anyone wanting to know why Scientology is so controversial.

The subject and history of Scientology and it's leaders current and past, is such that it would fill volumes. So, I think Janet Reitman accomplished, in good part, what she set out to do with this book:

"It has been my goal to write the first objective modern history of the Church of Scientology," Reitman proclaims in her introduction. "It is the goal of Inside Scientology to translate [L. Ron Hubbard's arcane] language and separate myth from fact."

What to include must have been a real dilemma. As a former member, I just wish there had been more. But for the outsider wanting to know the inside story of the secretive religion called Scientology, they will come away very informed and quite surprised. It does not provide all that there is to know but she provides the essential information and gives the reader enough so that they will have an historical understanding. She compliments earlier works and provides such that one will want to read up on previous works if they have not read them already.

She really did her homework. Hence the large Notes Section and 'Selected Bibliography at the end of the book.
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284 of 307 people found the following review helpful By Denise Brennan on July 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The three chapters about Lisa McPherson in this book pretty much sum up what is wrong with scientology.

The story of Lisa will tear your heart out. But it will also show you an example, if an extreme one, of an organization based on lies, taking advantage of others and itself being highly dangerous.

Lisa died receiving what organized scientology called "The Introspection Rundown".

In the book Janet Reitman tells of scientology's founder L Ron Hubbard announcing this rundown as a cure for the last unsolvable mental condition "the psychotic break". As quoted from Hubbard in Janet's book: "'I have made a technical breakthrough which possibly ranks with the major discoveries of the Twentieth Century,' he proclaimed in a bulletin dated November 24, 1973. 'THIS MEANS THE LAST REASON TO HAVE PSYCHIATRY AROUND IS GONE'."

Who is Hubbard to make such a "breakthrough"? The point is not whether the introspection rundown should have been two days or seventeen days as is argued by true believers in Hubbard's "technology". The point is this "tech" was written by a man with zero credentials in the field of mental health, who was an academic fraud, who abused people on a wholesale basis and who ripped off many millions from the proceeds of scientology while countless staff were cash starved and countless public were financially ruined.

In every way organized scientology destroyed a beautiful, young woman and took advantage of her for her money. It was completely incompetent without a technology to truly help others. And then it covers up what in my opinion is serious crime knowingly and willingly so that justice even to this day will never be done.
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful By The Viewer on July 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As an ex-scientologist and staff member, I found the book to be to the point and factual. It is obvious that Ms. Reitman did her homework. I congratulate her on having the ethics and courage to write about what few others have been willing to tackle. This is a must read!

The method in which she explains Hubbards history of rejection, work with the occult, desire to make money and then blends it into the current organizations narcissitic management is brilliant.

I found myself first feeling sorry for Hubbard, then thinking what a waste of brilliance, then how bizarre the whole situation is, and finally sadness and empathy for those who have been directly affected.

Again, thank you Ms. Reitman for a great read.

The Viewer
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253 of 279 people found the following review helpful By TheHoleTracker on June 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book despite knowing many details over the span of Scientology history and because of it. Here was an author who reportedly had done intense research, but noone has been able to capture with any depth the full panomara in one full swoop. How could anyone?

Janet Reitman has accomplished this exhausting and trying feat not reading like a dry history book, but a drama/scifi/mystery. I could not put it down until finished. There were many details I didn't know. More important to me personally was even after all this time I was able to piece together various plans and schemes that never made sense until Janet laid it all out.

I hope your steadfast labor, Ms Reitman, finds the tremendous success and widespread distribution it deserves. I firmly believe this will be The Book on the Real Scientology that will be referenced more than any other. I just finished it and am a bit awestruck. I certainly hope politicians, lobbyists, social groups, humanitarian groups and others will read this book and educate themselves fully, as well as parents, and teens, young adults.

The one group that needs to read it the most are Scientologists. In reality, they will be the last. Sincere thanks. Oh, there are juicy details in each chapter that make it a Must Read for almost anyone. When it comes to Scientology bizarre elements, you just can't make this stuff up. Hope to see you interviwed by Steven Colbert in the very near future!
More thoughts after a second read:

It is impossible for any one book to cover All of sci history from All angles. It would take a series, a long one.

There's a very important factor that sometimes gets missed so I'll repeat it. Janet Reitman discusses her sources and research in great depth.
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