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
--This text refers to the
"[a] searing expose." -People Magazine "the most complete picture of Scientology so far." –Garry Wills, New York Times Book Review "compelling, rich and courageous...what comes through this prodigious reporting effort is a really good read about the birth of a strange and yet all-American institution...INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY is an impressive high-wire act producing a scrupulous history of how one man reframed the universe and how a lot of people paid for the privilege of agreeing with him." - Oregonian "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 "this book is fearless" - Wall Street Journal "[a] meaty, engaging new book" -Slate.com "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 "[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 "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 "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 "a serious, painstaking investigation of the organization's unique structure and bare-knucled business acumen." - GQ "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 "[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
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—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 precision and empathy, Janet Reitman has in this definitive investigation laid bare the genesis and possibly the endgame of America's strangest religion."
—Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and C Street