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A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed Hardcover – January 29, 1990

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Lyle Stuart; First edition (January 29, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081840499X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0818404993
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jon Atack was born in the cathedral city of Lichfield, in the heart of England, in 1955. He left school at 17 to play drums in various rock bands. When he was 19, he joined the Scientology cult. Although he was never a live-in member, he took many courses and 25 of the available levels of the 'Bridge' - to Operating Thetan Section V. Jon left the cult in 1983, appalled by its aggressive behaviour towards members. He refused to 'disconnect' (or shun) a close friend and was shocked to find that eleven senior members of the cult - including the leader's wife - had been sentenced to prison terms for kidnapping, breaking and entering, theft, burglary and false imprisonment, based on their own confessions.
Jon put aside his career as an artist ( to help those harmed by the cult's hypnotic practices. In 12 years, he saw over 500 former members and helped many to recover the money that had been extracted from them by Scientology's hard selling techniques. He was active on over 150 court cases and was consulted by many government organizations. Jon also gave several conference papers and his work was supported by more than 40 academics, including Professor Stephen Kent, head of sociology and history of religion at Alberta University, who said that Jon's work was beyond the standard for a doctoral thesis.
Jon was subjected to constant harassment by Scientologists. His house was picketed by placard carrying cult members. Spurious reports were made to various authorities. Rumours were spread. He was falsely accused of child abuse, attempted murder, rape and heroin addiction. Jon was followed by private investigators, one of whom tricked him out of the manuscript to his book, A Piece of Blue Sky, so that the cult could sue prior to publication.
Jon's book A Piece of Blue Sky, was published in 1990, after a court battle in New York. It became an Amazon top 100 best seller. However, because of a precedent over the letters of JD Salinger, 60 passages in the book had been paraphrased. This included some of the most important material from Jon's vast collection. In 2013, the book was reissued with all 60 passages back in place. The new edition is called Let's sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky, to distinguish it from the earlier edition, which remains in print, without the author's consent.
Jon is the author of many papers about Scientology, most of which are available on the internet. He has blogged at Tony Ortega's Underground Bunker since the Spring of 2013 - His concern is for the recovery of former members, from the hypnotic enslavement of Scientology.
Jon continues to paint and play drums. He has written several novels, including Voodoo Child (slight return) and the upcoming Halcyon Daze. He has also made a character by character translation of Lao Tze's Tao Te Ching, which will be published in 2015. He lives in a charming village near Nottingham, where, as Voltaire advised, he cultivates his garden. Jon had four children and one grandchild.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

223 of 236 people found the following review helpful By Dr. William R. Harwood on March 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A Piece of Blue Sky is not the latest expose of the Scientology scam. More recent dissections of brainwashing cults have touched on Scientology. But there has not been a later book sufficiently focused to justify including the word Scientology in the title, perhaps because Atack does such a thorough job of exposing this moneymaking scam posing as a religion, that there is little more to say.

Human beings are not descended from any terrestrial lifeforms. The first humans were brought to earth by benevolent aliens millennia ago from a galaxy far, far away. If you believe that, you are not necessarily a Scientologist. But if you are a Scientologist, you are required to believe it, since the alternative is to recognize that you have been hoaxed by a cult that originated in the imagination of L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer with such total contempt for anyone who could take his fantasy seriously, that he gloated to an associate, "Let's sell these people a piece of blue sky." When the associate expressed skepticism, Hubbard bet him that he could invent a new religion and have it showing a profit within a year. He won the bet. While no other evidence survives that Hubbard had a sense of humor, his naming the aliens' home planet "Arslycus" cannot have been a random choice.

But while it was L. Ron Hubbard who first organized the conspiracy to pass off science fiction as a religion, the cult leaders' true role model was Benito Mussolini. When A Piece of Blue Sky was first published, the Scientology hierarchy were able to intimidate Amazon into removing it from their catalogue, out of fear of the vicious reprisals that got eleven members of the cult, including Hubbard's wife, convicted and jailed in 1979.
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141 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Brett Weir on July 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Considering Scientology's penchant for suing everyone and anything (they even sued Time/Warner when Time Magazine called Scientology a "cult of greed and power"), this book took a lot of guts to write, and the author and publisher should be applauded.

Living in Los Angeles, I have met people whose lives have been destroyed by Scientology, and it is creepy driving down Hollywood Boulevard and seeing how much real estate the "church" owns. (I recommend, for a good laugh, people check out the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibit.) That the group can afford so much premium property in one of the most expensive districts in the country is indicative of the millions of dollars "donated" by so many weak-minded, hapless people.

This book unmercifully exposes the cult for what it is, as seen first-hand by former members. Even if one has no interest in Scientology, it is a fascinating commentary on human behavior vis-a-vis modern cults. Atack's work shows that, in the face of brain-washed celebrities pushing Scientology, there is still some sanity left in the world.
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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Anthony J. Hall on March 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I guess I've always loved reading about cults, their leaders and their followers. I think it started with the Baghwan section of the book "Cities on a Hill" ...that was just gripping.

There seem to be certain similarities between the personalities who head truly dark cults and charismatic figures who are viewed as legitimate even heroic. The Secrest book on Frank Lloyd Wright is a good one...generally admired as a genius, but also a completely unprincipled huckster. There's even a little bit of it in Wilhelm Reich, who is often viewed as one of the good guys.

I have read quite a bit on Hubbard and mostly I have just derived a good chuckle out of it. He's so obviously a Charlatan and a buffoon... it's written all over his face for one thing. He reminds me a lot of Mussolini. The book though actually ended up being rather sad; especially the undercover operations, personal vendettas and the insane internal machinations of the cult during the latter years of Hubbard's life.

I gotta say it's a hoot that there are actual scientologists posting one star reviews on this book! Way to go guys, why not order a couple of dozen copies of Battlefield Earth while you are here!

The book is not a literary masterpiece but it's pretty clearly written considering density of the material to be presented and all the mentions of orgs, OSTs, PRTs, Body-Thetans all all the other CoS jargon that cannot be avoided in telling the story. I wish there had been slightly more humor since some of the material is potentially so funny. I realize of course that the effect on thousands of people's live has been tragic and overall I finished the book feeling that the organization was far more sinister than I had previously given it credit for.
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287 of 317 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 1999
Format: Hardcover
As I type this review, "A Piece of Blue Sky" still remains firmly within the top 1000 sellers here at Amazon after years of obscurity. Ironically, if it weren't for the aggressive efforts by the Church of Scientology to eradicate this book, it probably would have disappeared off the shelves years ago. The Scientologists ought to apply the lesson learned ten years ago during the controversy over Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses": Threaten it, and it gains notoriety.
"A Piece of Blue Sky" is one of those Books Scientology Doesn't Want You to Read. As they did with "Bare-Faced Messiah," Russell Miller's excellent biography of founder L. Ron Hubbard (unfortunately now out of print, although available on the Web with the author's blessing), the Church has attempted to stop publication of this book. They will tell you it is libelous. It is not - it has been challenged in the courts and vindicated. They will tell you it has been banned in Britain. It has not - one single paragraph did not meet Great Britain's stricter standards for documentation, and was removed (the book survives unexpurgated elsewhere). Given the Scientologists' well-known habit of aggressively defending their interests in the courts, surely they must accept the authority of the courts in this case, as well?
In addition, "A Piece of Blue Sky" will tell you Things Scientology Doesn't Want You to Know. If you read the Scientologists' own publication, "What is Scientology?", for example, you will learn that during the late 1970s, the Guardian's Office (GO) of the Church was "infiltrated and set up to fail.
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