- Hardcover: 390 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Co (1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1550130277
- ISBN-13: 978-1550130270
- ASIN: 0805006540
- Package Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Bare-Faced Messiah : A Biography of L. Ron Hubbard Hardcover – 1988
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This is an addition: The other must-read is Jon Atack's A Piece of Blue Sky. Jon Atack was harassed and attacked also, especially as he had been a Scientologist. Russell Miller used his library as a major resource in putting together Bare-Faced Messiah. Those two books together will tell you most of what you want to know about L. Ron Hubbard and his "religion."
But the book isn't as much about the Church as it is about the man who founded it - a fascinating guy, by any account, even his own. As the book says, L Ron didn't need to embellish and manipulate his life's story nearly as much as he did, since the facts of his upbringing, education, and career are pretty amazing in and of themselves. Friends of psychology and psychiatry will recognize a narcissist when they see one, although a very entertaining one.
Overall, this was a great read - I had expected it to be a bit more damning and vindictive, based on other reviews (and the crazy paperback cover, which looks like a soft core/science fiction novel). But after reading it, I was very impressed with the author's restraint.
You can tell right out that Mr. Miller did his homework. He compiled quite a lot of media--testimonials, interviews, and written documentation from a range of sources to try and give as much credibility to this book as is humanly possible--for such a notorious figure as L. Ron Hubbard.
Russel Miller is a excellent author, and this book is a very well written. The writing is fluid; with competent transitions for time periods, situations, dialogue, and subject matter. The biggest strength of his writing however is really capturing Hubbard's aura on the pages, while still attempting to be no-biased despite the overwhelming evidence that Hubbard was just a motivated con artist.
The only knock I can give this book is that it is a bit slow at times, just because Hubbard's story really becomes sad and repetitive in his later years. All and all even with my previous knowledge of Hubbard's history this book was still some what entertaining to the last page.
L. Ron Hubbard's story by itself is worth the read. If twenty percent of everything in this book is true then he was by far the most despicable, selfish, pathetic, yet magnificently accomplished P.O.S. I've ever heard of. He is the type of guy in a more simple time, without mass media, written records, critical observation, and law that would have probably started a really successful 'religion'. He did start a mockery of one, that makes money-- I won't go in to all that.