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Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion Hardcover – July 5, 2011
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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
"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
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Top customer reviews
As I looked through the offerings, it became clear that many of the books written were authored by former scientologists, which immediately begs the question of their impartiality; conscious or unconscious.
Unlike those others, Reitman is a journalist, first and foremost. This fact comes through quite clearly in her writing and in her perspective - which- for the most part - comes off as even-handed and factually fair. That conclusion is based on my review of hundreds of articles and several other books on Scientology (including Dianetics).
The stories she tells of LRH's misuse, abuse, and demagogic totalitarian control of his parishioners, reads like pages ripped from the biography of every charismatic leader who ever conjured a cult following, from Jim Jones an Sun Myung Moon, to Kim Jil Un and Hitler. Her captivating account of the unlikely evolution of an obscure but prolific pulp sci-fi writer to a God-like entity worshiped world-wide is truly a tale stranger than fiction.
She gives us not only a peek behind the curtain of the great and powerful OZ (LRH) [and his unbequeath heir, usurper to the thrown, David Miscavige], but, instead, she throws back the church's secretive shroud, laying bare the destructive disfunction of an organization that preys upon the generous hearted, well intentioned, if naive, hopes and dreams of innocents who sought only to improve themselves and the world around them. All betrayed by a snake oil charlatan bent purely on his own self-enrichment and aggrandizement.
It's a fascinating cautionary tale of how easily average (and even well-above average) people can be drawn into a belief system that not only controls their every thought and action but which forms a fortress of faith around them from which there is no escape.
The chapter on Tom Cruise and his relationship with the self-described "pope of Scientology" is every bit as intriguing as the plots from the "Fox Catcher" and "Spartacus", revealing Miscavige as the over-compensating, deeply insecure, petty tyrant who revels in the humiliation and suffering of his "fellow family members" like all domestic violence perpetrators. But it also explains why, like most domestic violence victims, it is so difficult to leave.
If like me, you want to learn "THE REAL TRUTH" about the "Church" of Scientology, start with this book. But don't STOP with this book. Read other books and articles as I have, including COS's materials and "reprogramming" books on what differentiates a "religion" and a "cult". Only then can you arrive at YOUR personal truth on the subject. (hint: as Pulitzer Prize Winning journalist Bob Woodward said in the midst of the Watergate scandal "Follow the Money.") Most importantly, keep an open mind, but think for yourself.
I enjoy reading many investigative works about Scientology, as it seems amazing that it continues to exist after victimizing so many people and families while hiding behind a shell of religion.
Ms. Reitman obviously did a tremendous amount of research and had great access. I found it very interesting that most recently Scientology likely made more money off of real estate holdings than from new members. In may ways it is like a pyramid scheme, success dependent on bringing in new members who gan be encouraged (demanded) to give their life savings. Sad for them and for their families.
I would like to see a future specific investigative work directed toward David Miscavige, and a concentrated effort to have the IRS reevaluate the tax exemption of this organization. I don't like the fact that we are all supporting this via tax deductions. I commend Ms. Reitman for writing Inside Scientology. I would also like to hear of any attempts by the organization to harass her now for doing so, and how we can fight back against this cult to avoid creation further victims. I encourage everyone to read the extensive information on web sites such as Operation Clambake, Truthaboutscientology.org, and others.
After reading, and learning about the L. Ron Hubbard answer to psychiatry, I found myself comparing this to Mormonism and Hubbard to Joseph Smith. I have also read a fascinating book on Mormonism by Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven. I highly recommend it as well.
What is unusual regarding Scientology revealed by Inside Scientology is that it seems like Scientology isn't a theology. It is more like a psychiatric approach to well being. Scientologists do not worship The Lord, they pay for auditing sessions where they talk about the mind, and weird sci-fi stuff like "the thetans."
If you want to discover what Travolta and Cruise consider religion, read Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology. I think that if Travolta and Cruise read it they might exit the clown car they are passengers on.