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Inside Scientology: The Story of…

Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion (edition 2011)

by Janet Reitman

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3671629,545 (3.71)29
Title:Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion
Authors:Janet Reitman
Info:Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2011), Edition: None, Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Scientology, cult, insular community, fundamentalism, science fiction, California, fraud, pyramid scheme, religion, Florida, Clearwater, L. Ron Hubbard, investigative journalism

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Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman

  1. 10
    Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: Two similar journalistic exposes of Scientology, both of which take a surprisingly even-handed view of the group. I preferred Inside Scientology, although both are great primers on what is going on under David Miscavige's regime.
  2. 12
    A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed by Jon Atack (dawn_croaker)
  3. 01
    My Billion Year Contract: Memoir of a Former Scientologist by Nancy Many (Anonymous user)

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Scientology, created in 1954 by a prolific sci-fi writer named L. Ron Hubbard, claims to be the world’s fastest growing religion, with millions of members around the world and huge financial holdings. Its celebrity believers keep its profile high, and its teams of “volunteer ministers” offer aid at disaster sites such as Haiti and the World Trade Center. But Scientology is also a notably closed faith, harassing journalists and others through litigation and intimidation, even infiltrating the highest levels of the government to further its goals. Its attacks on psychiatry and its requirement that believers pay as much as tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars for salvation have drawn scrutiny and skepticism. And ex-members use the Internet to share stories of harassment and abuse.

Now Janet Reitman offers the first full journalistic history of the Church of Scientology, in an evenhanded account that at last establishes the astonishing truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology’s development from the birth of Dianetics to today, following its metamorphosis from a pseudoscientific self-help group to a worldwide spiritual corporation with profound control over its followers and even ex-followers.

Based on five years of research, unprecedented access to Church officials, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is the defining book about a little-known world. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
Well researched, shocking. ( )
  njcur | Feb 21, 2014 |
Read from February 12 to September 01, 2013

In February when I started this one, I was very curious about Scientology. Now it's May, I'm 53 pages in and I am VERY bored learning about Hubbard. Maybe I'll read a couple more chapters eventually, but it's been three months...

It's September...it's been 7 months. I'm 78 pages in and I've realized I don't really care about Scientology. I learned from the first 3 chapters that it is, in fact, as crazy as I thought it was. This one is being shelved as unfinished (which is a bummer since I paid at least $3 for this ebook). ( )
  melissarochelle | Jan 1, 2014 |
It is what it is, the book and what the book is about. The whole deal felt as trashy as fleece pants but I couldn't stop listening. And it made me feel dirty. Reitman's use of the paint-by-the-numbers journalistic nonfiction rulebook serves her purpose well but probably won't get her the same hysterical praise as other popular nonfiction writers that write no better or worse than her about creepy subjects. ( )
  librarianbryan | Apr 21, 2013 |
I will confess that the only reason I picked this book up in the first place was because I wanted to learn if there was any truth to the story (which I love) that Heinlein and Hubbard sat down one night and bet each other that they could each make up a religion and have a huge number of bona fide believing converts in 5 years. Heinlein's Church of All Worlds didn't really take off like Hubbard's Scientology. Sadly, Reitman doesn't mention this story, though this will not prevent me from continuing to tell it.

I soldiered on, despite my disappointment, and was rendered speechless with horror any number of times. I am not a religious type, and I find all of the religions I know anything in-depth about deeply weird, but the Scientologists are batshit. I knew about the aliens. I didn't know about the billion-year contracts, or the tossing people overboard from the yacht for minor infractions. Or the locking them up, or the letting them die from dehydration resulting from psychosis brought on by "auditing". I knew about the money, the corporate model, but not how punishingly avaricious the church was with its rank and file.

It was a fascinating book on a lot of levels. My only minor quibble is that I didn't get a real feel for what, exactly, the devotees get from the various classes/auditings/e-meters & etc. I got a clear picture of the trauma, of the betrayals, of the reporting on one another, of the keeping of files on people- but I really have no understanding of what benefits (and there must be some) there are. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Whatever else might be said about Lafayette Ron Hubbard, he undoubtedly had a strange and unique genius.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0618883029, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:22 -0400)

Reitman offers the first full, journalistic history of the Church of Scientology, in an even-handed account that at last establishes the astonishing truth about the controversial religion. She traces Scientology's development from the birth of Dianetics through to the present day.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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