Inside Scientology

Inside Scientology

The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion

eBook - 2011
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"A masterful piece of reporting . . . 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

Scientology is known for its celebrity believers and its team of "volunteer ministers" at disaster sites such as the World Trade Center; its notably aggressive response to criticism or its attacks on psychiatry; its requirement that believers pay as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach the highest levels of salvation. But for all its notoriety, Scientology has remained America's least understood new religion, even as it has been one of its most successful.

Now Janet Reitman tells its riveting full story in the first objective modern history of Scientology, at last revealing the astonishing truth about life within the controversial religion for its members and ex-members. Based on five years of research, confidential documents, and extensive interviews with current and former Scientologists, this is an utterly compelling work of nonfiction and the defining work on an elusive faith.

"A meticulously researched history and revealing exposé, a frightening portrait of a religion that many find not just controversial, but dangerous." -- Boston Globe

"This book is fearless." -- Wall Street Journal

A New York Times Notable Book Best Books of 2011, Nonfiction
San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten of 2011
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011
ISBN: 9780547549231
Characteristics: 1 online resource ; xx, 444 pages.
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

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Mar 31, 2018

“100 Must-Read Books About Life in Cults and Oppressive Religious Sects”
by Elizabeth Allen. posted January 27, 2017, at Book Riot

May 24, 2016

For the most an interesting read, but probably a little too detailed and long without enough dirt to keep me interested the whole time.

Interesting for those studying the cult or Hubbard himself, but I felt needed more individual stories and a little more concise.

Apr 22, 2016

This book didn't really tell me anything new about Scientology, and the dirt on celebs wasn't dirty enough. I want FILTH!

However, it does shed a more human light on old L. Ron, so I'm giving it a generous 2-star rating for that and for being well-written.

$cieno-fiends will enjoy this.

Feb 20, 2016

A mostly balanced look at America's most controversial religion. Two things that disturbed me - the life and suspicious death of Lisa MacPherson at the Clearwater "retraining" centre, and the fact that both Kelly Preston and Kirstie Alley were required to take tape recorders with them when they were interviewed by the author. Most churches would allow their members to speak freely without such "precautions".

Apr 23, 2015

Janet Reitman takes a well-balanced approach to a controversial subject and enigmatic leader. She exposes in great detail--perhaps too detailed for some--all the negatives of this recently invented religion but without vindictiveness. She states what she knows and admits what she does not. Given that, she shows how and why the religion has such a grip (sometimes physically) on its members and why it might be the elixir that man has sought throughout the ages: meaning, purpose and the promise of an after-life.

Apr 01, 2015

I think I'm almost finished with my fascinating Scientology bender. I just can't get enough of these crazy kids. It makes me highly suspicious of the general public that they fall for such mythologies, hell any mythology. Especially when it's so obvious that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.

Nov 17, 2014

Very interesting and bizarre, as Scientology usually is. Her writing style is a little dry, so I wasn't sucked in, but it was enjoyable and easy to read, in any case.

It's hard to say how objective the book is; really she has to go on what her sources tell her. I think overall Reitman is saying the methods invented by Hubbard and used by Scientologists may very well work for some people, but the practices of the Church of Scientology are pretty abhorrent.

May 07, 2014

Sometimes something is so banal or mundane, it becomes lost in the telling. The origin of scientology was a story outline offered in sympathy to Hubbard, a failed SF writer, by the successful SF author, Robert A. Heinlein. [Hubbard belonged to a SF writers club.] It was just that, a story line and plot. When Hubbard began a scam called Scientology, based upon the paper Heinlein had so charitably offered him, Heinlein was furious and never spoke to Hubbard forevermore. Everything about Hubbard and scientology is pure scam, pure trash, although the same could be said about other religions as well.

Feb 12, 2014

The author tries, lord how she tries, to be evenhanded. But a factual history of Scientology has no option but to show the church (mental health treatment? social movement? self-improvement program? pyramid scheme?) to be both ridiculous and wicked. Ms. Reitman doesn't dignify with a mention its even sleazier aspects, for example, its blackmail of members, particularly Hollywood stars.

Mar 19, 2013

A very well written account of one of the world's scariest organizations. Reitman really did her homework in putting this book together, taking the reader deep inside the most secretive "church" on the planet. From L. Ron Hubbard's beginnings to the seduction of Tom Cruise and other Hollywood celebrities, the book exposes some of Scientology's dirtiest secrets. One thing I would say is that the author, in an attempt to be unbiased, goes too light on the church and skips or lightly addresses many of its darker aspects - including the disappearance of church leader David Miscavige's wife Shelly in 2006. Still, an engrossing read and difficult to put down. Highly recommended!

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Mar 19, 2013

Peredur111 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Feb 22, 2012

Pulsations thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 40 and 41


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