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

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jul 5, 2011 - Religion - 464 pages
9 Reviews
“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 exposť, 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

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Reitman does an excellent job discussing the history of Scientology from profit-making novelty brainchild of huckster, author and charismatic carnival barker L. Ron Hubbard, to it's current incarnation as money-extracting franchise-cum-shakedown sideshow. David Miscavige, the current head of the church, does NOT come out of this looking well. He is almost a pathetic figure, a tin-pot tyrant, a poor man's Kim Jong Il, a violent, almost hysterical, control freak with a permatan and no friends, Along the way Reitman gives privilege of place to ex-church members who convey painful, even harrowing tales of abuse, exploitation, punishment, ex-communication and shunning, and finally escape. Surfacing repeatedly in the narrative are Scientology's examples of bad faith, bad behavior, bad taste, and bad publicity, until in the church, a character in its own right, emerges as a personification of petty evil and transparent swindles. Should be required reading in schools, if nothing else than so the church can be gradually choked out of existence by a rope made of its own misdeeds. And given this mass of petty evil, I must give credit to Reitman for being as fair-minded as she could be while still being honest about the church's activities. 

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This book reveals the behind-the scenes details about Scientology and exposes the underlying myths about Scientology.

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About the author (2011)

JANET REITMAN is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone.†Her work has appeared in GQ, Men's Journal, the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine,†and the Washington Post, among other publications. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, and was a finalist for a National Magazine Award in 2007 for the story "Inside Scientology."

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