Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: July 5th 2011
Source: I own this book.
If Americans don’t know much about history, they know even less about Scientology. If asked, they might rattle off the names of celebrity followers Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and founder L. Ron Hubbard, but few of us have more than a scattered sense of what it is and how it developed. Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology aims to correct that deficiency. The fruition of five years of research, this even-handed tome lays out the extraordinary story of how a religion fostered by a Nebraska-born pulp writer became a successful, super-secretive world faith. Rolling Stone journalist Reitman offers an unvarnished chronicle that includes accounts of physical and psychological abuse, financial manipulations, and cover-ups.
An extremely comprehensive look at Scientology from a beginner’s perspective. If you know nothing about it, this is a great place to start. For those with knowledge of Scientology, this book won’t teach you anything new. It covers the history of Scientology, from its founding until where it stands today. I thought it was extremely interesting, overwhelming, and at times, very scary.
A couple of things kept this from being a 5 star book. Number one was its structure. There is no clear start or finish. It kind of meanders and there is not really a beginning, middle, and definitely no end. The Epilogue kind of comes up out of nowhere. I would have liked to see that clarified better. There were a few times when I thought the book was going to end, but then it continued on for a while longer. Strange.
Also, I would have liked to see it go into more depth. I understand this is supposed to be written from a journalistic/objective point of view, and that’s fine, so maybe I was just looking for a little bit more. I felt it stayed on the surface too much. I wanted more information about Operation Snow White and all the other scandals that have occurred since the religion was founded.
The one thing I did feel was covered with a fantastic amount of detail was the Lisa McPherson case. I’m not going to provide you with any background on that here, Google is your friend. I also enjoyed and was fascinated by the descriptions and section on “Gold” base.
In the end, I do feel like I learned more about Scientology and Dianetics than I ever wanted to learn. And that’s a good thing. It means the author did her job, and she did it well. I would recommend this book to you if you have in interest in learning more about Scientology. And how could you not? There are so many unanswered questions out there about the religion. And many of them are answered right here in this book.
To order a copy of Inside Scientology from Amazon.com, click here: Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion.