Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion [NOOK Book]

Overview

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

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Overview

“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
Amazon.com Best Books of 2011, Nonfiction
San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten of 2011
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  • Inside Scientology
    Inside Scientology  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

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. Expect front-page headlines and strong sales.

Library Journal
Reitman (contributing editor, Rolling Stone) here expands her March 2006 cover story on the secretive Church of Scientology, known for courting Hollywood celebrities, suing and harassing opponents, and infiltrating government agencies. Based on meticulous research and interviews with current and former top-level and ordinary Scientologists, her book takes readers through the full history of the church. She begins with the boyhood of pulp science fiction author and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86), and continues through Hubbard's development of the pop psychology Dianetics, the founding of the church in the early 1950s and its controversial battles with the government, David Miscavige's takeover of the church following Hubbard's death, and Miscavige's cultivation of actor Tom Cruise as the religion's most prominent advocate. VERDICT Reitman's attention to the personal accounts of participants brings the story to life and adds a dimension of drama (and length) not as prominent in Hugh Urban's more scholastic account, The Church of Scientology (reviewed below). Independently and together, these two books offer a much needed, engagingly told, nonpartisan portrait of Scientology over the last 60 years. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 1/17/11.]—Steve Young, McHenry Cty. Coll., Crystal Lake, IL
Library Journal
A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, Reitman spent five years writing what she intends as a fair and balanced picture of Scientology. A single excerpt suggests that her tone is indeed evenhanded. There should be demand.
Diane Winston
…a masterful piece of reporting…Inside Scientology is 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.
—The Washington Post
Garry Wills
Reitman…who spent five years trying to pierce the walls Scientologists put up against outsiders, gives us the most complete picture of Scientology so far.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Anyone who missed the recent investigative accounts of the Church of Scientology will benefit from this exhaustive history of the controversial sect. A contributing editor at Rolling Stone, Reitman has expanded on her 13,000-word story on Scientology, which ran in 2006, to produce a detailed and readable examination of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, and his successor, David Miscavige. The book is rife with astonishing accounts of the abuses of power, the purges, and the climate of fear and intimidation commonplace in the top ranks of the organization. What's lacking is a thoughtful analysis of what Scientology represents within the broader 21st-century culture, and why people fall prey to its ideas. Reitman plows through her abundant material without an organizing narrative arc; consequently, many of the chapters pile on without providing satisfying conclusions. The only hopeful conclusion Reitman offers—and most readers will agree—is that Scientology is shrinking, with less than 250,000 members worldwide. (July)
From the Publisher
"A detailed and readable examination of the life of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church, and his successor, David Miscavige." —-Publishers Weekly
Kirkus Reviews

Thoroughly engrossing page-turner on the shape-shifting Church of Scientology and its despotic, possibly criminal hierarchy.

Rolling Stonecontributing editor Reitman based this debut on an award-winning article she wrote for that magazine in 2006 amid a flurry of media interest in the normally press-averse organization as it launched an antic publicity campaign featuring the world's most famous Scientologist, Tom Cruise. For most of its 50-plus-year history, Scientology not only avoided attention; it viciously attacked anyone who dared come after it with every means, legal and otherwise, at its disposal. Some say it has even managed to get away with murder (or manslaughter), indentured servitude of minors, brainwashing and the stalking of apostates. So how did such a notoriously thin-skinned and anti-social belief system acquire any believers at all? Reitman delves into the pop-psychology, positive-thinking origins of the cult in the early '50s in the mind of science-fiction hack, truth-bender and would-be commodore of the planet L. Ron Hubbard. A complex, Ponzi-like structure of franchises and a catechism called the Bridge to Total Freedom requiring steep payment from pilgrims at every point along the way resulted in rapid financial growth. As the cult grew in size, its founder took to the sea, creating a society resembling a sci-fi dystopia, designed both to exalt himself and evade tax laws on the land. After Hubbard died an isolated and paranoid hermit, a young man named David Miscavige muscled his way to the top with the blunt aplomb of a Stalinist apparatchik, punctuating his ascendancy with consequent purges of perceived rivals. Reitman somehow manages to maintain an objective stance throughout the book. One of her sources is a charmingly (and surprisingly) independent-minded young second-generation Scientologist named Natalie, whom the author posits as representing an alternative, more recognizably human future of the church—if the top dogs don't first succeed in blowing it all to bits.

A bizarre and complicated history told with masterful control.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547549231
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 84,718
  • File size: 939 KB

Meet the Author

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 54 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(16)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    uncovering the hidden world of scientology

    "inside scientology" is a very hard to put down book. the writer has done an amazing job researching this questianable organization for over many years interviewing many former members of the church of scientology and how this group has a control over its members and how they use certain abusive tactics to pursue individuels and media out lets who questian their motives and practices and money. great gift for a friend or family member.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    One Man - Half Possesed/Half Depressed - All B.S.

    It's amazing. One man, that anyone that took psychology 101 could describe as having extreme bipolar disorder with a predaliction of compulsive lying, could rise to such wealth and power. Hey, did you know the word "Gullable" is written on the ceiling?? Really!! Look up, it's there.

    15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Valuable insight into a dangerous organization.

    This is a well researched, objective stidy of an organization that can only be compared to something like Stalin's Soviet Union, or Hitler's Nazi party. It is both a totalitarian organization and a criminal enterprise, with institutionalized purges, thought police, intimidation, and spying (and reporting on ) one's family, friends, and neighbors.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting, well-researched and disturbing

    We always hear so much about Scientology and the famous who are associated with it but Reitman goes much further and starts at the beginning with L. Ron Hubbard. How after his death this franchised faith became stronger. There is obvious controversy, cover-up and most of this organization thrives,succeeds on power and especially MONEY. The more you pay the higher your understanding of the "study of truth" becomes. With millions of members in 165 different countries, numerous real estate holdings and the statement that 50-60,000 people pay for some type of information on Scientology every year is jaw-dropping. Reitman provides notes, bibliography and index. She's a graduate of UCal-Santa Cruz and has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Captivating & Fascinating

    Almost impossible to stop reading! The writing and facts are astounding! Very entertaining - but frightening at the same time!

    Unbelievable how facts were kept hidden from the people of this world - until now!

    MUST READ!

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Informative and interesting

    A very well-written and thoroughly researched book that pulls back the curtain on the snake oil salesman's wagon. What I found most interesting is that the largest threat to Scientology is not the naysayers and critics of the "religion" (as they woyld like you to believe), but those who are involved in (and promote it) most passionately. Always ready to strike with litigation and harassment and cry "bully" (or whatever choice buzz word they opt for), you'd think they would focus more on not shooting themselves in the foot. Which, of course, is the fault of the media. Until next time when they've come out with a new, updated Scientology 4.0, the biggest curiosity to me is that people continue to pay to be duped. Fascinating.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2011

    Great

    There are plenty of books out there that discredit the existence of Christ. No one is "telling" you that your religion is or isnt right, freedom of speech people! This is a wonderfully researched and well written book that provides some insight as to how Scientology came to light. I enjoyed this book just as much as i enjoyed books explaining The Big Bang theory

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2011

    Brilliantly researched

    Captivating

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Disclaimer: This is all based on what I learned in this book. I

    Disclaimer: This is all based on what I learned in this book. I didn’t do any other readings or research, so it glosses over a lot of the details.
    I have to admit, I was intrigued when I saw this book pop up in my Goodreads notifications and decided to give it a try. I didn’t really know much about Scientology other than Tom Cruise, science fiction and that the media portrays them as brainwashed and cultish, so I was definitely interested. With that said, I actually learned a lot.




    Although the book claimed to be an unbiased look inside the world of Scientology, it left me wondering whether this was true. I’m not sure if Scientology is actually as bad as the author makes it sound or if she may have been a bit biased simply because she’s not part of the church. I’d be really curious to read a book by someone who was and still IS affiliated with the church, which doesn’t seem to exist. All of the people interviewed were ex-members, and although I am sure that there was some validity to what they said, I have to wonder about some of the things that were said to have happened.With all of that said, I am going to go out on a limb and say that Scientology isn’t as nuts as I thought it was. I mean, they basically believe in reincarnation, discovering and being freed from a traumatic experience in order to move forward and that we are over-medicating to deal with our problems.  None of those things are specific to Scientology and are actually pretty widespread beliefs.




    It’s not as difficult to see how and why people enter the vortex of Scientology. Their entire premise, that you are in control of your life and will succeed if you could only discover and handle past traumas, is a pretty generic idea. The way you get sucked in, according to the book, is in part due to the fact that you are told that the only way to discover and free yourself is to attend their auditing sessions, at their centers and pay for their services. Then, once they have your initial down payments, which can range in the thousands of dollars, they pretty much own you. And they will give you services on credit, which means that you continue to owe them, which you can either pay off with money or by working for them, which means that they own you even more.




    The reason for their reputation is because of their extreme views and practices. They aren’t just anti-over medicating, they are anti-medicating, period. And it’s only the extreme zealots that are against other people medicating themselves or their children. The average Scientologist doesn’t really give a hoot about what other people are doing because they are too wrapped up in their own “thetans” and Bridge to Total Freedom to really care. Like any religion, the average person doesn’t really care how other people are living their lives so long as it doesn’t impede on theirs, but like any religion, they have their media-loving zealots who make everyone else look bad.




    So, while I don’t see myself attending an auditing session anytime (ever), I was surprised at the quiet confidence that some of the current members demonstrated. It’s not so hard to see why so many people join the church. Their entire basis hinges on the fact that everyone has something wrong with them and that they can fix it, which is a pretty inviting statement when you’re down and out. I’m willing to bet that the people who actively hate them are the ones that are afraid of becoming hooked if they were to go through an auditing session (kind of like how the most homophobics show underlying homosexual tendencies).For a list of people who are Scientologists (some really surprised me), go to: list of Scientologists (I was really surprised to see that Catherine Bell, Elisabeth Moss, Leah Remini, a few actors from “That 70’s Show” and Jason Lee were on it).

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    Why judge?

    Because it's not true. It is insane. It is a "religion" created be a sci fi writer. Isn't that enough to tip you off? It is also dangerous. THINK! If you still can.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Well...

    Not that I'm a fan of Scientology, but don't you "pay to be duped" with very religion?

    3 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    how. dare. you.

    Scientology is NOT some secretive religion. the fact that someone even wrote a book about it SHOWS that its NOT IN ANY WAY secretive. WHY CAN'T PEOPLE JUST LET OTHERS BELIEVE WHAT THEY BELIEVE??? this book is insulting to even look at.It actually insults me. I don't go around telling Christians that God isn't real, why should I (or YOU for that matter) go around telling Scientologists that what they believe isn't true?

    3 out of 81 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2012

    Not worth it

    If "Inside Scientology" is characterized as a definitive study of this religion, it should really be characterized as study of Scientology's detractors. This of course is commercial journalism with the objective of selling books. Nothing wrong with making a buck but Ms. Reitman takes the posture of a journalistic white knight in the service of pure truth. Of course truth is not usually that simple and often it doesn't make for a compelling read. Daily life can be pretty bland. From my experience as a long-time Scientologist, I have to say that I'm more familiar with smart, well-intentioned people who work hard at both gaining a better understanding of their spiritual natural and helping improve conditions for others in many and varied ways. But that's a dull story in comparison to a secretive cult with some undisclosed agenda. These are the days of tabloid journalism and "news" often being the process of jumping from one celebrity scandal to another. All I can say is there is another Scientology story from the inside that isn't told in this book.

    2 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    An excellent account of the rise of scientology, the life of Hub

    An excellent account of the rise of scientology, the life of Hubbard, the many controversies of the church, and as fun and interesting to read as a popular fiction novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Yall need sum jesus.

    Yep yep yep.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Long but informative

    Exhausting and long, but clear and well chronicled story of a terrifying organization.

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    It wasn't what I thought

    Got this thinking I'd get some good insight but didn't. Oh well it was free.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 54 Customer Reviews

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