Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright
Lawrence Wright has taken a very no nonsense straight-ahead approach to a subject that is pretty wild: L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief is a sprawling study of the man, the myth and the religion that proudly declares Tom Cruise, John Travolta and many celebrities as members.
Pulitzer Prize winner Wright gives a detailed history of Hubbard and his wrangling of members as much as his philosophy (a well-researched account that takes up most of the first half of the book) and though we do get a good amount of celeb stories:Travolta’s initiation, director/writer Paul Haggis interest then falling out (the celeb part makes up the second half of this near 400 page story), what I liked almost as much as Scientology’s connection to Hollywood was learning about Hubbard…a truly wild character indeed, if not wholly insane.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief is a chilling yet compelling read. You’re not soon going to be able to stop reading-and marveling at the accounts of torture Hubbard and his minions brought on their members, as seeing how indeed belief can be a prison and how many people willingly lock themselves into something that reads like an everyday science fiction novel but is a world-wide religion making millions of dollars.