A monthly offering from Drexel Library’s staff about the books we’ve read.
Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion
by Janet Reitman
Whether you view Scientology as a con, a cult, or a religion, its history is endlessly fascinating, as evidenced by the number of recent newspaper and magazine articles, books, and websites on the subject. Rumors of brainwashing, spying, kidnapping, stalking, and even torture have followed Scientology for years, but only in the last decade have details on the church’s core beliefs and recruitment tactics come to light in the mainstream media. Rollingstone contributing editor Janet Reitman has written Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion, one of the latest in a series of recent books on L. Ron Hubbard’s mysterious movement.
Equally entertaining and frightening, Inside Scientology grew out of Reitman’s five years researching the subject, leading to a lengthy 2006 Rollingstone article and eventually this book. Reitman’s talent for interviewing current and former members and skill in accessing classified church documents gives an authenticity to information that would otherwise be considered so outlandish that it borders on comical. Although not quite as detailed as Lawrence Wright’s more recent Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Inside Scientology is an extensive accounting of the controversial religion’s first 60 years. It’s hard to put down.