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

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Staff Reviews

Everything you wanted to know about Scientology but were afraid to ask. Ms. Reitman examines the intricacies of one of the world's most controversial religions, turning a spotlight on a subject that prefers to remain in shadows. Cautionary rather than condemnatory. — Alden Graves


“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 Best Books of 2011, Nonfiction
San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten of 2011

About 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."

Praise For…

"[a] searing expose." -People Magazine

"the most complete picture of Scientology so far." –Garry Wills, New York Times Book Review

"compelling, rich and courageous...what comes through this prodigious reporting effort is a really good read about the birth of a strange and yet all-American institution...INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY is an impressive high-wire act producing a scrupulous history of how one man reframed the universe and how a lot of people paid for the privilege of agreeing with him." - Oregonian

"Inside Scientology is a masterful piece of reporting....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." - Washington Post

"this book is fearless" - Wall Street Journal

"[a] meaty, engaging new book"

"In a new book, Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secret Religion, author Janet Reitman tell the fascinating history of the mysterious organization and its members." -

"[a] meticulously researched history and revealing exposé, a frightening portrait of a religion that many find not just controversial, but dangerous…Throughout the book, the author displays consummate journalistic skills. Her accumulation of evidence is particularly impressive and gives rise to one of the more memorable works of investigative nonfiction in recent years."- Boston Globe

"a well-researched and compelling read" - Los Angeles Times

"[a] richly narrative history of the organization… The book is convincing and compelling. It will be interesting to see how the Scientology leadership responds." - St Louis Post Dispatch

"Inside Scientology leaves no scandal unturned in the life of L. Ron Hubbard, underlings, celebrities and cult "slaves" in this story of America's most secretive religion....It is a riveting read not only for its thorough research, and winning style, but because [Reitman] has left no greed undescribed in the 396 page-turner." - Seattle Post Intelligencer

"So most journalistic accounts of Scientology fall into two categories: ax-grinding expose or fawning apologism. Fortunately Janet Reitman finds a third way in her authoritative, absorbing "Inside Scientology": nuanced reporting that lets the facts speak for themselves..."Inside Scientology" will remain a thoughtful, fair-minded record of its tumultuous first generation." - San Francisco Chronicle

"a serious, painstaking investigation of the organization's unique structure and bare-knucled business acumen." - GQ

"Reitman's book delivers all it promises, and it promises a lot… [Reitman] has put together the most masterfully written, narratively rewarding, and thorough yarn about L. Ron Hubbard, David Miscavige, and Scientology and its strange past, present, and possible future….In Inside Scientology, we have a thorough, brave journalist backed by a major publisher, and soon what no doubt will be a major publicity push: Reitman's book should soon become Scientology's biggest headache in years." - Village Voice

"[a] meticulously compiled exposé, culled from hundreds of interviews with active Scientologists and defectors alike. [Reitman's] revelations — including abuse allegations against church leader David Miscavige and details about the organization's aggressive courtship of Tom Cruise — come with impressive backup." - Entertainment Weekly

"Inside Scientology is an engrossing, groundbreaking work that brings a welcome sense of fair-mindedness to a subject that is, for many journalists and scholars, too hot to touch. Reitman has accomplished the miracle of adding light without heat."
Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11

"Inside Scientology goes beyond the celebrities and the scandals—though they're here in all their absurdity and horror—to find in Scientology a more profound story about "technology" as an article of faith and faith as a vessel for science, or, at least, science fiction. With precision and empathy, Janet Reitman has in this definitive investigation laid bare the genesis and possibly the endgame of America's strangest religion."
Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family and C Street

Product Details
ISBN: 9780547750354
ISBN-10: 0547750358
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: August 6th, 2013
Pages: 464
Language: English