Lawrence Wright has been making the rounds for his new book in the past bit. He’s popped into my podcast feed a couple of times, on KCRW’s The Business and WNYC’s On the Media, not to mention all the print and online stories that are floating around. No huge surprise: Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and his new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, goes into the beliefs of a fascinating and controversial religion.
Scientology is also a group that’s famously litigious, a reputation that’s helped delay the book’s release in Canada. I guess sometimes strict libel laws mean we can’t have nice things. But according to Quill and Quire, that might change sometime soon.
Which is great, because this definitely seems like a story worth reading. Stranger books editor — and one-time Prairie Dog America correspondent — Paul Constant wrote a review of the book that outlines just how fascinating Going Clear is.
Here’s a bit from Constant’s review, talking about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard:
From what I can tell, Scientology considers Hubbard to be the greatest man who ever lived, a cross between Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, with some Indiana Jones and Captain America slathered on top, but Wright paints a much darker portrait. The Hubbard we’re introduced to — who comes across as an egomaniacal compulsive liar, a man who beat one wife and abandoned a child he had with another woman — is pretty much the height of heresy for the church. Wright notes in the acknowledgments that it’s been decades since any author has attempted a Hubbard biography, because former attempts have been discredited or suppressed by the church’s lawyers.