By Janet Reitman
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28.00, 464 pages
Anybody who knows anything about Scientology is bound to have an opinion about it. To some, it’s a religion dedicated to self-betterment and the golden path to recognizing one’s true potential. To others, it’s a wacky pseudo-scientific brainwashing cult created by a hack science-fiction writer looking to get rich. The truth, explains journalist Janet Reitman, is that Scientology is different things to different people. In her extensive new work Inside Scientology, Reitman explores different aspects of the controversial practice, delving into the lives of both its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and its current leader, David Miscavige. She details its evolution from the self-help program Dianetics to a government-recognized and tax-exempt religion, and its reputation as a mecca for big-name celebrities, offering numerous personal interviews with former and current Scientologists, both disillusioned and devout.
One of the best things about this book is how everything is presented completely dispassionately and without bias. The interviews provide a surprisingly balanced insider’s view, and important events are chronicled with intense precision. Here readers will find only painstakingly researched facts.
Reitman’s writing is clear and logically packaged. The resulting book is a fresh look at the polarizing topic of Scientology.
Reviewed by Holly Scudero