Summary: Wright’s book covers the history of Scientology from the youth of L. Ron Hubbard, to Scientology’s founding, to the current scandals.
My Thoughts: Going Clear is meant to be impartial, though I found it to lean heavily in the anti-Scientology direction. For instance, it provides pages and pages of stories that make the reader cringe, followed by a short statement saying that the Church of Scientology does not verify those claims. If it were impartial, it would spend the same amount of time presenting the Church’s side as the opposing side.
It is, however, clearly well researched. I had some knowledge of L. Ron Hubbard previous to reading this book – my grandpa knew him for a short time while he was still an aspiring writer, and so my dad has stories about that. I had no clue that he was so cruel, dishonest, and mentally ill. (Other than having a clear problem with believing in his own invented stories.) The only other book I’ve read on Scientology was Beyond Belief, by David Miscavige’s niece Jenna Miscavige Hill. My view of David Miscavige was colored by Ms. Hill’s rendition of him, which was much kinder than that in Going Clear. She did briefly mention that there was rumor of his violence, but not anything that would make me suspect the violence that Wright reports. I found this book to be believable, well-researched, and eye-opening. Definitely worth reading if you’re interested in learning about Scientology from the non-Scientologist’s view. It gets four stars (loses half a star due to claims of impartiality).