Book review: Wright book offers insights into Scientology

By LARRY BALLWAHN | Wilton

This is not a book review, but rather a book awareness. It is likely that you’ve come across the term Scientology. It is the “religion” that has been heavily promoted by Tom Cruise. Along with Cruise, John Travolta and several others have publicly credited it for their success.

I am only making you aware of the book in case you’ve heard of this “religion” and want to know more. Lawrence Wright’s “Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” details the life of charismatic founder L. Ron Hubbard, as well as describes the Hollywood connection and the lives of some of the Scientology participants. You will even find out how and why it has been declared a “religion.”

Because it is considered a religion by the IRS, it has tax-free status. Largely because of this, it has amassed vast amounts of money that it uses to expand its reach and maintain its hold on members. See the Sept. 17, 2018, issue of People magazine, which contains “My Escape from Scientology,” an excerpt from Michelle LeClair’s book “Perfectly Clear.”

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About awareness, are you watching The Great American Read on PBS? Episodes began Tuesday, Sept. 11. You can tune in or stream episodes at 9/8c. Shows that have been broadcast are available at pbs.org/greatamericanread. PBS describes the program as follows:

“The Great American Read is an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading, told through the prism of America’s 100 best-loved novels (as chosen in a national survey). It investigates how and why writers create their fictional worlds, how we as readers are affected by these stories, and what these 100 different books have to say about our diverse nation and our shared human experience.

“The television series features entertaining and informative documentary segments, with compelling testimonials from celebrities, authors, notable Americans and book lovers across the country. It is comprised of a two-hour launch episode in which the list of 100 books is revealed, five one-hour theme episodes that examine concepts common to groups of books on the list, and a finale, in which the results are announced of a nationwide vote to choose America’s best-loved book.”

If nothing else, check out the list of 100 most-popular novels in the U.S.

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