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The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology [Kindle Edition]

John Sweeney
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Tom Cruise and John Travolta say the Church of Scientology is a force for good. Others disagree. Award-winning journalist John Sweeney investigated the Church for more than half a decade. During that time he was intimidated, spied on and followed and the results were spectacular: Sweeney lost his temper with the Church's spokesman on camera and his infamous 'exploding tomato' clip was seen by millions around the world. In THE CHURCH OF FEAR Sweeney tells the full story of his experiences for the first time and paints a devastating picture of this strange organisation, from former Scientologists who tell heartbreaking stories of families torn apart and lives ruined to its current followers who say it is the solution to many of mankind's problems. This is the real story of the Church by the reporter who was brave enough to take it on.

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'A bold and swashbuckling reporter...let him shout: at least he shouts the truth' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'Gripping' THE ECONOMIST 'A brave book' LIVERPOOL DAILY POST 'Blackly comic' THE NEW HUMANIST

About the Author

John Sweeney is a reporter for BBC Panorama. He is the author of six previous books including the novel Elephant Moon.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 453 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1909269034
  • Publisher: Silvertail Books (7 Jan. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AQY300M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #28,510 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb piece of journalism 27 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This really is a superb piece of journalism, detailing as it does the dark and disturbing world of former and existing members of quite possibly the world's most controversial religion. How do you define religion, and is the Church of Scientology justified in calling itself that - what about their critics who state it is really more of a cult and what exactly is a cult, how are such things defined and where do you draw the line - all these things and more are discussed in this deeply disturbing piece of writing.

John Sweeney is best known for his Panorama documentary which is loosely based around this book - this should perhaps be written the other way around, for this book was written as a companion to those who watched that programme and saw his infamous "tomato" episode, where the echelons of the "Church" deliberately goaded him into losing his rag. Their covert surveillance of John's team and everything that they do is by far the most sinister and the almost Godlike persona that the Church leader has leave me in doubt as what side of the fence I sit on when deciding whether this is a cult or not. If you though really want to know, you will have to read this book for yourself.

It is somewhat difficult for me to rate this book, because on the one hand, it is difficult read, but on the other it Is most definitely one of the best written from a journalistic viewpoint that I have read in a long while. Because it does tend to waffle in places, I would probably give it 4.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very reserved intelligent tomato. 23 Dec. 2013
By Glen
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is really for those that watched and enjoyed the expose by Sweeney and Panorama a few years ago of the Church Of Scientology, in order to fully appreciate it.

It will have you shaking your head in disbelief that such an institution can freely exist in a modern society, and how so many people can be suckered into believing in its teachings when they are so obviously based on such abject fantasy.

Well worth the cover price being charged, and tenaciously written by the patient and amazingly reserved and not at all inexcusably exploding tomato he portrays himself as- John Sweeney.

A fine informative accompaniment to the programme.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating subject, poor writing 24 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a strange beast - the subject is fascinating but the writing is terrible. Although Sweeney may be a very good investigative journalist, and perhaps his other books are better, in Church of Fear he is incredibly repetitive. If I hear the phrases 'space alien satan' or 'exploding tomato' again I shall punch whoever utters them. All this is not helped by the typos that litter the Kindle edition, I felt as though I was reading a rough draft rather than a published book. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book but it certainly has weak points.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Sweeney, Church of Fear 19 April 2014
By Deb
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As another reviewer mentioned, this is more or less an account of the author's experiences whilst gathering information and guestioning allegations made about Scientology by others, which would later be aired on tv. John Sweeney's style of writing took a while to get used to- I think he must write as he speaks- but I often chuckled at his sense of humour. As for the whole Scientology thing, well, what can you say? L. Ron Hubbard was clearly a crack-pot and con-man who fed on the vulnerabilities of others and bled them dry, both emotionally and financially. I feel disgusted that so many people spend possibly their whole lives like flies in a web, completely unable to escape and, if anything, it seems even more crazy since Hubbard's death. Unfortunately, having said this, it may now mean I am constantly followed and spied on by men in black suits! I hope this is not the case. I will let you know! (Good book. Four stars because of the writing style).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An informative yet disturbing read. 25 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For anybody who saw John Sweeney's Panorama meltdown whilst filming their Scientology investigation, this should be required reading. The build up to that incident, plus the post incident fallout, is all covered here along with a wealth of background information about this cult/religion (make your own decision once you've read the book). The primary feeling I have after finishing the book is admiration, not just for Sweeney but also for the Scientology 'defectors' he interviewed. The levels of intimidation and harassment they appear to have been subjected to by the 'church' really is disturbing.

The only reason this has a 4/5 review is that it doesn't appear to have been thoroughly proof read. There are quite a few spelling and grammatical errors that take the shine off an otherwise excellent book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars this is certainly a good stance to take 17 Sept. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Objective this book isn't. Entertaining it is. BBC journalist John Sweeney recounts his highly personal tour around the downright weird world of Scientology, as he makes a Panorama documentary on the subject over a number of years. Much of the book is dialogue from that documentary, now famous for the "exploding tomato" bit, where the mental strain of going up against this mega (or not so mega, as the book reveals) church/cult/money-making machine caused Sweeney to erupt in a fit of rage viewed by millions on youtube.

Sweeney and his crew get followed, filmed, and spied on to a disturbing degree, as they travel around the UK and the US in search of interviews with those who are in the church and those who got out. He rejoices in descriptions of the people that he meets and the bizarre conversations he has with them. He uses the word "creepy" a lot, makes a convincing argument for the use of the 'c' word (no, not that one), and talks about Xenu and space aliens.

Sweeney says he didn't want anything going into the book that he hadn't experienced or heard first hand. As shrouded in secrecy as Scientology is, this is certainly a good stance to take. However, I would have liked a slightly clearer picture of the inner workings of the church, and a little more info on the various levels one has to climb through on the church's "Road to Total Freedom". But perhaps that is a different book.

Did I learn something? A bit. Will I ever think about joining the Church of Scientology? You've got to be kidding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
More Sweeney magic, great writing and considering the pressure he was under, surprisingly objective. Read it, it's not the definitive book on Scientology, what book could claim. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Innes Muir
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening.
Good read and enlightening however it was very repetitive.
Published 2 months ago by Bluefae05
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by J Mckenna
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading
I knew bits & pieces about Scientology, & about this ("exploding tomato") episode, but I really had no idea just how creepy the so-called "Church" is. Read more
Published 3 months ago by John D
2.0 out of 5 stars 2 stars for the factual content
I believe that this book ties in with a TV programme that I did not see. As a stand alone book I have to say that you can feel the author's bias coming through strongly, I would... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Helen P
5.0 out of 5 stars incident when BBC reporter John Sweeney lost his cool, and I could...
I remember watching the panorama, incident when BBC reporter John Sweeney lost his cool, and I could only feel with him and his crew. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Coco Consuelo
5.0 out of 5 stars No way for a business to behave.
Well done, John Sweeney. Thank you for putting the spotlight on this devious business posing as a religion (for tax purposes). Read more
Published 3 months ago by K D Connelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good read
Published 4 months ago by Eirwen Thrussell
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and interesting read
Thanks for the personal recommendation when I bumped into you in SE London. Good and interesting read.
Published 4 months ago by K L Maggioni
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very well writing and an interesting read
Published 5 months ago by Louise Brearley
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