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The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
In this book, Sweeney discusses the making of his original CoS documentary where he famously exploded in rage on-screen in response to intense psychological warfare from a church determined to crush his investigation and, subsequently, have him fired from the BBC. It's a testament to Sweeney that he refused to back down, despite admitting to being more afraid at that time than he had ever been when reporting from war zones around the globe, and the groundbreaking Panorama documentary, 'Scientology and Me' (and the follow-up, 'The Secrets of Scientology'), was the result.
Seriously fascinating stuff. Highly recommended to fans of secretive cult exposés, cracking investigative journalism, and free speech.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
what a fantastic book - don't want to give it away but watch the Youtube videos with John in, so interesting!Published 9 days ago by Trees
Review of what is really a cult, and therefore will dwindle away as everything eventually does.Published 2 months ago by Grandma Judy
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 morePublished 6 months ago by Innes Muir
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 morePublished 7 months ago by John D
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 morePublished 7 months ago by Helen P
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 morePublished 7 months ago by Coco Consuelo
Well done, John Sweeney. Thank you for putting the spotlight on this devious business posing as a religion (for tax purposes). Read morePublished 7 months ago by K D Connelly
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