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Let's sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky: Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology Paperback – 5 Feb. 2013
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material in it.
What I can say is that I was a guest in Jon's house on many occasions during the period when he was researching his book. He had predecessor books on hand to check-out and overtake, but even there he checked every detail by writing around, effectively finding out for himself.. He sent out many, many
letters, interviewed many people, and built up cabinets full of documents - no slightest plagiarism here! There was a good deal of information that he left out, feeling that when exposing a very litigous cult he had to have more than the minimum number of legally valid witnesses. He also has a very strong
sense of fair play and would never engage in opportunist sniping or mere demagoguery.
Others have copied from his first edition and thereby have made the profits that Jon didn't make - his enterprise in publishing the first edition of "Blue Sky" was dogged by mishaps and greed-inspired actions of others. I thus hope that this new edition gets bought by many, and that his hard work is at last vindicated via having money in his pocket. Jon's hard work well deserves your interest and support.
Scientology is still there, and it is still a threat both to individuals who approach it, and more widely in society, and thats even though being exposed for
what it is has 'bound' it, such that the cult cannot grow. Thus this book is still a necessary reference work, as well as being a good read.
Peter Forde B.Sc. (open)
I have an interest in cults and I have read other texts on Scientology; Atack’s book is perhaps the most fact-based, and therefore a little dry in style at times, with a lot names and dates and requiring some effort from the reader to keep up with the complex machinations of the Church of Scientology. But it is an absolutely essential read for anyone wanting to know the truth behind Scientology’s glossy façade: by the end of the book, it is impossible not to think of Ron L Hubbard as a more sinister version of the Wizard of Oz, a man who built an empire based on lies and deception, and who, incredibly, is still revered by thousands of followers of the religion’ he created.
It's such a truly fascinating and gobsmacking story. If it was a work of fiction you might say it was too farfetched, that such a story could never really happen like this. But it did.
There is so much here to learn about human nature in this account; how easy it is for intelligent people to be drawn in and manipulated being the most surprising point for me. I also noticed some similarity between the sales techniques of The Church of Scientology and Timeshare selling. Both involve many lies and deceptions and use bait and switch to get the mark to pay out more and more to obtain what was actually promised at the outset. Also, try and leave and see what happens... I could go on.
The many references and footnotes in the book show just how meticulous Jon Atack has been in the details of his research. What pleases me is that this edition is complete and the parts originally removed to avoid potential litigation in the USA have been put back in. There's some truly shocking stuff.
In my view this book is the best one to choose whether you have been involved or not. If you know someone thinking about joining, do them a big favour and buy them a copy.
The content is both fascinating and startling. Aside from details of the evolution of the church of scientology's strange core beliefs it has detailed accounts of many secretive*(1) operations undertaken by the Church of Scientology to subvert critics and organisations it saw as enemies.
Any one reading this book should be left in no doubt that the Church of Scientology was and still is dangerous organisation that will stop at nothing to silence criticism and forward its agenda of world domination (aka clearing the planet); not least perpetrating the largest ever infiltration of US Governments (many suggest the infiltration of Government agencies, local, national and international is still a major operation for the church of scientology).
This book also reminds one that while the church of scientology is suffering badly*(2) at the moment it has survived such times before; it seems it need only wait for people to forget. The only new feature in this latest bad times for the church of scientology is the Internet; one hopes "Anonymous" really does "never forget" and never lets those who matter, leaders and opinion makers, forget either.
*(1)That only saw the light of day thanks to various court cases and documents collected during FBI raids.
*(2)Several law suits against its front organisation Narconon, real life protests by Anonymous, a new independent scientology movement, general bad PR and ridicule across the Internet.
Top international reviews
A detailed account of how Scientology has evolved to what it is today.
Highly recommended as a basic book on understanding The Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard.
There's been some discussion about "objectivity," comparing this book to Janet Reitman's. I've read them both, and Lawrence Wright's superlative book (I'm on something of an anti-Cult kick). Mr. Atack's factual underpinnings are as solid as either of the later books, which both owe him an enormous debt. Ms. Reitman has called her book "the first objective history of the Church of Scientology," which I think unfortunate and unfair to Mr. Atack. The evidence he piles up chapter by chapter is unlikely to lead any sensible reader anywhere that his rousing summation doesn't go. His declaration as a Suppressive Person means that he wasn't likely to get cooperation from the "Church," and his experience as a member gives him more than enough authority on anything a pro-Scientology spokesman would be likely to say. He also provides a penetrating analysis of the ugly, heartless core of Scientology, a "religion" that devalues compassion.
Atack's exposé was published in a different, more dangerous time, and he was persecuted for it. It's a comprehensive history and a gripping read.
If you ARE a Scientologist, this book will inform you honestly of the actual intentions and activities of the organization brushing aside all bias and rumor. Quitting Scientology Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.
If you WERE a Scientologist, this book will help you unscramble all the false data you have imposed on yourself and help you deconstruct the reactive mind that the subject has imposed on you.
If you are a WOG*, this book will give you an insight into the making of one of the most successful mind control cults in this sector of the universe.
If you are an SP, this book will acknowledge your bravery for daring to stand up to someone who practiced Magik, stole from friends, was promiscuous, took drugs, mistreated his children, lied about his past, purged himself, was on the run from the Law and who thoroughly destroyed anyone who criticized him.
Jon Atack was a very brave man, who in the face of the evil power of "Fair Game" doctrine as practiced by the thought police department of Scientology; took them on anyway so that he could warn others. - Thank you Jon :)
Read his book, and if you have friends or family trapped in this cult, or who are thinking about joining, give them a copy – you could save their lives.
* If you are not a believer, you are a wog; a common ordinary run-of-the-mill garden-variety humanoid.
Atack does an impressive job of conveying his experiences with the church in a logical, chronological manner without compromising the objectivity of his writing. In the beginning, the author finds himself feeling dejected and is able relieve his pain through the comforting atmosphere of Scientology. Scientology, or more so Dianetics, offered him a cure to all of his pain so naturally he accepted these ideas with open arms. Throughout the book, Atack begins catching some startling subtleties that begin to alert him to some disconcerting aspects of the ideas of the man he practically worshiped, L. Ron Hubbard. As he progresses further and further through the church’s levels of initiation, he notices more flaws such as his experiences of mental abuse, the outrageous price fluctuations of different Scientology amenities and Dianetic auditing, and the scientific shortcomings in the background and evolution of Dianetics. Atack even explains the numerous fabrications Hubbard provides in his background from the specifics of his service in World War II to the data he provided in his “scientific research” on Dianetics. Atack effectively exposes the errors in Hubbard’s background and his concepts of Dianetics and Scientology; Atack uses personal experiences to prove his points and remains unbiased so as not make it seem like he is attacking the views of Scientologists. Atack successfully connects his personal experiences to the facts pertaining to Hubbard and Scientology. This connection makes the book easy to read and the points supporting the main idea easy to put together. Atack goes into great detail about each subject-Scientology, Hubbard, and Dianetics-which allows the reader to make a confident, informed decision about each. Atack could definitely be considered an authority figure on the matter but he chooses to keep his opinions out of it, letting the reader feel like they are in control.
At a glance, this book may not seem like it is debunking pseudoscience but more like the author is uncovering a scam. The author is mainly uncovering a scam but this scam would be nothing without the support of Hubbard’s made up pseudoscientific jargon that made these ideas so convincing. Atack gradually dissects the components of Dianetics and Scientology, revealing absolute nonsense when Hubbard’s actual scientific terms are put into context. If it were not for the original ideas of Dianetics-a classic example of pseudoscience-Scientology would have never succeeded because Dianetics contained all of the so-called “reasoning” for the religion. The book contains dialogue of actual statements that Hubbard made about the church and Dianetics that are absolutely outrageous. Even the book’s title is a quote straight from Hubbard’s mouth that excellently represents his intentions in creating Scientology and Dianetics. This book is great point of reference for a psychological study because it shows people’s willingness to believe in something so far fetched if it just has some big complicated words to back it up. Atack includes astonishing statistics about the prices of Scientology and Dianetic services and how much the Church of Scientology collected due to the gullibility of the followers of a retired science fiction writer. The author reveals how the church would deceive people by producing false statitistics on how many people joined the church, how many people had been cured through Dianetics, and how much people would have to pay to progress through church. The book includes details about smaller, yet important aspects of Dianetics and Scientology such as engrams, auditing, Operating Thetan Levels, and the use of the E-Meter. Nearly everything Atack includes in this book contributes to the main idea of the book, which is the exposure of Hubbard and his creation of Scientology and Dianetics.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in Dianetics, Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, or anyone who is a member of the Church of Scientology. This book gives you the cold, hard facts with information directly from the church and Hubbard himself. Atack’s interactive approach to this book is very effective in helping the reader feel apart of the story and motivating the reader to read and learn more about the subject. He tells you his complete story, gives you all facts, and makes the writing objective enough for the reader to form their own opinion on the matter after reading. The book does not feel like it is forcing you to think one way or another; it just informs the reader on what Hubbard tried to hide from his followers for decades. This book provided the thrill of a fiction novel but with all the facts and first hand experience detail of a true story. “A Piece of Blue Sky” is a truly great book that is well written on an interesting topic and is sure to provide new, eye-opening information to anyone who reads it.
I was led to explore Scientology after reading a biography of Tom Cruise. I remembered vaguely reading a bit of Dianetics in 1982 or so, which was given to me by an acquaintance and true believer who insisted it would change my life. I found it boring and somewhat off the wall. Then a scandal about Scientology in Toronto appeared in the news, but I didn't give it much attention until I saw that the 'religion' had been started by a science fiction writer, the same individual who had written the book. Again, although slightly interesting and amusing, I forgot about it as I went on with my life.
Cruise's biographer mentioned that Scientology was a very big part of his life and he was using his celebrity status to proselytize. That did catch my interest and so I began reading some books on the subject, pro and con, including this one. I chose it first because it was written prior to the others.
I was horrified and sickened by what I read, about the crimes and atrocities that were committed, in particular by its core membership, the Sea Org. Not only exposed were crimes such as espionage, malicious libel, infiltration of government bodies and persecution of organizations and businesses, but also harassment of individual private citizens, including writers and reporters who dared to criticize Scientology. These, and perhaps even more maliciously, were also perpetrated against the cult's own membership.
This begged the question: If the religion was so wonderful, so liberating, so superior spiritually, why would it persecute its members who wished to leave it for one reason or another? Why engage in such activities such as kidnapping, imprisonment, unlawful detainment, physical violence - even toward its executive command, and why would its membership condone and excuse this? I found this shocking, revolting and reminiscent of the former Soviet Union and Maoist China. I could never understand that practice. If communism was such a superior way to live, why did many of its citizens continually try to escape? Why would the leaders of their countries punish, imprison, torture and even kill those who wanted to leave? The same frame of mind and the virtually identical practices also seem to apply to this cult.
Why do they do this? Shame. Embarrassment . Fear of ridicule in the eyes of the world and of their leaders starkly and undeniably being viewed as 'emperors without clothes', revealed in naked abhorrence and their systems of government as corrupt to the core and unsustainable. They also did not want the crimes perpetrated on their own citizens and their espionage in other countries exposed to the world. This scenario applies to Scientology almost exactly.
As I continued reading, it was revealed that many of its members were afraid to leave Scientology and chose to remain - if it could be said that such a choice existed - simply because they live in fear of their own leader and his vicious vindictive temper. They are coerced to stay through the threat of being separated, often permanently, from their own families still inside, and worst of all, from their own children. They fear incarceration and violence, physical and emotional. They also live in terror of their deepest most shameful secrets being released publicly, including being mailed to their neighbours and posted on poles and in businesses in the main streets of the towns that they and their children live in.
At first, I didn't know whether to believe all this or not, as these accounts were so unbelievably outrageous, so I continued reading other books and watching videos, including Scientology's own. Some members, like Tom Cruise and other celebrities had embraced it on their own, their treatment being completely differently from the rank-and-file members, while some had been brought into it by parents and had no choice in the decision. This would explain why certain celebrities deny such criminal abuse occurs. All members are directed not to read or watch anything about Scientology in the media, including them.
This book is a shocking expose, but long overdue at the time, a stark and courageous attempt by the author to reveal the worm of corruption at the organization's heart.
As I began reading other books, namely Janet Reitman's and Lawrence Wright's, both of which are excellent as well, I sometimes thought I was back reading this author's book since much of their work seemed taken directly from this one, and, sometimes it seemed to me, almost verbatim in some sections. I kept thinking haven't I just read this recently?
He's done a remarkable job. His research is top notch. His courage is to be commended for even undertaking such an expose.
There are so many things I want to comment on, but this isn't the place. If you are interested in learning more about this corporate business (I cannot bring myself to call it a 'church'),and and are contemplating whether to buy this book, do it, and do it before you read other accounts. If you are contemplating becoming a member of this cult, read this first. It was written and published a few decades ago and this is the revised version that many agree is better even than the first. In fact, after having read a few other, also very well written accounts, I still think this is the best of the lot.
Read this book.
Those, along with practically every other book on Scientology I'm sure, owe this book a HUGE debt of gratitude! The original research carried out, and the publishing of the book in the teeth of the usual threats, litigation, and campaign of dirty tricks from the "Church," was a major achievement, and set the stage for all that was to come.
Huge parts of the book were quoted, verbatim, in both "Clear" and "Messiah," so the debt they owe is plain to see. However, while those two books take the reader on a vibrant and enthralling narrative journey, "...Blue Sky" appears to have been written by, `Joe "All we want are the facts, ma'am" Friday,' so stilted is the prose.
The book also feels terribly disjointed in places, characters are introduced with no context - such and such did this and that - and are never heard of again, and there's a little too much Scientologese, to the point I would have to keep looking up the meaning of a particular term.
The book is a real slog to get through, it feels like the literary equivalent of a Powerpoint Bullet Point Slide, but then, somewhat miraculously, at about the 75% mark, a solid "narrative" appears; it's almost as if someone else is writing this part of the book! Perhaps old LRH, feeling a miniscule smidgin of regret for all the pain and suffering he's caused - believe me, if you've read "Clear" and "Messiah," you'll know there's plenty to go `round! - descended from OT XXX, or where ever he is, to lend a hand! LOL!
As I said, Jon Atack deserves all the praise and thanks he has received over the years for getting this information out into the public sphere, I just wish that he'd perhaps collaborated with a "writer" to produce a more compelling and "literary" book.
The author literally went through hell to tell this story. I salute him and thank him with all my heart for his courage and commitment to tell the truth, despite all odds.