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on 12 February 2013
I am possibly cheeky to review this new edition of A Piece of Blue Sky in advance of reading it (its on order). I know there is previously unpublished
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)
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VINE VOICEon 30 August 2014
This revised 2013 edition of Jon Atack’s book is perhaps the most comprehensive account of the history of Scientology, right from its inception as ‘Dianetics’ up to the time of Ron L Hubbard’s death. Atack had access to thousands of documents, some of which were initially forming the base for a Scientology-approved biography of Hubbard himself, as well as legal documents from the courts, affidavits, depositions. In other words, this is a book based on indisputable facts.

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.
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on 2 April 2013
I found the previous edition of A Piece of Blue Sky crucially important when recovering from my time in Scientology. Both lucid, exhaustive and thoroughly referenced it is an incredible achievement. With the inclusion of much previously unpublished material the original masterpiece will now have even greater authority.
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on 13 February 2013
'I spent ten years in Scientology and 'The Sea Org'. Then ten years wondering why. Maybe longer than that.

Then I read Blue Sky...

It never ceases to amaze me that someone else (in this case, Jon Atack) can give you insight into your life, your activity, which you had failed to see for yourself. I found this book helpful in the extreme in assisting my own insights into a wasted ten years of my life by providing well-researched, factual, intelligent information (which, after all, is truly vital in the effort to live a sane, understanding life; not the BS that I bought into for well over a decade).

Thank you Jon Atack. I rank you alongside Pilger in your efforts to communicate Truth.
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on 12 February 2013
I first read Jon's book in the early 90's after seeing a TV talk show. After receiving my order, I stayed up all night reading as it is so compelling. I am an ex-scientologist and former sea org member. They entice you with lies and false friendships and by the time you realize their real motives which are money and power, you have disconnected all your friends and family at their insistance and find it difficult to leave. I won't sign this because they still do fair game.
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on 11 February 2013
First a declaration of interest: Jon Atack is a friend and colleague and he was good enough to mention me in the acknowledgments to the 2013 edition

A Piece of Blue Sky is the foundation stone for any serious work on Scientology, the measure by which future books should be measured -- and he set the mark high. The original book was formidably well researched and documented and the new edition makes those foundations even more solid.

The new, unexpurgated edition contains 60 passages cut from the original version by his US publishers because of the vagaries of US copyright law at the time (since revised).

They include passages from Hubbard's teenage diaries, from the usual bragadoccio to racist remarks about "the natives", which Atack was forced to omit the first time around

But there are also more extensive quotes from the Affirmations, a highly compromising document Hubbard addressed to himself, a kind of self-help manual, that exposes his innermost fears and darkest desires.

You will also find: a letter to a colleague about how best to make money from the e-meter, the device used in Scientology auditing; extracts from documents showing the increasingly authoritarian direction he took Scientology in the 1960s; a cold-blooded official memo on the 1971 death of Susan Meister; a mid-70s memo to the Guardians Office showing that he was still very much in charge despite official claims to the contrary (and that he wanted to go to war with the IRS); and more...

If there are fewer pages, it is because the print-size is smaller, my one quibble with the new edition.

The endorsements for Blue Sky at the front of the new edition come from many of the leading specialists in the field.

Jonny Jacobsen
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on 18 February 2013
The first version of this book has often been referred to as the definitive work on the life of L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics and Scientology. Indeed many other works refer to Blue Sky and Jon Atack for information. The notion that this is, therefore, a dry reference book could not be further from the truth. It's also a damn good read. I read the first version some time back so I wasn't sure I'd fully appreciate reading it again. Fact is I was again pulled in immediately and just had to carry on until I finished it (and I'm not one to make much time for reading).
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.
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on 12 February 2013
Coming from a psychotherapists point of view I have found Jon Atack's "Lets sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky" to be a most interesting read for anyone and especially those who want facts. He is thorough, detailed and clear with a subject that can be very complicated to grasp. I have found this book to be a good source in understanding how easy it is for anyone to become involved in Scientology. For me this gave great insight into how the organisation moves and why - and for these reasons this book is invaluable. I would also like to add that Jon Atack has shown a lot of courage and dedication in writing about this subject - so, well done Jon!
Christina Dickerson
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on 13 March 2013
What exactly is Scientology?

On first examination, it appears to be a complex and precise system of mostly mental procedures and exercises, based upon the application of the principles of affinity, "reality" and communication whereby an individual, with the help of an ohmmeter which measures the body's electrical resistance, is able progressively to detect and resolve unconscious issues, regain lost abilities, become aware of his true identity and achieve total understanding and spiritual freedom. The system is promoted as being non-evaluative; in other words, the processes deal only with such truths as the practitioner has created or is able to create himself. There is no requirement to accept any belief which is not based upon his own experience.

Stated in this way, the practice sounds plausible and attractive. But, as he progress along the path, especially when he embarks upon the secret and more expensive procedures at the higher levels, the student and practitioner will be forced to enter into and accept a world of increasing fantasy in which he becomes merely the pawn in a bizarre cosmic game, stretching across trillions of years, where threats and enemies lurk in all corners of the universe as well as very close at hand, where nobody can be trusted, and in which his only hope for survival is to submit utterly to an arbitrary and unforgiving spiritual fascism.

But this book is not primarily about the technology or processes of Scientology. It is about the life of its notorious creator, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, and the story of the organisations he founded, in particular the even more notorious Church of Scientology.

Hubbard was a charismatic, engaging public speaker and prolific writer. He also had a highly inflated view of his own historic destiny, suffered extreme mood swings and lived in constant fear of his supposed enemies. He would periodically exhibit a tendency to attack and excommunicate long-term friends and loyal supporters. He fabricated a past in which he was, among many other things, an infant bronco buster, a first-hand pupil of eastern mystics, a great explorer, war hero and nuclear physicist. None of this was true. He was, however, very much involved in black magic and a follower of Aleister Crowley, the leading black magician.

In its policies and practices, his Church of Scientology reflected every aspect of Hubbard's extraordinary personality. This is a story of power and greed, of betrayal and forced labour, of exploitation and unnatural punishment, of deception, sadism, vindictiveness, ruthlessness and criminality, a story of how people of good will can be recruited into a crusade which strikes at the very basis of their own ideals.

Every statement in this book relies upon primary sources. It is a masterpiece of original research and the main reference book in its subject area. And yet, the author is able to combine scholarship with a style which imparts to his work the flavour of a Greek tragedy. Once started, the reader is compelled to follow it to the end.

The importance of this work is not restricted to Hubbard and the Church of Scientology. Because it deals with the fundamental nature of control, influence and the abuse of power, it can be applied to the understanding of all human organisations and movements. It is a lesson for our time and all time. The author has done us all a great service
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on 19 May 2013
"Let's sell these people a piece of the Blue Sky" provides a well researched blow by blow account of formation of the The Church of Scientology and of its founder L Ron Hubbard.

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.
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