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Robert Leleux on Lawrence Wright

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As Wright is quick to point out, theology doesn’t have to make sense; there are aspects of any religion that can’t survive logical scrutiny. But even by that tolerant standard, Scientology is apt to strain credulity.


Wright—Austin resident and staff writer for The New Yorker—displays touching generosity with the absurdities of faith, and carefully balances that reserve with a desire to expose Scientology’s culture of exploitation.

going_clear_book_cover_-_p_2013So says Observer contributor Robert Leleux in his new review of Wright’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. READ THE WHOLE REVIEW HERE.

Meanwhile, The New York Times has weighed in on Wright’s book with a Scientology takedown masquerading as a book review.

And the Washington Post warns: “’Judge not that ye not be judged,’ Jesus said, but the case Wright builds calls for a jury…” READ THE WASHPO REVIEW HERE.

For a longer though no more dispassionate view, CHECK OUT THE UK GUARDIAN’S REVIEW, in which veteran critic David Thompson writes:

[Wright’s] book is admirably judicious and thoroughly researched (within the limits of secrecy or paranoia imposed by the church), but I often had the feeling that Wright himself was uncertain whether this was fit material for a sober book of non-fiction, or would he collapse in fits of helpless laughter and tears at the stuff he was obliged to report?




Houston native, 7th-generation Texan and Rice University graduate Brad Tyer has contributed to the Observer under five editors since the mid-1990s, including stints as freelance critic, contributing writer, interim editor, and two rounds as managing editor, from early 2008 to late 2009 and late 2012 to present. In the interim he's served as the Observer's long-distance copy editor. A former staffer at the Houston Press, former editor of the Missoula, Montana Independent , and widely published freelance (High Country News, New York Times Book Review, Public News, Texas Monthly, The Drake, Thora-Zine, etc.), Brad has been awarded a 2010 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellowship at the University of Michigan, a 2011 Fishtrap Writing Residency, and a 2011 grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to support research for his first book, Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of an American Landscape, published by Beacon Press in 2013. Brad oversees the Observer's cultural coverage.