A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed
by Jon Atack
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Atack exposes Hubbard's bizarre imagination and behavior, tracing the creation of Scientology in the years following World War II to perhaps its final schism following Hubbard's death in 1986. A shocking book that reveals all: the abuses, falsehoods, paranoia, and greed of Hubbard and his pseudo-military Scientologist henchmen.
Despite legal threats, Jon Atack stands vindicated, June 4, 1999
Reviewer: A reader
As I type this review, "A Piece of Blue Sky" still remains firmly within the top 1000 sellers here at Amazon after years of obscurity. Ironically, if it weren't for the aggressive efforts by the Church of Scientology to eradicate this book, it probably would have disappeared off the shelves years ago. The Scientologists ought to apply the lesson learned ten years ago during the controversy over Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses": Threaten it, and it gains notoriety.
"A Piece of Blue Sky" is one of those Books Scientology Doesn't Want You to Read. As they did with "Bare-Faced Messiah," Russell Miller's excellent biography of founder L. Ron Hubbard (unfortunately now out of print, although available on the Web with the author's blessing), the Church has attempted to stop publication of this book. They will tell you it is libelous. It is not - it has been challenged in the courts and vindicated. They will tell you it has been banned in Britain. It has not - one single paragraph did not meet Great Britain's stricter standards for documentation, and was removed (the book survives unexpurgated elsewhere). Given the Scientologists' well-known habit of aggressively defending their interests in the courts, surely they must accept the authority of the courts in this case, as well?
In addition, "A Piece of Blue Sky" will tell you Things Scientology Doesn't Want You to Know. If you read the Scientologists' own publication, "What is Scientology?", for example, you will learn that during the late 1970s, the Guardian's Office (GO) of the Church was "infiltrated and set up to fail." Criminal elements within the GO supposedly overstepped their authority, infiltrating and burglarizing government offices to steal files concerned with the Church, without the knowledge or approval of L. Ron Hubbard. These criminal elements, we are told, were caught, prosecuted, and "forever banned from Church employment." Will Scientology tell you that these convicted criminals included Hubbard's own wife, who was running the GO? Will they tell you that Hubbard himself, though unindicted, was named a co-conspirator in the trial? No, but Atack fills in the blanks that the Scientologists' PR department would rather have left unfilled. One wonders why the Church is quick to volunteer unsavoury details about Atack and his book, yet remains strangely silent when it comes to its own embarrassing moments . . .
I found Atack's writing style a little threadbare in spots. Also, I wish he had devoted more space to examining the space-opera "theology" of the Church. "A Piece of Blue Sky" is nonetheless compelling reading, and well-documented. This book is one of the must-reads for anyone interested in the Church of Scientology, the true story of which is often weirder and more fascinating than Hubbard's pulp science fiction.
Important and Revealing work., July 28, 2002
Reviewer: A reader
I believe it is important for everybody to learn the truth about Scientology before they are trapped by a front organization. At some point in your life you very well may be scammed by Scientologists, my family lost $20,000 to them, and thus I think it is imperative to read this well-researched and well-written book.
Negative reviews are invariably written by Scientologists who see it as their duty to stiffle any criticsm of their church. That is their right, but it is important that you not be put off reading objective works about Scientology merely because of their attacks on the works.
By all means I would also suggest reading L. Ron Hubbard's original works as well--I know I have enjoyed reading them. It is important, though, that you read his books with the understanding that they are fiction--that includes the 'non-fiction' works like 'What is Scientology'.
At some point in your life you may yourself be caught up in Scientology or one of their many fronts, so educate yourself about them now.
Better than any novel..., October 27, 2005
Reviewer: Mary E. Meade
Growing up in Clearwater, FL (official Scientology headquarters) I became quite curious about Scientology. I read many books that were published by the church of Scientology due to the lack of information from any other sources. When I stumbled upon this book by Jon Atack, my sneaking suspicions of foul play within this religion were confirmed. This book is a page turner, absolutely enthralling. I suggest reading it after you've read literature from the church of scientology for a more well-rounded understanding of the book. Two thumbs up!
Describes the Stuff of Bad Dreams, August 31, 2005
An essential book if you want to know the other side of Scientology, the side you don't get from the celebrities who haven't been exposed to the cult's dark underside. If new to the subject, this should be the first book you read - it is a chronology of both Hubbard and Scientology. However, Bent Corydon's book, L.Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman, is also required reading - it is poorly organized, but gives in-depth looks at aspects Atack doesn't - such as the critical relationship between Aleister Crowley (sp?), master of black magic, and Hubbard's philosophy. No one still in Scientology will be free of the brainwashing to be able to accept the dark foundations of their faith - every other reader will be scared witless that these people are still around, and just as powerful as ever. Worse, the newspaper exposes alerting the younger generations about Scientology no longer appear; all the more reason to buy this book and pass it along.
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