Quick Reference Booklist


Accounts by Ex-Scientologists of their Experiences

2013 Beyond Belief | Jenna Miscavige Hill with Liza Purlitzer

2013 Have You Told All? | Lucas A Catton

2012 Damaged Lives: The Legacy of Scientology | Margery Wakefield

2010 Scientology: Abuse at the Top | Amy Scobee

2010 Counterfeit Dreams | Jefferson Hawkins
Read Online: Book is a revised and expanded version of this series of blog entries HTML

2009 The Psychiatrist Who Cured the Scientologist | Aaron David Gottfried

2009 Blown For Good | Marc Headley

2009 My Billion Year Contract | Nancy Many

2009 The Road to Xenu: Life Inside Scientology | Margery Wakefield Full Text Online HTML |PDF

2008 The Complex | John Duigan with Nicola Tallent

2000  Naked Scientology Ali’s Smile |William S Burroughs | View online (.pdf) | Download (.pdf)

2000 Scientology With(out) an End | Tom Volz Read Online HTML | HTML

1999 The Cheryl S Story | ‘Cheryl S’ Full Text Online HTMLPDF

1996 The OJ Roos Story | Otto Roos Full Text Online HTML

1991 Lonesome Squirrel | Steven Fishman Read online HTML

1989  My Nine Lives in Scientology | Monica Pignotti Full Text Online HTML English and French Versions

1972 Inside Scientology | Robert Kaufman Full Text Online HTML

1971  The Mind Benders | Cyril Vosper  Full Text Online HTML | PDF

1966 Dianetics in Limbo |Helen O’Brien | Full Text Online TXT

2016 Ruthless: My Son David Miscavige and Me (UK Edition) | Ron Miscavige with Dan Koon


 Books About Scientology by Ex-Scientologists

2013 Lets Sell These People a Piece of Blue Sky | John Atack
(1990  A Piece of Blue Sky (Original Edition) | John Atack Full Text Online PDF)

1996 An Essay on Scientology: Overview of the Cult’s Ideology | David John Carter | Full Text Online HTML

1995 Chronological View of L Ron Hubbard and Scientology | Kaj Moos

1992 The Total Freedom Trap | John Atack Read Online HTML

1987 L Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman | Bent Corydon and L Ron Hubbard Jr (AKA Ronald DeWolf) Full Text Online TXT

1951 Dianetics: A Doctors Report (AKA: A doctors Report on Dianetics) | J A Winter MD


Books About Scientology by Journalists

2013 Going Clear | Lawrence Wright

2013 The Church of Fear | John Sweeney

2013  God Bless America: Strange & Unusual Religious Beliefs & Practices in the United States | Karen Stollznow

2011 Inside Scientology|Janet Reitman

1987 Bare-Faced Messiah | Russell Miller Full Text Online HTML | PDF

1986 Religion Inc: The Church of Scientology | Stuart Lamont Full Text Online HTML

1971 The Scandal of Scientology | Paulette Cooper Full Text Online HTML | PDF

1971 Scientology: The Now Religion | George Malko Full Text Online HTML

2015 The Unbreakable Miss Lovely | Tony Orgtega


Academic Books

2013 Scientologist! William S Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’ | David S Wills

2011 The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion | Hugh B Urban

2001 From Slogans to Mantras – Social Protest and Religious Conversion in the Late Vietnam Era | Stephen A Kent

1987 Renunciation and Reformulation | Harriet Whitehead

1978 Satan’s Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult | William Sims Bainbridge

1976 The Road to Total Freedom | Roy Wallis Full Test online TXT

1973 Believe What You Like | CH Rolph


 Miscellaneous Books

2012 Leaving Scientology: A Practical Guide to Escape and Recovery | Jefferson Hawkins

2010 A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant | Kyle Jarrow

1999 Ron the War Hero| Chris Owen Read Online HTML

1980 The Commodore and the Colonels | John Forte Full Text Online  HTML


Books With Sections  About Dianetics/Scientology

2011  Wormwood Star: The Magickal Life of Marjorie Cameron | Spencer Kansa

2009 Stripping the Gurus | Geoffrey D Falk

2005 The Joy of Sects | Sam Jordison

2005  Strange Angel | George Pendle

1999  Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons | John Carter and Robert Anton Wilson |Download as .pdf

1997  Remote Viewers: the Secret History of America’s Psychic Spies | Jim Schnabel

1997 net.wars | Wendy M Grossman

1994 Countercultures: A Sociological Analysis | William W Zellner

1993 Outrageous Betrayal: The Dark Journey of Werner Erhard from est to Exile |  Steven Pressman

1987  The Future of New Religious Movements | (Chapter 5)  Science and Religion: The Case of Scientology
William Sims Bainbridge | Full Text Online HTML

1985 The Future of Religion | Rodney Stark and William Sims Bainbridge
View Chapter
“Scientology: to be Perfectly Clear” online
Download Chapter
“Scientology: to be Perfectly Clear” as .pdf

1984 Wonder’s Child: My Life in Science Fiction | Jack Williamson

1983 | Psychology’s Occult Doubles: Psychology and the Problem of Pseudoscience | Thomas Hardy Leahey and Grace Evans Leahey

1973 Cults of Unreason | Dr Christopher Evans Full Text Online HTML

1952 Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science | Martin Gardner


 Fiction Which Refers to / Satirises  Scientology

2010 The Symphony of Leif | Paul Y Csige

1992 Heads | Greg Bear

2016 Blown| Lauren Halsted Burroughs | 2016 | ISBN 978–0-692-68160-2 | Read Online

1985 The Mind Game | Norman Spinrad

1982 Friday | Robert A Heinlein

1971 Assignment in Eternity | Robert A Heinlein

1976 Inferno | Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle


 Apologist Books

2009  Scientology | Edited by James R Lewis

1985 The Sad Tale of Scientology | Eric Townsend


Brainwashing and Deprogramming

1998 Comprehending Cults: The Sociology of New Religious Movements | Lorne L Dawson

1981 Strange Gods | David G Bromley and Anson D Shupe Jr

1980 The New Vigilantes | Anson D Shupe Jr and David G Bromley

1955 Brainwashing | Purportedly by  Lavrentiy Beria Ascribed to L Ron Hubbard
Full Text Online HTML

1961 Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism | Robert Jay Lifton


 Books Referenced in my Series of Posts “Understanding the Scientology Mindset

2007 The Lucifer Effect | Philip Zimbardo

2007  Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) | Carol Travis and Elliot Aronson

2004 Bounded Choice | Janja Lalich

1974 Obedience to Authority | Stanley Milgram Full Text Online PDF | Download PDF

1985  Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character | Richard P Feynman as told to Ralph Leighton

1956 When Prophesy Fails | Leon Festinger, Henry W Riecken, Stanley Schachter


 Scientology Propaganda

1980 | Playing Dirty: The Secret War Against Beliefs | Omar V Garrison | Read Online | Download as .html

1974 | The Hidden Story of Scientology |Omar V Garrison | Read Online | Download as .html


 

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5 thoughts on “Quick Reference Booklist

  1. Great website, a really valuable resource, but I’m not sure why Lifton’s Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism is in the “Bad Psychology” section. It is one of the keystone books in developing an understanding of how mind control can be used in authoritarian/totalitarian environments.

    Also, Winter’s Doctors Report on Dianetics is not entirely apologetics: while he still had some hope of retrieving something valuable from the system, it was written when he had already broken with Hubbard and was not convinced by the founder’s increasingly sweeping claims for it.

    Here’s a passage from the introduction (I think) to illustrate what I mean:

    “By October, 1950, I had come to the conclusion that I could not agree with all the tenets of dianetics as set forth by the Foundation. I could not, as previously mentioned, support Hubbard’s claims regarding the state of ‘clear.’ I no longer felt, as I once had, that any intelligent person could (and presumably should) practice dianetics. I noted several points on which the actions of the Foundation were at variance with the expressed ideals of dianetics: one of these points was a tendency toward the development of an authoritarian attitude. Moreover, there was a poorly concealed attitude of disparagement of the medical profession and of the efforts of previous workers in the field of mental illness. Finally, the avowed purpose of the Foundation — the accomplishment of precise scientific research into the functioning of the mind — was conspicuously absent.”

    But I’m quibbling here: many thanks for putting together a really informative website.

    Jonny Jacobsen

    • This site started life as a project to provide a simple up-to-date booklist with no broken links… and grew. One of the reasons it grew was that it enabled me to organise my thoughts about a subject that has always fascinated me – why people believe weird things. Scientology is a perfect ‘case study’ for this, not only because it takes everything to extremes, but also because it is so enduring.

      Consequently, the site categories have grown up (and changed) as my understanding has developed. At this point, I agree with you. Lifton does not deserve to be in a category called “Bad Psychology” (which was originally called just “Brainwashing”).

      However, I do believe that the ‘brainwashing’ paradigm is dated, and associated with cold war ideology and attitudes which tend to justify very bad ideas (and bad psychology) – like deprogramming.

      Elsewhere on the site, I argue that advances in social science (especially social psychology) provide a basis for a much more detailed and nuanced understanding of what it going on in inside organisations like Scientology, and ‘brainwashing’ is a concept that should now be put aside (like the concept of phlogiston was, after the discovery of oxygen). For example, books like “Bounded Choice” by Janja Lalich provides not only a better understanding of the cult mindset, but also a better idea of how to help people trapped in abusive organisations.

      Consequently, I have tried to confine books about brainwashing to their own space. At some point, I will re-organise the page links, to provide Lifton with a more respectful position (although I have no idea what to call it).

      You are also right about Winters, who deserves a place among, “books by ex-scientologists.”

      I have changed the “Quick Reference Booklist” page accordingly (and removed “bad psychology” from the title of the page containing Lifton’s book). The page categories, however, will have to stand for a while.

      The problem with a site like this is that, as your understanding develops (and changes), you occasionally have to go back and reorganise whole sections to reflect this. When there are more than 180 posts (how did that happen) this can become quite a task.

      Thank you for your constructive comment. When I find time for an overdue re-organisation of the categories, and general spring clean, they will be put into effect.

  2. I agree with you about brainwashing being an outmoded concept, but then I think it always was: (Lifton makes it clear in his book that he dislikes it). I had a stab at sketching out the boundaries of the mind control debate in a recent post at Infinite Complacency (The Cult Wars: a Beginners Guide), but it’s a difficult subject.

    I’m struggling to keep up with the recent literature: your site at least helps me keep track of what I need to add to my reading list, so thank you again.

  3. Further to Jonny Jacobson’s comments, I would like to point you to Edgar Schein’s work on coercive persuasion (he coined the term “corporate culture” after all), and to Margaret Singer’s Cults in our Midst which, despite its title, offers some deep insight into the psychological pressures recruits into cults are confronted with. Robert Jay Lifton’s arguments have never been clearer than his analysis of Nazi doctors in the death camps which can be read online here: http://www.holocaust-history.org/lifton/contents.shtml

    • My difficulty is not with Robert Jay Lifton (which I freely admit did not come over well in this post)

      My difficulty with the way in which the early history of ‘anti-cult’ groups adopted the ‘brainwashing’ paradigm, and the way in which it is still applied by some critics today.Basically, I think it is fundamentally flawed when applied to high control groups and can lead to some very questionable actions (e.g. ‘deprogramming’) and some contradictory conclusions (e.g. that Hubbard is on the one hand an incoherent and speaker but on the other a genius of psychological manipulation).

      To be clear, I do believe that very powerful psychological pressures are applied to people by the Church of Scientology. This reaches a point (e.g. in Sea Org ‘punishment details’ like the RPF) that is indistinguishable from classical ‘brainwashing’. However, the overwhelming majority of Scientologists are not subject to this degree of control, and ‘brainwashing’ theory is not relevant to many of their activities – recruitment, for example.

      My problem is that I think that interpreting every action of the CofS as ‘brainwashing’ is unhelpful, and a new paradigm is required that takes a wider view of a very complex phenomenon. I have recently been struggling with these ideas, and plan to explain myself in detail in a future post.

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