Cannonball Read V: Book #21/52
Besides the random Xenu and/or Tom Cruise joke here and there, I didn't really know that much about Scientology before reading this book. I knew science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard was somewhere involved, but that was it. This book is a really solid history of the religion as well as the man who invented it.
L. Ron Hubbard was a bizarre man who created an equally bizarre "religion" (it's been under fire many times for not actually being a religion as they do not have a deity or any sort of worship or prayer like most religions). This book follows Scientology from Hubbard's beginnings, through the impact it had on Hollywood stars (most famously being John Travolta and Tom Cruise), and through the current leadership under David Miscavige.
This book was chock full of information. If you've ever wanted to know anything about Scientology, this should be the first book you pick up. It's very thorough and reminded me of what Under the Banner of Heaven was to Mormonism. And trust me, Scientology is every bit as weird as you've been led to believe. Not only that, the alleged secrecy and blackmail by the church is almost unbelievable. For such a small group of people, they really do have a lot of power.
The book includes tons of footnotes that pretty much just say how the Church of Scientology denied almost everything it's been accused of, no matter what proof they have or how many people witnessed it. The whole thing was just fascinating to read. The whole thing is so bizarre it doesn't even seem real.