By John Sweeney
The Church of Scientology is a cult whose core aim is to fight a space alien Satan that’s brainwashed the rest of us. The Church fights the world’s insanity, its celebrity followers argue, and people who tell you differently are bigots. So who’s right?
Lawrence Wright is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has written what promises to be a great book on Scientology. Going Clear is due to be published everywhere on 17 January – except Britain. Just before Christmas, Transworld, Wright’s British publishers, pulled it, leading to questions about whether it had fallen to the Church’s reputation for going after its detractors and Britain’s libel laws.
Wright had a huge advance negotiated by über-agent Andrew Wylie, publishers around the world primed to publish on the same day, a reported print run of 150,000 in the US and a team of researchers checking every fact. He will have things to say in his book that readers – especially young people, the audience the Church seeks to recruit – may think they have a right to know. American readers will learn all, while Wright’s potential British readers will have no book to buy.
In case you don’t remember, this is Sweeney.