Lawrence Wright has spent much of the past decade reporting on the politics, religion, and culture of the Middle East and Central Asia. His Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9/11 was a sweeping account of the people, events, and geopolitical forces that led to the attacks on the World Trade Center.
But Wright recently turned his focus from a culture dominated by an ancient belief system to one with a much more contemporary faith: Scientology. His newest book is Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. In it, he looks at the complicated life of the religion’s founder, science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, the cultural dynamic of post-war America that led to the widespread adoption of the faith, and the claims of ex-members that violent techniques are used by church leaders to keep members in line.