I liked this book for what is trying to achieve, and I admire and respect Nawaz's work and activism. But something rubbed me the wrong way while readiI liked this book for what is trying to achieve, and I admire and respect Nawaz's work and activism. But something rubbed me the wrong way while reading this dialogue. It seemed to me that a significant portion of the book is spent by Nawaz explaining himself to Harris to the point that he looks to be placating him. In my opinion Harris also has some explaining and placating to do; instead, he comes off as an immaculate representative of moral rectitude and rational standards, completely ignoring (and thus forgiving and/or erasing) the role of US foreign policy in the radicalization of Middle Eastern youth, both in Muslim majority countries and in the West. His ignorance of US foreign policy, if it indeed is ignorance, is heartbreaking. If it is not ignorance but deliberate concealment, it is heartbreaking just the same. His attitude cannot be explained by saying that he was playing the devil's advocate, sorry. At least Nawaz comes off as sincere, knowledgeable, cooperative, erudite, really eloquent and committed. Sam failed, I am sorry to say, reduced to the indignity of playing a priest receiving confession and intercalating admonishments. This is further proof that Sam needs to do an honest reassessment of his positions. You can only be so logical and rational before you start sounding cuckoo.
Incredibly detailed account of a Salem-like hysteria in Buttfuck, USA. Would have been more mesmerized if it had been all real. Instead, I'm left horrIncredibly detailed account of a Salem-like hysteria in Buttfuck, USA. Would have been more mesmerized if it had been all real. Instead, I'm left horrified by simple minded Americans in small towns. I have a fleeting sensation that maybe I'm exaggerating... then I remember that Donald Trump is crushing everybody in the polls and the sensation leaves me. Never underestimate the power of the Podunks....more
**spoiler alert** I liked this novel and Michel Faber is still one of my favorite authors. But this book feels like juvenilia. It could have been shor**spoiler alert** I liked this novel and Michel Faber is still one of my favorite authors. But this book feels like juvenilia. It could have been shorter, the payoffs did not correspond with the long-winded characterization of "father PePer" and the letters were not welcome breaks from the narration.
Of course I'm coming from Under the Skin, a wonderful sci-fi masterpiece: to the point, well-gauged, infused with a precise feeling of reality turned on its head. In comparison, this novel seems to depend too much on Peter and his Christian faith, to the point where the Oasans turn to meaningless backdrop props.
Bea loses her faith too quickly and too easily... just like Anakin becomes Vader almost gratuitously.
It is still a very engaging read. My observations have to do with the craft of writing; decisions that I would have made differently as a writer. As a reader, I was sufficiently "tricked" into the story that I kept reading to the end. The best of all of Faber's devices is his way of showing drab, day to day reality mingled with obtuse, inscrutable technology. Earthlings slosh through their daily mediocre lives even as it is widely known that USIC, a mysterious company, has discovered an inhabited planet in the far reaches of space using a technique called "the Jump"... You know: nothing to get excited about.
The smart interplay of the concept of faith, science and religion was certainly entertaining, as were the crucial misunderstanding between the pastor and his flock of extraterrestrial new-born Christians. Nothing to write a scholarly paper about, but interesting and fun in a low-level, undergraduate way....more
This is the Stanford Prison Experiments. This is Jonestown. Only contrary to those examples that went haywire, Scientology has pressed on thanks to onThis is the Stanford Prison Experiments. This is Jonestown. Only contrary to those examples that went haywire, Scientology has pressed on thanks to one perfectly obvious distinction: Scientology has money.
Lots and lots of money and cuckoo celebrities funneling dollars into the open maw of the church of latter day institutionalized insanity.
This is a great book by a great journalist. I especially appreciated its impersonal, forensic prose; there was never any value judgment... Except that what the reader is presented with (meticulously researched) will very evidently push him to draw conclusions.
Scientology may be a long-running scam of self-styled, customized psychoanalysis, but L. Ron Hubbard's life is fascinating and rich. This consummate liar, bunko artist, womanizer, grandiose self-promoter had some really, really, really creepy ideas. He is the original Dr. No, Dr. Evil, the Mad Scientist running an international organization with thousand of agents (literally thousands) infiltrating, for example, numerous U.S. government agencies (Operation Snowhite), trying to take over Liberia (I shit you not), and hanging around while Oukfir and his rebels are arrested and shot for rising against Hasan II of Morocco.
All this arranged from a fleet of ships circling the globe, ruled by an iron fist and myriad dictatorial ordinances.
Later comes the hounding by the IRS, the apostates, the prison systems... David Miscavige punching everybody in the face, Tom Cruise demanding a girlfriend... A thoroughly enjoyable read....more
A humane narrative of life in an orwellian prison state, seen through the eyes of defectors... And not just any defectors. These are the voices of subA humane narrative of life in an orwellian prison state, seen through the eyes of defectors... And not just any defectors. These are the voices of subjects loyal to "The Great Marshall", defenders of state ideology. Their journey is not unlike the journey of a believer turned atheist. An important book for those interested in totalitarian systems....more