Going Clear Review, 2013 Summer Giveaway

Just like every other religion… Just newer…

Congratulations to our second winner, Guildenstern, he’ll have his choice of the remaining books in this year’s giveaway! The giveaway continues this week! Lav your comments below and you’ll entered to win a book of your choice from the list. Below is another short review for one of the books in the giveaway, Going Clear. This review originally appeared in the San Francisco and Sacramento Book Review.

Lawrence Wright, a New Yorker staff writer best known for his study of al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attack, The Looming Tower, has just published his latest book, Going Clear. If you thought his previous work was daring and provocative Going Clear is going to shock you. Going Clear is a detailed, exhaustive history of America’s youngest homegrown religion, Scientology, and its founder,science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard. Wright’s dive into the enigmatic Hubbard and the religion he created, with it’s seemingly bizarre cosmology and ecclesiastical jargon, leads him to an even more troubling subject: Religion. What is a religion, how do we decide, what does it mean to believers? As Wright attempts to answer these questions for himself and his readers he introduces his readers to the complicated and turbulent history of the Church of Scientology from the internal struggle for power after Hubbard’s death to its recruitment of Hollywood royalty, and it’s decades long fight with various branches of the United States government. Wright does not shy from the controversial aspects of Scientology, but nor does he irrationally attack the church, its leaders, or followers. He presents the information he has in a powerful narrative that is damning all on its own.

Addendum: What I found most sinister about the church of Scientology, as presented in the book, are the numerous disappearances of members to remote locations where they are kept in worse than prison like conditions… All at these members own volition?!

Overheated Review, 2013 Summer Giveaway

You need to read this because these guys can’t

First, congratulations to Kayma for winning first pick of books in this year’s giveaway! Second, the giveaway continues this week, any comments on this post will be entered to win a book of their choice from the list. I thought it might be helpful to provide some context for a few of these books, below is a short review I wrote for the San Francisco and Sacramento Book Review.

Climate Change, once known as global warming, has been a hot political topic for almost two decades. Everyone seems to know what Climate Change is without being able to describe or convey their thoughts on the issue or what its effects might be. It remains ever present, yet mysterious, argued over vehemently without ever being elucidated. Overheated  is Andrew Guzman’s  attempt to describe what climate change is and what its most likely effects will be on humans in the next 100 years, while skirting the political obfuscations and arguments.

Guzman clearly outlines, without being alarmist or hyperbolic, what catastrophes humanity will likely face if we continue to ignore the threat. With complicated science explained through simple and effective metaphor and with a focus on mankind Overheated is a sobering look at what are future might hold: desertification, coastal flooding, the loss of vital cropland, water scarcity, mass immigration and emigration, and finally human lives. Once a disinterested academic, Guzman’s research has converted him into an advocate for change, research he shares in in this book. A great book for broaching the subject either for yourself or someone else in your life.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below for a chance to win a book from this list!

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