dumbarton-oaks-garden-fountainKarlGercens

Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.

The Essex Library will welcome documentary filmmaker and six-time Emmy Award winner, Karyl Evans, who will screen her latest film and discuss Beatrix Farrand’s work with Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers who also appears in the film on Sunday, April 23 at 3 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects’ office.

 

This compelling film is the first ever to chronicle the life of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), the niece of Edith Wharton and the most successful female landscape architect in early 20th century America. Farrand grew up in the privileged world of the East Coast elite and fought through the challenges of working in a male-dominated profession to design over 200 landscape commissions during her remarkable 50-year career.

The documentary includes never-before-seen archival materials and recent photographs of over 60 Beatrix Farrand related sites, taking viewers on an inspiring journey across the country to explore her personal story and many of her most spectacular gardens, including Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden; Garland Farm in Bar Harbor, Maine; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Bar Harbor, Maine; and her California gardens. The narrated film also includes interviews with Beatrix Farrand scholars.

Karyl Evans’ undergraduate degree is in Horticulture / Landscape Architecture. She earned her Master’s Degree in Filmmaking from San Diego State University. Ms. Evans was a full-time Professor at Southern Connecticut State University for two years, teaching film production and theory. Karyl is a Fellow at Yale University and is one of the organizers of the New Haven Documentary Film Festival at Yale.

Landscape Architect Shavaun Towers PLA, FASLA, graduated from Smith College with a BA in Architecture and received a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a founding Partner of Towers | Golde Landscape Architects in New Haven and has taught at Yale University Schools of Architecture and Forestry as well as the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

This event is free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested. Please call the Essex Library for more information or to register at (860) 767-1560. The event will be held in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects’ office at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook. Heartfelt thanks to our event co-sponsors: the Essex Garden Club and Centerbrook Architects.

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Friday, June 10 at 7 p.m. to be held at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St. Centerbrook

Novelist, essayist, humorist, critic, magazine editor and memoirist, Christopher Buckley, whose books have been translated into sixteen foreign languages will chat with former New York Times Book Review Editor Sam Tanenhaus about his latest novel, The Relic Master. Buckley has worked as a merchant seaman and White House speechwriter. He has written for many newspapers and magazines and has lectured in over 70 cities around the world. The Seattle Times has called Christopher Buckley “America’s greatest living political satirist.” Christian Science Monitor says Buckley “is the Nation’s best humor novelist.” Tom Wolfe says Buckley’s “one of the funniest writers in the English language.” He was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. Sam Tanenhaus is currently writing a biography of Christopher Buckley’s father, William F. Buckley, Jr. Seating is limited, please call the Library to register.

Whispersofthepast

Whispers Of The Past

SOUL OF THE LANDSCAPE celebrates the beauty and spirit of our woodlands and waterways, as seen in Whispers of the Past and its breathtaking view along the Connecticut River. Wnek’s work captures the light and details one might expect from a painting—which is no accident. He has long been inspired by the purity and innocence of the American landscape as portrayed by the 19th century Hudson River painters. “I strive for that same warm light, the luminous or stormy skies, to invoke a charm or a mood,” he explains.

Wnek’s photographs often reveal the story of the landscape—its whisper of bygone days, the intrinsic cycles of nature. With a focus on local scenes, this exhibit speaks to the beauty that surrounds us, the coastal vistas and woodland spaces that are unique to our state. In a familiar kaleidoscope of colors, see the rising and setting sun, the harmony of sky and land, the collusion of rock and sea. As Wnek explains, “I am intrigued by the soothing compositions and repetitive patterns that collectively reveal the Divine at work.”

Featured in this exhibit is Silver Glade, an image of trees on a ridge near Meriden. It recently won the Salmagundi Club of NYC’s 2015 “Henry O’Connor Award” for excellence, portraying the gentler, quieter landscape of New England. It is that voice of New England which Wnek most hopes to capture in his photographs, “those intimate moments of our own landscapes” waiting to be revealed.

This exhibit and sale will run for the month of Fenruary during the Library’s regular hours. A percentage of the proceeds of sales will be donated to the library. For more information, please call the Library at (860) 767-1560.

For more information about photographer Peter Wnek, visit www.PeterWnekPhoto.com.

HHcarnegie_2015shortlist“The Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence in Fiction and Nonfiction were established in 2012 to recognize the best fiction and nonfiction books for adult readers published in the U.S. the previous year. The winners (one for fiction, one for nonfiction) are announced at the ALA Annual Conference; winning authors receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalists in each category receive $1,500.”

Selected from a list of 50 titles, this year’s Shortlisted books are:

All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr
Nora Webster, by Colm Tóibín
On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae Lee
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert
Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David, by Lawrence Wright

The winners, one each in fiction and nonfiction, will be announced on June 27 at ALA’s Annual Conference in San Francisco.

allthelightnorawebsteronsuchafulljustmercysixthextinction13daysinseptember

poreformAmy Mielke (Ennead Architects) and Caitlin Taylor (Centerbrook Architects), winners of the 2014 Holcim Award North American Gold Medal will present their invention of a water absorptive surface and subterranean basin, called Poreform. Their system is capable of rapid saturation and slow release, and reframes water as a valuable resource rather than a liability.

The Holcim Awards is an international competition that recognizes innovative projects and future-oriented concepts on regional and global levels. A total of $2 million in prize money is awarded in each three-year cycle. The Gold Medal winners receive $100,000.

The competition seeks projects that demonstrate an ability to stretch conventional notions about sustainable building and also balance environmental, social and economic performance – while also exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability. Their project was featured in­­­ January’s issue of Metropolis Magazine as a ‘game changer’ in sustainable design and engineering.

Friday, January 16th at 7 p.m. at the Essex Library  33 West Ave. Essex, CT 06426

narrowroadAustralian author Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Fiction Prize for his novel The Narrow Road To The North. He beat out some stiff competition, especially as this year marked the first time books by authors from the United States could be considered. The Prize carries with it £50,000 and a bounce in sales that will carry over to Flanagan’s 5 previous novels as well as the other novels shortlisted for the 2014 Prize.

The other shortlisted books were:

How To Be Both by Ali Smith
How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real–and all life’s givens get given a second chance.

J by Howard Jacobson
Kevern Cohen doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a word starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. When the extravagantly beautiful Ailinn Solomons arrives in his village by a sea that laps no other shore, Kevern is instantly drawn to her. Although mistrustful by nature, the two become linked as if they were meant for each other. Together, they form a refuge from the commonplace brutality that is the legacy of a historic catastrophe shrouded in suspicion, denial, and apology, simply referred to as WHAT HAPPENED, IF IT HAPPENED. To Ailinn’s guardian, Esme Nussbaum, Ailinn and Kevern are fragile shoots of hopefulness. As this unusual pair’s actions draw them into ever-increasing danger, Esme is determined to keep them together–whatever the cost.

The Lives Of Others by Neel Mukherjee
The aging patriarch and matriarch of the Ghosh family preside over their large household, made up of their five adult children and their respective children, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. Each set of family members occupies a floor of the home, in accordance to their standing within the family. Poisonous rivalries between sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business threaten to unravel bonds of kinship as social unrest brews in greater Indian society. This is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider. The eldest grandchild, Supratik, compelled by his idealism, becomes dangerously involved in extremist political activism–an action that further catalyzes the decay of the Ghosh home.

To Rise Again At A Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
Paul O’Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn’t know how to live in it. He’s a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God. Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online “Paul” might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul’s quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.” Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. She’s smart, vulnerable, innocent, and culpable. With some guile, she guides us through the darkness, penetrating secrets and unearthing memories, leading us deeper into the mystery she has dangled before us from the start. Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, Rosemary” truly is for remembrance.

 

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The Financial Times-McKinsey Financial Book Of The Year Award comes with a £30,000 prize. Sixteen books have been selected for the longlist; a six-book shortlist will be announced on September 24th and the winner announced on November 11th.

Here are the 16 books longlisted from over 300 titles entered:
(Click on the link to put a hold on the book in the catalog; have your LION Library barcode handy.)

boomThe Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold
Russell Gold, a brilliant and dogged investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal , has spent more than a decade reporting on one of the biggest stories of our time: the spectacular, world-changing rise of “fracking.” Recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and a recipient of the Gerald Loeb Award for his work, Gold has traveled along the pipelines and into the hubs of this country’s energy infrastructure; he has visited frack sites from Texas to North Dakota; and he has conducted thousands of interviews with engineers and wildcatters, CEOs and roughnecks, environmentalists and politicians. He has also sifted through reams of engineering reports, lawsuit transcripts, and financial filings. The result is an essential book-a commanding piece of journalism, an astounding study of human ingenuity, and an epic work of storytelling.

capitalpikettyCapital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories. In Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from twenty countries, ranging as far back as the eighteenth century, to uncover key economic and social patterns. His findings will transform debate and set the agenda for the next generation of thought about wealth and inequality.

chinassecondChina’s Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa by Howard French
An exciting, hugely revealing account of China’s burgeoning presence in Africa–a developing empire already shaping, and reshaping, the future of millions of people. A prizewinning foreign correspondent and former New York Times bureau chief in Shanghai and in West and Central Africa, Howard French is uniquely positioned to tell the story of China in Africa. Through meticulous on-the-ground reporting–conducted in Mandarin, French, and Portuguese, among other languages–French crafts a layered investigation of astonishing depth and breadth as he engages not only with policy-shaping moguls and diplomats, but also with the ordinary men and women navigating the street-level realities of cooperation, prejudice, corruption, and opportunity forged by this seismic geopolitical development. With incisiveness and empathy, French reveals the human face of China’s economic, political, and human presence across the African continent–and in doing so reveals what is at stake for everyone involved.
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The Staff at the Library enjoyed this video from Epic Reads so much we felt we had to share it with our readers. Epic Reads is a website for folks who enjoy YA books…check it out here.

childrensbookweek“Launched in 2008 by the Children’s Book Council and Every Child A Reader, The Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards program was created to provide young readers with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the books being written for them and to help develop a reading list that will motivate children to read more and cultivate a love of reading.”

“The Children’s & Teen Choice Book Awards is the only national book awards program where the winning titles are selected by children and teens. Last year, over 1,000,000 votes were cast by young readers!”
(bookweekonline.com)


Book of the Year, kindergarten through second grade

Winner:
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Finalists:

Alphabet Trucks by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

Chamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan Long

Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos, illustrated by Joy Ang

Bear and Bee by Sergio Ruzzier

Book of the Year, third through fourth grade

Winner:
Bugs in My Hair! by David Shannon

Finalists:

Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball by Charise Mericle Harper

Cougar: A Cat With Many Names by Stephen Person

The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale by Duncan Tonatiuh

Book of the Year, fifth through sixth grade

Winner:
National Geographic Kids Myths Busted! by Emily Krieger, illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos

Finalists:

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Prince Puggly of Spud by Robert Paul Weston

Lawless: Book 1 by Jeffrey Salane

Battling Boy by Paul Pope



Book of the Year, teens

Winner:
Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Finalists:

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Smoke by Ellen Hopkins

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

CaptureThe Washington Post has announced its list of the top 10 books of 2013. You’ll find all the titles to be familiar but in case you haven’t gotten around to reading them yet, the Post’s nod might give you more incentive. As Ron Charles, the book critic at the paper, says: “We’re not worried so much about making the perfect choices (those don’t exist). We just want to make sure our choices provide a rich investment for your time.”

FICTION

A Constellation Of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
Two doctors risk everything to save the life of a hunted child in this majestic debut about love, loss, and the unexpected ties that bind us together. “On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones.” Havaa, eight years old, hides in the woods and watches the blaze until her neighbor, Akhmed, discovers her sitting in the snow. Akhmed knows getting involved means risking his life, and there is no safe place to hide a child in a village where informers will do anything for a loaf of bread, but for reasons of his own, he sneaks her through the forest to the one place he thinks she might be safe: an abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded. Though Sonja protests that her hospital is not an orphanage, Akhmed convinces her to keep Havaa for a trial, and over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride (Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction)
From the bestselling author of The Color of Water and Song Yet Sung comes the story of a young boy born a slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery crusade and who must pass as a girl to survive. Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town with Brown, who believes he’s a girl. Over the ensuing months, Henry, whom Brown nicknames Little Onion, conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859, one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.


The Woman Upstairs
by Claire Messud
From the “New York Times”-bestselling author of “The Emperor’s Children,” a brilliant new novel: the riveting confession of a woman awakened, transformed, and betrayed by passion and desire for a world beyond her own set in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Son by Phillip Meyer
The first male child born in the newly established Republic of Texas, Eli McCullough is thirteen years old when a marauding band of Comanches storms his homestead and brutally murders his mother and sister, taking him captive. Brave and clever, Eli quickly adapts to life among the Comanches, learning their ways and language, answering to a new name, becoming the chief’s adopted son, and waging war against their enemies, including white men–which complicates his sense of loyalty and understanding of who he is. But when disease, starvation, and overwhelming numbers of armed Americans decimate the tribe, Eli finds himself alone. Neither white nor Indian, civilized nor fully wild, he must carve a place for himself in a world in which he does not fully belong–a journey of adventure, tragedy, hardship, grit, and luck that reverberates in the lives of his progeny. Intertwined with Eli’s story are those of his son, Peter, a man who bears the emotional cost of his father’s drive for power, and Jeannie, Eli’s great-granddaughter, a woman who must fight hardened rivals to succeed in a man’s world. Philipp Meyer deftly explores how Eli’s ruthlessness and steely pragmatism transform subsequent generations of McCulloughs. Love, honor, even children are sacrificed in the name of ambition as the family becomes one of the richest powers in Texas, a ranching-and-oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege. Yet, like all empires, the McCulloughs must eventually face the consequences of their choices. Harrowing, panoramic, and vividly drawn, The Son is a masterful achievement from a sublime young talent.

How The light Gets In by Louise Penny
Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna’s reluctance to reveal her friend’s name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo. As events come to a head, Gamache is drawn ever deeper into the world of Three Pines. Increasingly, he is not only investigating the disappearance of Myrna’s friend but also seeking a safe place for himself and his still-loyal colleagues. Is there peace to be found even in Three Pines, and at what cost to Gamache and the people he holds dear? How the Light Gets In is the ninth Chief Inspector Gamache Novel from Louise Penny.

NON-FICTION

The Guns At Last Light: The War In Western Europe 1944-1945 by Rick Atkinson
It is the twentieth century’s unrivaled epic: at a staggering price, the United States and its allies liberated Europe and vanquished Hitler. In the first two volumes of his bestselling Liberation Trilogy, Rick Atkinson recounted how the American-led coalition fought through North Africa and Italy to the threshold of victory. Now, in The Guns at Last Light , he tells the most dramatic story of all–the titanic battle for Western Europe. D-Day marked the commencement of the final campaign of the European war, and Atkinson’s riveting account of that bold gamble sets the pace for the masterly narrative that follows. The brutal fight in Normandy, the liberation of Paris, the disaster that was Operation Market Garden, the horrific Battle of the Bulge, and finally the thrust to the heart of the Third Reich–all these historic events and more come alive with a wealth of new material and a mesmerizing cast of characters. Atkinson tells the tale from the perspective of participants at every level, from presidents and generals to war-weary lieutenants and terrified teenage riflemen. When Germany at last surrenders, we understand anew both the devastating cost of this global conflagration and the enormous effort required to win the Allied victory. With the stirring final volume of this monumental trilogy, Atkinson’s accomplishment is manifest. He has produced the definitive chronicle of the war that unshackled a continent and preserved freedom in the West.

Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel
In Thank You for Your Service , Finkel has done something even more extraordinary. Once again, he has embedded with some of the men of the 2-16–but this time he has done it at home, here in the States, after their deployments have ended. He is with them in their most intimate, painful, and hopeful moments as they try to recover, and in doing so, he creates an indelible, essential portrait of what life after war is like–not just for these soldiers, but for their wives, widows, children, and friends, and for the professionals who are truly trying, and to a great degree failing, to undo the damage that has been done. The story Finkel tells is mesmerizing, impossible to put down. With his unparalleled ability to report a story, he climbs into the hearts and minds of those he writes about. Thank You for Your Service is an act of understanding, and it offers a more complete picture than we have ever had of these two essential questions: When we ask young men and women to go to war, what are we asking of them? And when they return, what are we thanking them for?

Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston
In Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, award-winning journalist Anne Dowsett Johnston combines in-depth research with her own personal story of recovery, and delivers a groundbreaking examination of a shocking yet little recognized epidemic threatening society today: the precipitous rise in risky drinking among women and girls. With the feminist revolution, women have closed the gender gap in their professional and educational lives. They have also achieved equality with men in more troubling areas as well. In the U.S. alone, the rates of alcohol abuse among women have skyrocketed in the past decade. DUIs, “drunkorexia” (choosing to limit eating to consume greater quantities of alcohol), and health problems connected to drinking are all rising–a problem exacerbated by the alcohol industry itself. Battling for women’s dollars and leisure time, corporations have developed marketing strategies and products targeted exclusively to women. Equally alarming is a recent CDC report showing a sharp rise in binge drinking, putting women and girls at further risk. As she brilliantly weaves in-depth research, interviews with leading researchers, and the moving story of her own struggle with alcohol abuse, Johnston illuminates this startling epidemic, dissecting the psychological, social, and industry factors that have contributed to its rise, and exploring its long-lasting impact on our society and individual lives.

Book Of Ages by Jill Lepore
From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians, a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister and a history of history itself. Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve. Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American self-made man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world–a world usually lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is at once a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters: a life unknown.

Going Clear by Lawrence Wright
Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists–both famous and less well known–and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige–tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard. We learn about Scientology’s complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church’s goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church’s clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract. In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.

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