London-based Silvertail Books is to publish The Unbreakable Miss Lovely by Tony Ortega, the story of the life of author Paulette Cooper, the most famous victim of the Church of Scientology’s notorious and ruthless ‘Fair Game’ retaliation schemes.
Ortega, the former editor-in-chief of The Village Voice, spent two years working with Cooper, interviewing her and reviewing her personal papers, as well as interviewing dozens of people, many of whom have never spoken publicly before, in order to piece together this stunning account of what it can cost someone to unearth Scientology’s secrets.
His sources include witnesses to Cooper’s harassment and, in a few cases, people who took part in it. Those interviews, as well as documents which have never been previously made public, provide the first full telling of what Paulette Cooper experienced — from her childhood in a Nazi concentration camp, to her life as a New York magazine writer, to becoming the most famous target of Scientology’s revenge.
London-based Silvertail Books previously published BBC journalist John Sweeney’s book, The Church of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology, and last year brought Russell Miller’s landmark biography of Scientology’s founder, Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard, back into print for the first time in 27 years.
Silvertail publisher Humfrey Hunter said: “A lot of people have been waiting a long time for Tony Ortega to write a book about Scientology and The Unbreakable Miss Lovely will not disappoint. It is an extraordinary story of terrible things done to a woman who did not deserve them and shines a light into the darkest corner of the history of the Church of Scientology. Tony has done a wonderful job with the narrative – the story reads like a thriller. This is an outstanding work of investigative authorship by a very fine journalist and I’m delighted Silvertail is to be his publisher.”
Tony Ortega has written about Scientology as a journalist for nearly 20 years, and began working with Paulette Cooper about her life story while he was still at the Voice. Ortega appears in Alex Gibney’s HBO-produced documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, which premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on January 25, and he will be in attendance.
Silvertail bought world rights directly from the author and will publish in paperback and ebook in May 2015 in the US and the UK.
In the late 1960s, an ambitious young journalist had a bizarre encounter with a Scientologist, who claimed to be God and then tried to sexually assault her. Her curiosity was aroused. She was eager for unusual stories, and soon became an expert on the strange cult of Scientology. Paulette Cooper was a vivacious go-getter. She was also a Holocaust baby, who had survived against all odds and been adopted by an American couple. She went on to publish one of the most important accounts in the field – The Scandal of Scientology.
Paulette and I have been friends for many years, drawn together by our mutual experience of the vindictive nature of the Scientology “church.” I survived 16 years of harassment, but horrifying though my experiences were, they pale in comparison to the onslaught that Paulette survived.
Tony Ortega is the worthy successor of Paulette Cooper’s hard-hitting investigation of the cult. I have worked with perhaps 200 journalists in the last 30 years. A very few have proved to be resilient, despite the cult’s invidious practices. No one has done better work than Tony. Anyone who has told the truth about Scientology knows that there is little in the way of glory to be had, and no financial benefit. We stand up, because we are appalled at the abuses of this enslaving cult. Tony’s tenacity is a marvel.
Under the direction of its malignant creator, L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology developed an intelligence agency second only to the infamous KGB in its infiltration of western government agencies. The Guardian’s Office was a formidable and fanatical organization, which campaigned relentlessly to protect Hubbard from prosecution and successfully dissuaded or ruined most of Scientology’s critics. Paulette Cooper was a prime target. She was preyed upon by agents, who inserted themselves into her private life and referred to her as “Miss Lovely” in their reports. She was framed for a bomb threat and indicted. She was subjected to a whispering campaign, where her neighbours were assured she was a child molester. The attack was relentless and very nearly caused her to take her own life.
Tony Ortega tells the story of this remarkable woman and of the invidious organization that tried to destroy her. He tells the story of the Guardian’s Office, an intelligence organization that penetrated the US government and was able to subvert US policy to the extent that Scientology was ultimately granted religious status and tax-exemption.
Eleven Scientology officials, including Hubbard’s wife, were given prison sentences in a campaign that had included kidnapping, false imprisonment, breaking and entering, theft and the forgery of government credentials. Almost forty other Scientologists, including Hubbard, were named as co-conspirators in this case.
The details are worthy of John Le Carre, and Tony has created a page-turner that is packed with barely believable facts – all soundly based upon the admissions offered by the conspirators themselves in court proceedings. Tony fleshes out my own brief description, in Let’s sell these people A Piece of Blue Sky, with startling information. This book is a must read for anyone who is interested in this most fascinating of groups, or in the nature of intelligence agencies.
Posted by Tony Ortega on January 10, 2015 at 13:00
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