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Lawrence Wright’s Book on Scientology — Going Clear — Hits Bookstores January 17

Lawrence Wright [Credit: Jana Birchum]

Big news for Scientology watchers: Alfred A. Knopf announced today that it will be releasing Lawrence Wright’s highly anticipated book about Scientology on January 17, which is a couple of months earlier than we had heard it would appear.

Jenna Miscavige Hill’s tell-all, meanwhile, appears to have been moved back to February, a month later than had previously been announced.

After the jump, we have the full press release from Knopf about Wright’s book.

Here’s what we were sent this morning:

LAWRENCE WRIGHT’S BOOK ON CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY

TO BE PUBLISHED IN JANUARY BY KNOPF

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NEW YORK, November 14, 2012 — Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, has written a revelatory book about the Church of Scientology – GOING CLEAR – that will be published on January 17, 2013 by Alfred A. Knopf. GOING CLEAR will be published simultaneously as an eBook, an enhanced eBook, and as a Random House Audiobook.

GOING CLEAR: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief is based on more than two hundred interviews with current and former Scientologists, as well as other sources. The book offers an exhaustive account of the church, from its founding by L. Ron Hubbard to its present-day leadership under David Miscavige.

“Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the twentieth century,” Wright observes. “I was drawn to write this book by the questions many people have about Scientology: What is it that makes this religion alluring? What do its adherents get out of it? How can rational-seeming people subscribe to beliefs that others find incomprehensible? Why do popular personalities associate themselves with a faith that is likely to create public relations martyrdom?”

During his three-year investigation, Wright was not only able to convince former members to discuss their separation from the church, he was also able to persuade current Scientologists to speak candidly about their experiences. He looks into the church’s financial resources and examines their tax-exempt status. He presents startling new source material about its complex and controversial founder. And he examines the relationships of both Tom Cruise and John Travolta to the church.

A portion of this material appeared in an article Wright wrote for The New Yorker.

Knopf has set a first printing of 150,000 copies for GOING CLEAR.

Alfred A. Knopf is the flagship imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, which is a division of Random House, Inc. Its parent company is Bertelsmann AG, the international media company. For more information about Alfred A. Knopf, visit the website http://www.aaknopf.com.

PRESS CONTACT:

Kim Thornton, Senior Publicist, Alfred A. Knopf

(212) 572-2299, kthornton@randomhouse.com

——————————-

Ever since Wright’s epic February, 2011 story “The Apostate” showed up in The New Yorker we’ve been looking forward to this book. That magazine story was about the defection of longtime Scientologist and Oscar-winning film director Paul Haggis. But with this book, Wright’s going deep on what’s tearing apart the church today.

Not long ago, January was also announced for the publication of Jenna Miscavige Hill’s tell-all. The niece of church leader David Miscavige made major waves in 2008 when she appeared on Nightline, describing the harrowing life of kids growing up in the church. We expect her book to be a devastating expose of her uncle’s organization.

However, just yesterday we learned that the copy we pre-ordered was moved back a month, to February. We hope that’s just a minor distribution glitch and not a sign of bigger problems.

All we know is, the Bunker can’t wait to get review copies of both books. So send ’em already, PR folks!

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