You may have to cross the border to get your hands on a copy of the new exposé into the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. It appears the book will not be published in Canada.
The Globe and Mail reports that Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, does not have a Canadian distributor. Officials at Random House Canada confirmed that they have elected not to publish the book. They did not provide the newspaper with a specific reason.
It is suspected, however, that the threat of legal repercussions may have played a role in the decision. Just days ago, a British publisher announced that it would not publish the book based on legal advice. England is another place where libel laws are perceived to be less flexible than the U.S., according to the Daily Telegraph.
Although it says little for the state of free speech in Canada, a decision not to publish a book like Going Clear due to legal concerns would be undeniably prudent. Both Britain and Canada share a legal tradition that makes it much easier for plaintiffs to win defamation lawsuits than it is in the United States, and the Church of Scientology is famously litigious.
Scientology, the pseudo-religion best known for its connection to Tom Cruise, and to a lesser extent John Travolta, has expressed concern with the book, telling the Daily Mail it has alerted publishers to “numerous inaccuracies and defamatory lies.”
But the fact that the book will not be published or distributed in Canada by no means closes the door on Canadian readers.
Sure, it might be frustrating for those who rely on local bookshops for their reading material. But the prevalence of online book sales and eReaders has many confident they can get their hands on a copy.
For those of you who are piqued, here are some snippets from the book that are already available online:
- Tom Cruise sought Tony Blair's help in getting Scientology charity status in England -The Sun
- Leader David Miscavige considered trying to convert George W. Bush to Scientology while he was president. - The Independent
- Scientology leaders were pleased when Cruise separated from Nicole Kidman, who they blamed for Cruise briefly drifting from the church -The Hollywood Reporter.
For the record, it is not Lawrence Wright’s book that suggests a secret bunker in the New Mexico desert is the "alien space cathedral" of the Church of Scientology. That’s another upcoming book.