Read Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' by David S. Wills Online


Scientology is largely overlooked in major texts about the life and work of William S. Burroughs, author of some of the most notorious literature of the 20th century. Its importance in the creation of the Cut-up Method and Burroughs’ view of language as a virus is undermined by the omission of details regarding his interest in the religion over the course of a decade – cerScientology is largely overlooked in major texts about the life and work of William S. Burroughs, author of some of the most notorious literature of the 20th century. Its importance in the creation of the Cut-up Method and Burroughs’ view of language as a virus is undermined by the omission of details regarding his interest in the religion over the course of a decade – certainly the most creatively fertile period of his life. Instead, biographers and critics tend to focus on his other obsessions in the realm of fringe science, and on the period during the early 1970s when Burroughs left the religion and began a public crusade against it.However, Burroughs’ involvement with L. Ron Hubbard’s organization was no fleeting interest; he was a fully-fledged member and even obtained the rank of ‘clear’ – a prestigious achievement for a Scientologist. Scientology ultimately inspired the plot, the structure, and various elements of some of Burroughs’ most important works, including The Soft Machine and The Wild Boys. His fascination was genuine, and his progress through the hierarchical structure of the Church signals a dedication that he would later downplay after being excommunicated in 1969.Now, for the first time, his life and literature are reexamined in the light of newly uncovered information about Burroughs’ fascination with this ‘weird cult,’ as he once described it....

Title : Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult'
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780956952523
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 250 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' Reviews

  • Steven P.
    2019-06-14 10:14

    I bought this book because I read and enjoyed the author's first book - the Dog Farm. Let me start by saying this is totally different. I enjoyed them both but honestly it's amazing that they came from the same author. I am impressed by his versatility!I must admit I knew little about William Burroughs before reading this. When I was younger I read the Naked Lunch but hated it. I only picked this up because of its author and I was also a little interested in the cult of Scientology. I half expected to not understand anything because it seems like such a specific area to write about but it really sucked me in from start to end.The book is formatted like a biography. It starts with Burroughs as a young child and examines the damage that was done to him that ended up making him vulnerable to things like cults and a Mexican serum for eternal life. Later the author looks at references to Scientology in some of Burroughs' most famous books which I'm sure will surprise some people. Then it deals with his fall out from the cult and the big fights that ensued, and tracks his interest until his death.All in all this was a really wonderful book - very well written and exhaustively researched!

  • Hakim
    2019-05-22 02:16

    Wow. Frankly, I applaud David S. Wills' patience and perseverence. The amount of research he has done to write this book is massive. Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' sheds light on a big part of the legendary author's life I wasn't familar with. In fact, it makes me want to read all of his books again. Wills starts off by recounting Burroughs' childhood experiences, encounters and traumas that eventually made him who he was, and which played a crucial role in his interest for L Ron Hubbard' dianetics and the e-meter. The dynamics between William Seward and the "Church of Scientology" is nothing short of fascinating. When you start thinking about certain themes addressed in Burroughs' books (Nova triolgy, red night trilogy) such as mind control, language as a virus, it all makes sense. The problem is: Burroughs thought Scientology was a way to rid the world of mind control. Little did he know that Scientology uses this very technique to dominate people. Besides Burroughs' wild ride with Scientology, Wills provides juicy details about the author's private life and aspirations, his failures and accomplishments. All of this that made me want to reexplore his books, which I now perceive completely differently. Thank you David S. Wills.

  • Jack Freeman
    2019-06-04 08:18

    Wills’ book is exhaustively researched and yet unbelievably accessible. He starts off by running through Burroughs’ life up until his first encounter with the “Church” of Scientology in 1959, and then begins to explain both why Burroughs was suckered in by the cult and also how it influenced his books. I was shocked to learn that his most famous works of literature were practically ripped straight from the mouth of L Ron Hubbard. I highly recommend this book for fans of the Beat generation and also anyone with an interest in Scientology.

  • JamesLove
    2019-06-04 03:33

    I have always been fascinated by Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard, in the same way that I am fascinated with Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson. How can seemingly intelligent people be conned into believing the trash that they came up with?The L. Ron Hubbard's SeaOrg and its Billion Years Contract is reminiscent of Mephistopheles promise to Faust that for his measly and unnecessary immortal soul Mephistopheles would give Faust the ultimate knowledge of the universe.William S. Burroughs philosophy of factualism was eerily similar to Hubbard's Dianetics. All you do is find someone who believes the same way and just steal their ideas and repackage it as your own.When Hubbard's Dianetics proved to be plagiarism on a grand scale by members of the AMA and APA, Hubbard simply rebranded it as Scientology and proclaimed himself the next Messiah on a par with Jesus Christ, Buddha and Mohammed.It also explains Burroughs philosophy of the Word Virus. The idea that language must be obliterated by destroying the words themselves. The cut-up novels were just an experiment in destroying the English language.The author explores the hypocrisy of both authors and their selfish belief that they were special, unique and should be in control.

  • Steve S
    2019-06-07 03:23

    I purchased this book because I've been interested lately in Scientology, and it looked like a good read. William S Burroughs was one of the most unique individuals I've ever read about. This book is about his life, his work, and pretty much everything about him. It was very well written, and thoroughly researched. It was also extremely reasonably priced; in my opinion considering the quality of writing, it's worth a lot more than what it costs.I learned a lot about Burroughs and his thoughts on Scientology, and also about why he ultimately left the religion. He was an extremely talented man in many ways, and obviously very intelligent. It got me interested in checking out some of Burroughs' work. Naked Lunch seems to be the most popular, so I might look into that.The author's writing style was fresh and captivating, you can tell Wills is a master of his craft. The story really flows at a good pace, and is intriguing to say the least.I really enjoyed reading it, and I would definitely recommend "Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult'" to anyone who's looking for a solid book about Burroughs. It truly is a fun and exciting read!

  • Kirk Johnson
    2019-05-23 07:29

    i'm giving this book four stars because it's this independently published thing that manages to find and partially fill a hole in burroughs scholarship. it's pretty well written, though it comes across as judgemental and a bit of a downer. there's plenty to be judgemental about with burroughs, but sometimes the writer seems to wear it on his sleeve. that's ok. this book seems to me essential reading if you're gonna get deep into burroughs, especially his cut-up trilogy: i read burroughs in a whole new light after this book. but depending on how your brain works, this book could ruin it for you too. if you've already read the autobiographies, you might find the first fifty pages tiresome. but those pages do help set up the rest of the book. i could wish for more textual analysis of burroughs, but it's not really necessary and i guess out of the scope of this text.

  • Rich Meyer
    2019-05-29 09:28

    An interesting book that highlights some aspects of WSB that perhaps the mainstream readership wasn't aware of, though anyone reading his books with the most basic understanding of Scientology can easily see the influence. In some ways it's rather sad that someone of WSB's status and intelligence got taken in by that cult of shysters, but it is also good to see that he managed to actually make his money back through his writing and using some of those weird concepts in that process. Even with the Scientology tinge, this is a somewhat adequate biography of one of the last great American writers. Many of the interview quotes are very raw and emotional, coming from a man who had a lot of problems, but still managed to make a major mark on our culture. Excellent read!

  • David
    2019-05-28 08:26

    This is an amazing book! Although this book traces Burroughs' not so well known membership in the Church of Scientology, as well as resulting scandals as he publicly criticized his experience - leading up to his excommunication from the Church -- it also serves as a fascinating biography. A must read for any fan of Burroughs as well as for anyone interesting in Scientology.

  • John Happenstance
    2019-05-27 06:31

    Good read - very accessible and informative approach to what I expected would be a tough subject. I've always been interested in Scientology and a bit by Burroughs but never knew the two overlapped until reading Wills's essay on TNB.

  • GK Stritch
    2019-05-21 09:28

    Great job, David S. Wills. Good work, August 19, 2013, Huffington article "A Meeting of Cults: William Burroughs and Scientology."