Review by Amos Jessup
A Book Review
At the Eye of the Storm
The remarkable expansion of L.R. Hubbard’s Church of Scientology between 1960 and 1975 was tumultuous, a heated, pressured, stormy growth that gradually gave birth to the multi-million dollar operation known as today’s Church of Scientology. At the core of that explosive expansion stood Hubbard himself, a prolific, high-energy autocrat with a passion for building his subject and his organization into a towering modern religious edifice embroiled in controversy and reeking of hope, spiritual glamor and tough-minded enlargement.
Throughout the major part of that period, near the center of hectic operations, day in and day out, Hubbard’s remarkable history was watched by a young girl, who quietly observed and assessed and participated in the day-to-day life of Hubbard, his family, and the driven and overloaded executives who coped and scrambled to keep up with his hectic pace.
Janis Grady’s clear, unadorned prose and keen eye for story recounts the many dramatic episodes surrounding Hubbard’s strivings, composing a long and colorful dramatic arc involving battles with hurricanes, governments, shipboard failures and triumphs, and the endless challenges of managing a growing organization behind a large philosophical movement. She tells a hundred different stories, with a clear-eyed, innocent and warm-hearted voice that stands in dramatic contrast to the chaotic times through which she moved and grew.
Her voice stands in high contrast, as well, to the many works produced in recent years seeking to act as exposés and scandalous tell-alls. Grady’s voice is that of a child, who has nothing to prove or defend, and who sees the world with very little judgment or condemnation. She writes with resonating honesty, and a dry sense of irony and humor permeates her telling, but she writes with an unscarred clarity that makes her story far more credible and compelling. In this book, the first of several volumes, she creates a picture of Hubbard and the colorful and sometimes stormy life he generated in the formative years of the Sea Organization—a picture which is far more believable, true to life, and human than any previous work on the subject. This is a must-read for any student of the subject or the times.