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In this fascinating work of historical fiction, award-winning author Lawrence Wright captures all the gripping drama and black humor of Panama during the final, nerve-racking days of its legendary dictator, Manuel Antonio Noriega.It is Christmas 1989, and Tony Noriega's demons are finally beginning to catch up with him. A former friend of President Bush, Fidel Castro, and Oliver North, this universally reviled strongman is on the run from the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department, the Colombian mob, and a host of political rivals. In his desperation, Tony Noriega seeks salvation from any and all quarters -- God, Satan, a voodoo priest, even the spirits of his murdered enemies. But with a million-dollar price on his head and 20,000 American soldiers on his trail, Noriega is fast running out of options.Drawn from a historical record more dramatic than even the most artful spy novel. God's Favorite is a riveting and darkly comic fictional account of the events that occurred in Panama from 1985 to the dictator's capture in 1989. With a journalist's eye for detail, Lawrence Wright leads the reader toward a dramatic face-off in the Vatican embassy, where Noriega confronts his psychological match in the Papal Nuncio.
A clear-sighted revelation, a deep penetration into the world of Scientology by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower, the now-classic study of al-Qaeda's 9/11 attack. Based on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists--both famous and less well known--and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology.At the book's center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today: The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige--tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard.We learn about Scientology's complicated cosmology and special language. We see the ways in which the church pursues celebrities, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, and how such stars are used to advance the church's goals. And we meet the young idealists who have joined the Sea Org, the church's clergy, signing up with a billion-year contract.In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation, understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.From the Hardcover edition.
We first meet Larry Wright in 1960. He is thirteen and moving with his family to Dallas, the essential city of the New World just beginning to rise across the southern rim of the United States. As we follow him through the next two decades--the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War, the devastating assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the sexual revolution, the crisis of Watergate, and the emergence of Ronald Reagan--we relive the pivotal and shocking events of those crowded years. Lawrence Wright has written the autobiography of a generation, giving back to us with stunning force the feelings of those turbulent times when the euphoria of Kennedy's America would come to its shocking end. Filled with compassion and insight, In the New World is both the intimate tale of one man's coming-of-age, and a universal story of the American experience of two crucial decades.
'Wright's brilliantly constructed narrative is head and shoulders above the rest. He knows important parts of the Muslim world (including Saudi Arabia) at first hand, he understands the motors of Islamist militancy. Moreover, he is a fine writer with an eye for the telling detail. Even those who think they know the story intimately will feel they are reading it anew.' - New Statesman.
In 1988 Ericka and Julie Ingram began making a series of accusations of sexual abuse against their father, Paul Ingram, who was a respected deputy sheriff in Olympia, Washington. At first the accusations were confined to molestations in their childhood, but they grew to include torture and rape as recently as the month before. At a time when reported incidents of "recovered memories" had become widespread, these accusations were not unusual. What captured national attention in this case is that, under questioning, Ingram appeared to remember participating in bizarre satanic rites involving his whole family and other members of the sheriff's department.Remembering Satan is a lucid, measured, yet absolutely riveting inquest into a case that destroyed a family, engulfed a small town, and captivated an America obsessed by rumors of a satanic underground. As it follows the increasingly bizarre accusations and confessions, the claims and counterclaims of police, FBI investigators, and mental health professionals. Remembering Satan gives us what is at once a psychological detective story and a domestic tragedy about what happens when modern science is subsumed by our most archaic fears.
Saints and Sinners: Walker Railey, Jimmy Swaggart, Madalyn Murray O'hair, Anton Lavey, Will Campbell, Matthew Foxby Lawrence Wright
In this fascinating book about religion in America, one of this country's most probing yet sympathetic journalists puts forth stories not only of real grace but of despair, sexual scandal, and attempted murder. Lawrence Wright's Saints and Sinners are Jimmy Swaggart, who preached a hellfire gospel with rock 'n' roll abandon before he was caught with a, prostitute in a seedy motel; Anton LaVey, the kitsch-loving, gleefully fraudulent founder of the First Church of Satan; Madalyn Murray O'Hair, whose litigious atheism sometimes resembled a brand of faith; Matthew Fox, the Dominican priest who has aroused the fury of the Vatican for dismissing the doctrine of original sin and denouncing the church as a dysfunctional family; Walker Railey, the rising star of Dallas's Methodist church, who, at the pinnacle of his success, was suspected of attempting to murder his wife; and Will Campbell, the eccentric liberal Southern Baptist preacher whose challenges to established ways of thinking have made him a legend in his own time. By letting us listen to their voices and see the individuals in all their complexities, Lawrence Wright has written a richly fascinating book about the passions, triumphs, and failures of the life of faith.
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