The book 'L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?' has been published in three English language editions, each further revised and updated (1987, 1992, and 1996.) There is also a hardbound Russian language edition that became available in 2005.
Unlike most other books on Scientology, 'Messiah or Madman?' examines both the "positives" and "negatives" of the subject. It was written under extremely strenuous circumstances, and - I think - despite everything, succeeded in its objective of reaching and helping those who had been involved in Scientology.
These three links will have to do for now.
Anyone who wishes to add excerpts is most welcome to do so.
Some time later...
The excerpts, and personal recollections, recently posted by programmer guy are great. And I know Emma, much earlier, has posted some excerpts too.
Since I have a copy of the 1996 (464 page) edition, here is a little bit of the new material, starting at the very beginning of the book, with an excerpt from the new book flap. (All of the front material, and the top paragraph of the back):
"I have high hopes of smashing my name
into history so violently that it will take a
legendary form even if all the books are
destroyed. That goal is the real goal as far as
I am concerned. Things which stand too
consistently in my way make me nervous.
It's a pretty big job. In a hundred years
Roosevelt will have been forgotten - which
gives some idea of the magnitude of my
attempt. And all this boils and froths inside
"Psychiatrists, reaching the high of the
dusty desk, tell us that Alexander, Genghis
Khan and Napoleon were madmen. I know
they're maligning some very intelligent
L. Ron Hubbard wrote these words in a letter to
his first wife in 1938.
In 1950 he wrote the bestseller 'Dianetics, the
Modern Science of Mental Health. This inspired a
layman oriented mental health movement which,
ultimately, developed into Scientology, the most
profitable of the money-making new religions.
Hubbard's early Dianetic and Scientology writings
borrow freely from Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and
the founder of General Semantics, Alfred Korzybski.
And P.T. Barnum appears to have been an inspiration.
Hubbard also took much from the writings of Aleister
Crowley - self-proclaimed "Beast 666." This is a source
of embarrassment for the Scientology Church, which
is determined to achieve broad public acceptance.
In the 1960s Hubbard incorporated Brainwashing
methodologies into the subject. He established the
"Fair Game Policy" which states that an "enemy" of
Scientology "may be deprived of property or injured
by any means by any Scientologist, without
discipline of that Scientologist. May be tricked,
sued, lied to or destroyed."
He also became the Commodore of his own private
navy, and began to refer to himself as "Source."
'L. Ron Hubbard, Messiah or Madman?' exposes
as never before the dark side of Scientology, yet
contains an in-depth examination of the potential
positives of the subject and their actual origins.