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By the New York Times bestselling author of Manson, the comprehensive, authoritative, and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre—the largest murder-suicide in American history. In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, a By the New York Times bestselling author of Manson, the comprehensive, authoritative, and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre—the largest murder-suicide in American history. In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader. In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink. Guinn examined thousands of pages of FBI files on the case, including material released during the course of his research. He traveled to Jones’s Indiana hometown, where he spoke to people never previously interviewed, and uncovered fresh information from Jonestown survivors. He even visited the Jonestown site with the same pilot who flew there the day that Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered on Jones’s orders. The Road to Jonestown is the definitive book about Jim Jones and the events that led to the tragedy at Jonestown.


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By the New York Times bestselling author of Manson, the comprehensive, authoritative, and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre—the largest murder-suicide in American history. In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, a By the New York Times bestselling author of Manson, the comprehensive, authoritative, and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre—the largest murder-suicide in American history. In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader. In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to a settlement in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Guinn provides stunning new details of the events leading to the fatal day in November, 1978 when more than nine hundred people died—including almost three hundred infants and children—after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink. Guinn examined thousands of pages of FBI files on the case, including material released during the course of his research. He traveled to Jones’s Indiana hometown, where he spoke to people never previously interviewed, and uncovered fresh information from Jonestown survivors. He even visited the Jonestown site with the same pilot who flew there the day that Congressman Leo Ryan was murdered on Jones’s orders. The Road to Jonestown is the definitive book about Jim Jones and the events that led to the tragedy at Jonestown.

30 review for The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Pardon my rambling... my mind has not been this blown by a book in a long, long time! First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jeff Guinn, and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. My ongoing trek though the world of biographies would not have been complete without a comprehensive piece about an individual who is often misunderstood in history. Jeff Guinn has provided this with his stellar piece on Jim Jones a Pardon my rambling... my mind has not been this blown by a book in a long, long time! First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Jeff Guinn, and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review. My ongoing trek though the world of biographies would not have been complete without a comprehensive piece about an individual who is often misunderstood in history. Jeff Guinn has provided this with his stellar piece on Jim Jones and the winding road to Jonestown, site of the infamous cult mass suicide in 1978. Guinn focusses the rise and power of Jim Jones, exemplifying his ability to hoard power and hone his leadership skills while captivating a following of the common person. Armed with the power of the delivered word and absolute authority, Jones sought not only to create the Peoples Temple to serve the disadvantaged, but also to instil complete loyalty in a socialist hierarchy, as contradictory as that might sound. The attentive and patient reader will discover countless examples of Jones' abilities as he becomes the textbook cult leader. (As it will surely rouse extensive debate, for the purposes of this review and my personal beliefs, I would define a 'cult' as an organisation premised on a certain type of beliefs, usually religious, whereby extrication is neither simple nor voluntary. I welcome those who wish to challenge me on this, though I do not bandy the word around for the fun of it!) Raised in a highly dysfunctional home in Lynn, Indiana, Jones stuck out at school and could regularly be found making long-winded sermons alone in the woods or organising healing services for roadkill. This religious upbringing was fostered by his curiosity in the numerous evangelical Christian options around town, even though his parents were the only family not found at any Sunday services. By adulthood, with a young wife by his side, Jones continued to foster his preaching and healing skills, soon part of the revival tour around the state. His ultimate goal, to form his own church that would target lower-income individuals and trying to link up with established black churches in and around Indianapolis. With the Red Scare in full force, Jones sought to utilise some of the socialist 'equality for all' in his sermons, bringing hope to any who would grace the sanctuary. His message was less one of godliness, but of the need to integrate the races and help one another, all this in the late 1950s and into the 60s. Developing a strong base, Jones formed the Peoples Temple and rallied as many as would attend on a regular basis. Even at this early stage, Jones tried to create a sense of power and a hierarchy, where followers would rely on him to help them solve problems as long as they turn over all earthly possessions to the Temple. Guinn hints at a duplicity here, where Jones could completely overtake his followers, while remaining above the fray and living as he saw fit. Always wanting more and seeing the lights of California, Jones turned his attention to Redwood Valley and the surrounding town of Ukiah, California. Situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Jones felt he could work effectively by integrating into a smaller community, yet still be able to pull followers from both major metropolitan areas. He was so effective in having his followers join him because of the impending nuclear holocaust that was sure to come from the Soviets, having recently been deterred during the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Yes, more duplicity, as he rallied to the Soviet-style collectivist notion of equality for all, yet chose to sit at the end of all!) Jones knew how to use the news to his advantage, demanding blind faith and complete trust that he had revelations about what the Peoples Temple ought to do. While Jones had to reestablish himself out West, many scouts and a strong advertising campaign in the less affluent neighbourhoods brought new recruits along with those who had heard of this captivating preacher. From there, Guinn explores many of the sexual encounters that Jones had (and sanctioned) within the Temple, citing the need to de-stress or share communally, though only within the confines of fellow Temple folk. Jones cemented a stronger sense of communal ownership by Temple faithful, going so far as to require all children born into the group be raised communally, where they would see parents only when Jones saw fit. Sex led to drugs and soon Jones relied on that to keep him going, all while his wife stood by and loyally tried to digest what was going on. Guinn explores sentiments of jealousy and angst, though Jones never sought to enter into polygamous marriages, choosing instead to share his body and time with at least two women regularly and others on an as needed basis. How could Jones profess these beliefs and hold firm to the reins of power? As Guinn explains, there was significant verbal and physical abuse administered, which would push straying members into line. Be it calling people out in sermons, browbeating in meetings, or blackmailing in private, Jones made sure that he held the upper hand to ensure obedience. If a member sought to leave the fold, Jones had pre-signed documentation or blank sheets that he could use and submit to the authorities, thereby pigeon-holing any who might make idle threats. Guinn offers numerous examples of the lengths to which Jones would go to command attention and total control over the lives of Temple members, from the new recruits to his own wife, seen as the second-in-command of the entire organisation. Using his prowess to rally the troops, Jones became a favourite of the political candidates in the Bay Area, helping to secure votes and rallying the electorate, though the expectation was a system of quid pro quo, usually forgotten after the ballots were counted. Negative press haunted Jones and he began developing an escape plan from California, looking to the small and recently independent country of Guyana. The country appealed to Jones, as it held strong socialist views as well as significant area for agricultural cultivation; a heavenly commune for collectivist living. Jones soon laid the foundation for the Temple's new home, aptly named Jonestown, which was isolated enough that government officials would not come knocking. Holding his followers in awe and paying for their travel, Jones brought hundreds down to the country in a series of trips, where they settled and the commune took shape, strengthening the idea of a cult, through geographic isolation, both from families and American authorities (Guyana had no extradition treaty with the United States). Legal actions were beginning in San Francisco courts by family members of those in the Peoples Temple, citing kidnapping or illicit seizure of property from members. This soon led to continued bad press, though only in those locations where the Temple had a footprint. This soon caused US Congressman Leo Ryan to organise a trip to investigate some of the concerns. Armed with scores of letters and members of the media, Ryan tried to explore the truthfulness of the Temple's assertions that all were happily residing in Guyana. He found few issues and only a handful of members who wished to leave. Guinn uses the last few chapters to explore the US expedition to Guyana and the fallout as Jones saw his complete control slipping away. Stunning writing on Guinn's part shows the lengths to which Jim Jones would go to hold complete control. The eventual mass suicide and assassination of the outsiders at the direction of the leader led to a body count of over 900, including Ryan himself. Jones and the entire Jonestown community soon became international headline news, having escaped much mention during their entire time in South America. The common (and erroneous) phrase that came out of those final hours in Jonestown remains "Don't drink the Kool-Aid [actually Flavor Aid]", which the reader will discover has lasted for decades since the event. All the same, the power Jones held over his followers is phenomenal and the reader will surely finish the book wondering as much as understanding his sway. Was Jim Jones an evil man or simply one who allowed power to go to his head? Even Guinn does not have a definitive answer, but this biography is so detailed and well-paced that the reader will surely come away with their own opinions. Many books have been written about Jonestown and Jim Jones, though all seem to offer sensationalised accounts of events or are completely weighted to one side, forcing the curious reader to sit through diatribes or blatant vilification. Guinn has used much time and effort to offer a complete look at the man, interviewing those who are still alive (due to age and the obvious sacrifice in Guyana) as well as all the documents he could recover to tell the story. A feat that not many would have taken, Guinn uses his wonderful narrative to tell the dénouement as honestly as he can. Like the other biography of his that I have read, Guinn forges headlong into the tough topics and questions, emerging with answers that defy simple religious or cultish vilification, which offers the reader a much more comprehensive approach. I can now speak about Jonestown with greater authority and understand much of the life of Jim Jones and what led him to that fateful day on November 18, 1978. I would strongly encourage anyone with the patience to read such a detailed tome to digest all that Guinn has to offer, for he refuses to sermonise, preventing the the reader from, pardon the remark, "drinking the Kool-Aid". Kudos, Mr. Guinn for your stunning effort with this piece. This is a sensational delivery of what has to be a very difficult topic. You have entertained, educated, and armed me for discussions about this and other cult groups, which seem to surround me as I forge ahead with more biographies. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guinn is a 2017 Simon & Schuster publication. Thoroughly chilling… While I was only in my early teens in 1978, I still recall the news footage of the “Jonestown Massacre”. I understood on some level what had happened, but I couldn’t fully digest it. I tried not to watch the news reports and steered clear of conversations about it because it made me extremely uncomfortable. It was too much for me to cope with, and in all honesty, I s The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People’s Temple by Jeff Guinn is a 2017 Simon & Schuster publication. Thoroughly chilling… While I was only in my early teens in 1978, I still recall the news footage of the “Jonestown Massacre”. I understood on some level what had happened, but I couldn’t fully digest it. I tried not to watch the news reports and steered clear of conversations about it because it made me extremely uncomfortable. It was too much for me to cope with, and in all honesty, I still can’t wrap my head around it. Part of me wanted to read this book, in hopes of garnering some understanding of how something like this happened. But, another part of me didn’t want to relive that horrible piece of history where over nine hundred people lost their lives. But, the outstanding reviews convinced me to read it and while I still find these events quite upsetting, I am glad I read the book. To say this was a comprehensive account of Jim Jones’ life is an understatement of epic proportions. This book is an exacting, well researched, serious and non-biased, look at one of the most monstrous cult leaders of all time. We all know how this will end. The question is- How did it begin? I won’t make this into a book report, if I can help it, but I did want to touch on some of the impressions I was left with. One of the weirdest things about all this, is that it didn’t start out as being all that different from many fundamentalist church doctrines or beliefs. Jim’s wife was zealously religious and the couple did present themselves as believing in God and practiced the core Christian values most of us are familiar with. It is easy to see how Jim ingratiated himself into the ministry profession, and why he experienced praise for his genuine service and help to those in need. He was particularly sensitive to the black community and freely welcomed them and worshipped alongside them in a time when such actions raised eyebrows. However, he quickly shucked off any semblance of being a true believer and began working the tent revival circuit, faked healings, and performed 'miracles' including raising people from the dead. But, there was an audience for that sort of thing, especially in that era of time, and he was hardly the only one out there working that particular con. But, religion and doing good deeds were not the cult’s only draw. I was amazed at how political it was. Jones was an ardent socialist, and I think many people joined his ‘church’ because these ideals, without embracing any ‘religious’ worship of God. This book took me on stunning and harrowing journey, step by horrifying step, as he morphed into an actual cult leader and managed to mesmerize his followers into doing anything he wanted them to. I won’t go into the details because I want you to see for yourself how vile, narcissistic, cruel, contradictory, and sick he really was. It is an incredible profile of a man who conned, swayed, manipulated, lied, and corrupted so many people, yet managed to amass wealth, while rubbing elbows with celebrities, and politicians, who often praised him for his good deeds!! As the book progresses, we see how as his psychosis deepened, and as his power increased so did his ego, and his darker tendencies completely took over, fueled by his paranoia need for control and by his use of drugs. So, the closer I came to the climactic events in “Jonestown”, I began to dread having to read it in such graphic details. The phrase, ‘ don’t drink the Koolaid’ (it wasn’t really the trademarked “Koolaid”, but ‘Flavor-aid- a cheaper, generic brand), is a familiar one, used to insult anyone exhibiting a certain level of gullibility, and became a common pop culture saying. "The Jonestown deaths quickly became renowned not as grandly defiant revolutionary gesture, but that ultimate example of human gullibility” Cults didn’t go away after the Jonestown massacre. There were still headline grabbing standoffs and more mass suicides, although nothing that ever came close to topping Jonestown. But, it SEEMED that maybe with a more enlightened, educated, progressive majority in America, these charismatic charlatans may have finally lost their appeal or ability to lure mass followings, as we began to hear less and less about religious cults. "Demagogues recruit by uniting a disenchanted element against an enemy, then promising to use religion or politics or a combination of the two to bring about rightful change.” While I swore to myself I would not go here, I could not help but notice parallels between Jim Jones’ personality traits, such as his inability to delegate or share or his penchant to lash out, deflect, punish, seek restitution, and refuse any hint of apology or compromise, but still managed to lure in folks, knowing just what they needed and wanted to hear, thus securing an almost unshakable loyalty, are traits that are noticeably prevalent in other prominent ‘leaders’ who have come into power. The resemblance was so eerily uncanny at times I still get chills down my spine thinking about it. ‘The less he was recognized and appreciated by the outside world, the grander he proclaimed himself to the followers remaining to him.’ One of the most gruesome pictures included in this book is a photo depicting many of the deceased lying face down in what looked like a grass hut pavilion with a sign hanging on the wall, directly above Jones’ personal chair, that stated: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Even though I did remember the events that took place in Guyana in 1978, I never sought to learn more about Jim Jones than was necessary. So, most of what was detailed here I was largely unaware of. I have to tell you, it’s pretty shocking. Jim Jones is one of the strangest people I’ve ever read about! He was crazy, but smart, did kind and compassionate things for people in need, was incredible charismatic, but could turn on someone in an instant, meting out horrific punishments, both physical and psychological. He could switch from mean to incredibly nice in an instant. He was delusional, believing himself to be God, and expected unquestionable loyalty from his followers, and he usually got it. But it started to unravel and disillusionment did start to set in, with some questioning his decisions or outright refusing to obey. Yet, as we all know, many remained enthralled right up to the bitter end. I can’t praise the author enough for the clear, concise layout used here. The book is organized, well -constructed, is presented chronologically, and reads like a true crime novel in many ways. I was riveted, glued to the pages, still unable to grapple with the reality of Jones’ life and the path he ultimately took to Guyana. There may always be a part of my heart and mind that can’t accept that over 900 people drank cyanide laced punch at his behest, including children. This book, though, left me with no place to hide, forcing me to accept these events as a gruesome, hideous, and incredibly tragic part of America’s history. My fervent hope is that history never repeats itself. 5 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    “Off to the side of the [Jonestown] pavilion, [Mark] Lane and [Charles] Garry were being led by armed guards to a cabin. [Jim] Jones had issued orders for the two lawyers to be held there. Other guards, all of them carrying rifles or shotguns, began prowling all four sides of the pavilion and the perimeters of camp. That was different. Many in the pavilion noticed, and expected Jones to momentarily take the stage and explain. But their leader was now in hushed conversation with Maria Katsaris, w “Off to the side of the [Jonestown] pavilion, [Mark] Lane and [Charles] Garry were being led by armed guards to a cabin. [Jim] Jones had issued orders for the two lawyers to be held there. Other guards, all of them carrying rifles or shotguns, began prowling all four sides of the pavilion and the perimeters of camp. That was different. Many in the pavilion noticed, and expected Jones to momentarily take the stage and explain. But their leader was now in hushed conversation with Maria Katsaris, who whispered in Jones’s ear. [Tim] Carter eavesdropped as Jones winced and asked her, ‘Is there some way to make it taste less bitter?’ and Katsaris shook her head. Somewhere in Jonestown, human guinea pigs had sampled the deadly potion. Jones asked Katsaris, ‘Is it quick?’ She replied, ‘Yeah, it’s really quick, and it’s not supposed to be painful at all.’ Jones nodded and told her, “Okay, do what you can to make it taste better.’ Larry Schacht had spent months perfecting the perfect blend of Flavor Aid, tranquilizers, and potassium cyanide. Even at this last moment, Jones expected his faithful physician-chemist to tinker with the mix just a little more…” - Jeff Guinn, The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple Before reading Jeff Guinn’s The Road to Jonestown, everything I knew about Jim Jones could be summed up in a sentence: Crazy guy who drank the Kool-Aid. For a long time, I figured that’s all I needed to know. There did not seem to be any pressing need to further explore a selfish wacko who led a bunch of enthralled followers to the jungles of Guyana, and then ordered an act of mass suicide that killed over nine-hundred people, including children. Turns out, there is a lot more to this story than I ever could have imagined. For one, the members of the Peoples Temple who killed themselves – or were forced to kill themselves – on November 18, 1978, drank Flavor Aid mixed with cyanide, not Kool-Aid, which was more expensive. Thus, the phrase that entered the cultural lexicon following Jones’s death is actually a misnomer (and has probably infuriated Kraft Heinz executives ever since). For another, while Jim Jones was – in layman’s term – a first-class nut, he was also a complicated figure. Indeed, his early life was devoted to the seemingly genuine and passionate pursuit of racial equality. In other words, up to a certain point, Jim Jones might have been remembered as a minor civil rights hero, a man who took religious fervor and pointed it towards practical concerns, a zealous embodiment of James 2:26. Somewhere along the line, though, something within Jones changed, and changed drastically. That Guinn – who is staking a reputation as a sturdy biographer of famed criminals such as Clyde Barrow and Charles Manson – is unable to explain the reason for this evolution is not surprising. Such an understanding is likely impossible. It is enough that Guinn is able to trace Jones’s rise, fall, and spectacularly gruesome flameout with methodical precision and sober objectivity. The Road to Jonestown is a book that is short on literary flourishes. Other than the prologue, which begins at the end, with the Guyanese Defense Forces finding the corpses at Jonestown, Guinn hews to a traditionally structured chronological narrative. Dividing the biography into three big sections, Guinn starts with Jones’s early life and ministry in Indiana (where his fledgling, fully integrated church played a role in desegregating Indianapolis), follows him and his church to a conservative bastion in California (where Jones convinced his followers they could survive a nuclear attack), and finally takes us to Jonestown, where a paranoid and amphetamine-addled Jones felt the walls closing in (he was involved in a fierce custody battle, and was the target of ambitious, limelight-loving Congressman Leo Ryan). There are occasional thematic chapters, where Guinn will discuss a certain topic, such as Jones’s sexual proclivities or his family life. But for the most part, this is a really straightforward book. Guinn’s right-down-the-middle approach suits this material perfectly. Life does not operate according to objective, clear-eyed logic. People, being what they are, make decisions and take actions that really don’t make much sense from the outside looking in. With that said, most events have some sort of internal logic, at least to those involved, and Guinn does a really good job of trying to find the lines of reasoning that led ordinary people to Jones, and Jones to his destruction. This is a tale filled with wild, unbelievable twists, and Guinn allows them to unfold without sensationalism or judgment. It is a testament to his abilities and research that he is able to show Jones in all possible lights. At the beginning of his career, Jones seems like a really likeable individual. Even as he accrued power (and lots of money, funneled to offshore accounts), he still held true to certain core beliefs about equality and justice. It is only late in the story that Jones becomes an unsolvable riddle, driven by incomprehensible motivations. Guinn – rightly, I think – does not spend any time speculating what was going on behind Jones’s dark glasses. He simply lets the story unspool, and its inherent force propels the book forward. *** Cults hold a sort of dread fascination. When we hear or read about Heaven’s Gate, the Branch Davidians, or the Peoples Temple, we think: What is wrong with these folks? It is easy to dismiss cult leaders as charlatans or worse, and the followers as fools at best. Here, Guinn leaves it to you to draw your own conclusions, though he maintains a respectfully sympathetic posture that demonstrates his understanding that our world is a flawed and tangled place, where it is easy to get lost or go wrong and end up in destinations you did not plan. *** Though Guinn does not go there, I spent some time upon finishing The Road to Jonestown thinking about the person who would be attracted to an organization such as the Peoples Temple, which promises much and demands much more. The pathologies involved are intertwined and difficult to unravel. There is usually a charismatic leader at the head of things, a Jim Jones or David Koresh who is able to use his magnetism to get others to do as they say, though not as they do. Some sort of persecution complex is also often at play, giving the group the feeling they have been singled out by authorities. At some level, too, there is actual faith from true believers. Combine these elements and you have a strong force to make people feel like they belong. All of us search in some way for meaning in life. A place like the Peoples Temple created meaning. It gave people a mission, a task to achieve. It required sacrifices, but gave positive reinforcement in return. If you wanted purpose, if you were lonely, if you wanted to get off the grid, if you disagreed with late-stage capitalism or distant wars or racist systems, then the Peoples Temple had something to offer. Some followers left, sickened by Jones’s hypocrisy, by his crimes, by the church’s sometimes violently coercive techniques. Many more, however, stayed, and they stayed right to the last bitter swallow, absolutely certain that the path they’d chosen was better than the lives they left. Guinn expertly lays out this mystery, and rightly makes no real effort to solve it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Esil

    The Road to Jonestown was fascinating -- and depressing. I listened to the audio. The author, Jeff Guinn, did a great job of tracing Jim Jones' history and the events leading up to the mass suicide in Jonestown. It's a good study of the making of a narcissistic paranoid megalomaniac. It's still hard for me to understand how Jones attracted and kept his many followers, but I feel that I get it a bit more. Jones had a great need for approval and adulation, and he seemed to be able to zero in on pe The Road to Jonestown was fascinating -- and depressing. I listened to the audio. The author, Jeff Guinn, did a great job of tracing Jim Jones' history and the events leading up to the mass suicide in Jonestown. It's a good study of the making of a narcissistic paranoid megalomaniac. It's still hard for me to understand how Jones attracted and kept his many followers, but I feel that I get it a bit more. Jones had a great need for approval and adulation, and he seemed to be able to zero in on people who were vulnerable -- whether psychologically or materially. While Jones' relationship with his followers was ripe for many abuses -- including his ultimate abuse at the end -- it is clear that many people were drawn to Jones' message that he was their true protector against a world intent on hurting them. Guinn also manages to be fair in his portrayal, showing how Jones started off with decent ideas about racial and economic equality, but how his insatiable appetite for adulation and power combined with his paranoia overtook anything good in The People's Temple. It may be hard for some to read given that we all know what happens at the end, but I certainly found it worth the time. While the outcome in Jonestown is off the charts, this is not a unique example of people blindly following a demented leader. It's worth trying to understand how that can happen. For those who like audiobooks, it's worth noting that the audio version is also well read.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    The beginning chapters of this bio were a little unilluminating except for the odd habit that the child Jim Jones had of conducting animal funerals, which he made other smaller children than himself attend. He did not kill these animals, apparently he just found them. There was one instance that went beyond this, a childhood playmate said he lured a puppy to its death through a door in the floor onto the concrete below. He also venerated Hitler and his goose steppers, unlike the other boys in hi The beginning chapters of this bio were a little unilluminating except for the odd habit that the child Jim Jones had of conducting animal funerals, which he made other smaller children than himself attend. He did not kill these animals, apparently he just found them. There was one instance that went beyond this, a childhood playmate said he lured a puppy to its death through a door in the floor onto the concrete below. He also venerated Hitler and his goose steppers, unlike the other boys in his town who wanted to be like the U.S. soldiers and generals of World War 2. He forced littler boys to goose step around and if they did it not do it to his liking, he whipped them. This got him into trouble with their parents. Only these incidents shed a light on the monster to come. At first, Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple followers were outstanding examples of racial equality and true goodness as they sincerely fed and clothed the poor and disenfranchised. They also took care of the elderly, in homes set up by the church which took no payment if you were indigent. He helped poor people along with his wife Marceline to wade through mountains of red tape to help them sign up for disability or welfare. He helped people get jobs and housing and worked to make life better, for his followers and the community. If he had been killed or died when he still lived in Indiana, everyone would have celebrated his life. But he moved to California and became more and more greedy and powerful. He wasn't content with what he or the church members were doing. He began to berate and physically and mentally abuse his people. There was also drug abuse and sexual abuse by him of his members, women and men, and in at least one case, an underage girl. The book became more and more enthralling as the author got closer to Jones' complete corruption. Other items that fascinated me in the book and that I never knew before was Jones' connection to the San Francisco political scene. He knew Mayor George Moscone and Harvey Milk and they came to his church services. They wanted to get the support of Jones and his church, because Jones and the Peoples Temple were influential in the black community and could get out the vote, by literally driving their church buses around to take people to the poles. A great book, it opened my eyes to much that I didn't know and revealed a gray area in that probably most of his followers took the poison voluntarily. They really believed in him. He could have been so much more than he settled for, a mass murderer and a liar and a thief.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    So I've always sort of had a grim fascination with cults & extreme religious groups. It's one of humanity's most despicable tendencies, but it's incredibly interesting to me to see how groups of otherwise intelligent people become entrapped in factions like this that are so easy to condemn in hindsight. This story in particular held my attention because: 1. Many folks I know were actually alive when the tragedy of Jim Jones & Peoples Temple came about, as it happened in the late 70's. This makes t So I've always sort of had a grim fascination with cults & extreme religious groups. It's one of humanity's most despicable tendencies, but it's incredibly interesting to me to see how groups of otherwise intelligent people become entrapped in factions like this that are so easy to condemn in hindsight. This story in particular held my attention because: 1. Many folks I know were actually alive when the tragedy of Jim Jones & Peoples Temple came about, as it happened in the late 70's. This makes the story feel very relevant. 2. Until I stumbled across this book, I was under the impression that Jones himself was a religious zealot & that his cult was formed wholly around a religious purpose. Upon finishing, I see that this cult was actually formed upon a basis of social change, but under a religious guise. Jim Jones is well known for performing his "miracles," calling himself a reincarnation of God, etc., but for some reason I had never really heard that the driving force behind his organization was actually Socialism. But while Jones was impressed with the aspects of a Socialist society that brought equal wealth & opportunity to all, it's not accurate to say that he successfully represented the ideals he preached. For example, author Jeff Guinn notes that Jones' ideology specifically sought to alleviate the plight of African-Americans, but the social structure of his temple never empowered members of his African-American congregation. Guinn does an excellent job taking readers through the life of Jones from his early childhood up to the events at the end of his life that made him infamous, noting the aspects of his upbringing & personality that created the perfect combination for a successful, manipulative leader. The story of Jones' life is pieced together in a way that makes it clear how his web of influence slowly grew into an intimidating & unquestionable force that lured so many to their deaths. It's frightening to hear the snippets of testimony from survivors that are included in this biography. While many were devoted followers, still a notable number of folks who became entangled in Peoples Temple either began as dissenters or were privy to Jones' false performances. Some cited their reason for staying involved as having hope that Jones would really bring about social change, while others said that their gut instinct was overridden by the fact that so many other people they loved & respected were staying. It can't be wrong if all these other people feel it's right, right? And this is exactly why it's so important for us to teach children early in their lives to question everything, heed their own instincts, and know what it feels like to think for themselves. I'm not necessarily saying that none of the members of Peoples Temple were capable of those things. Tons of people throughout the history of human existence have fallen in behind dictators & religious leaders who have ultimately led them awry, and it's a foolish notion to believe you are not capable of falling into the same trap. But if there's anything to be taken from reading this story & others like it, it's the importance of familiarizing ourselves with what these situations look like & feel like. Recognizing the warning signs is one of the first defense mechanisms available when faced with a master manipulator. When people are able to confidently trust their own judgement, they become a lot more difficult to manipulate. When the next Jim Jones begins to gather followers, prior exposure to the concepts & tactics used by previous leaders could make all the difference. This is an eye-opening & comprehensive biography, written in a logical & approachable way. I recommend it for anyone & everyone who reads.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    "No one listening, even those who were the most devoted to him, could take it all in. But at some point each follower heard something that reaffirmed his or her personal reason for belonging to Peoples Temple, and for believing in Jim Jones. As Jonestown historian Fielding McGehee observes, "What you thought Jim said depended on who you were."" The comprehensive and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones - who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre that saw the death of 900+ people in a huge mass "No one listening, even those who were the most devoted to him, could take it all in. But at some point each follower heard something that reaffirmed his or her personal reason for belonging to Peoples Temple, and for believing in Jim Jones. As Jonestown historian Fielding McGehee observes, "What you thought Jim said depended on who you were."" The comprehensive and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones - who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre that saw the death of 900+ people in a huge mass-suicide. Incredibly well-researched and well-written, The Road to Jonestown provides a chronological timeline from Jim Jones' childhood to the final days of his life in Jonestown, Guyana. If you're interested in the ENTIRE story behind the creation and expansion of the Peoples Temple I would highly recommend this. The level of detail is fascinating, it really gave me the insight and scope that I was looking for, although this is perhaps not what everyone is looking for. I was really fascinated with those sections that detailed the beginning of the Peoples Temple - it's almost difficult to grasp the good these people tried to do, and the Temple really did appear to have the best intentions at the beginning. It's sad to know how it all turns out. Some parts were really shocking for me as well - I thought I knew a lot about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, but I was constantly finding out little tidbits that I hadn't heard before, such as Jim's control over the members in terms of their sex lives and the fact that he could pretty much decide who he wanted to sleep with, and these members were more than happy to let their wives sleep with Jones. WTF!! The control this man had was truly mind-blowing. He was so incredibly egotistical, paranoid and power-hungry, so it was only a matter of time before this cocktail became destructive. Perhaps a tad long, but I was never bored and the narrator for the audiobook was fantastic. Highly recommended to all those with an interest in cults! 4 stars.

  8. 4 out of 5

    abby

    This book is mostly composed of what I can only describe as administrative details of Jim Jones's People Temple. Pages and pages and pages of unimportant, forgettable detail. The move to Jonestown, where 900 Americans would meet their tragic end in the Guyanese jungle at the orders of their cult leader, doesn't even happen until 350 pages into the book. The murder/suicide itself gets crammed into about 3 paragraphs. I don't understand why this author chose to prioritize the irrelevant and gloss This book is mostly composed of what I can only describe as administrative details of Jim Jones's People Temple. Pages and pages and pages of unimportant, forgettable detail. The move to Jonestown, where 900 Americans would meet their tragic end in the Guyanese jungle at the orders of their cult leader, doesn't even happen until 350 pages into the book. The murder/suicide itself gets crammed into about 3 paragraphs. I don't understand why this author chose to prioritize the irrelevant and gloss over the significant. I would not recommend this. I gave this book 2 stars-- the third star is for me for slogging through this (my husband got me this as a Christmas present, so I was more or less contractually obligated).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Myrna

    Won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. After I received it, I met the author at the San Antonio Book Festival and got my book signed!!!! In The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People's Temple, the author does a good job describing Jim Jones and the events that lead up to the suicide-murder through extensive research and interviews. I remember hearing about it on the car radio (when I was a youngen) yet not truly understanding the horrendous act until many years later. If you want to lea Won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. After I received it, I met the author at the San Antonio Book Festival and got my book signed!!!! In The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the People's Temple, the author does a good job describing Jim Jones and the events that lead up to the suicide-murder through extensive research and interviews. I remember hearing about it on the car radio (when I was a youngen) yet not truly understanding the horrendous act until many years later. If you want to learn new details as I did or want know the story behind Jones and Jonestown, this is the book to read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    The Road to Jonestown- Jim Jones and Peoples Temple is among the best comprehensive and authoritative books written covering the Jonestown massacre that claimed the lives of 918 people in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978. Author Jeff Guinn began his extensive research in 2014, and studied the fascinating story behind the grim and sensational media reports and headlines. There are thousands of documents and photographs contained in government archives on Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple The Road to Jonestown- Jim Jones and Peoples Temple is among the best comprehensive and authoritative books written covering the Jonestown massacre that claimed the lives of 918 people in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978. Author Jeff Guinn began his extensive research in 2014, and studied the fascinating story behind the grim and sensational media reports and headlines. There are thousands of documents and photographs contained in government archives on Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, interviews with survivors and those associated including spouses, relatives, friends and others who shared valuable insight related to the tragedy: as a shocking truthful biographical portrait emerged of the Reverend James Warren Jones (1931-78). The birth of Jim Jones (JJ) wasn’t welcomed or celebrated; his mother Lynetta Putnam (1902-77) was profoundly disappointed with her third marriage to James Thurman Jones (1887-1951), a disabled WWI veteran. Though Lynetta believed her son would one day be a great man, she had no maternal instinct, remaining indifferent and detached from the growth and development of her only child. JJ learned from an early age to get the attention and acceptance he needed from sympathetic neighbors and relatives who often took him to church: there he would learn tactics to influence and manipulate others to ease his fragile ego and self-esteem. As a young man, JJ studied the writing of Marx, Stalin, and Hitler-- also Mahatma Gandhi. Once affiliated with the Communist party, his ideology was based on racial equality, economic and social justice; religion was used as a means to promote his agenda through the pulpit. Marceline (Baldwin) Jones (m.1949-78) was stunned to learn JJ views on the Biblical gospel, and nearly divorced him. The desire to improve the world through socialism was more important and attainable; she would always support this vision. The couple had one biological son, would be the first white family to adopt a black child, and added several mixed race children to their “Rainbow Family”. Ronnie, their first foster child, protested adoption by Jones, demanding to be returned to his mother instead. In 1965, JJ relocated Peoples Temple to Ukiah, CA. leaving the racially intolerant culture in Indiana; he also had an irrational fear of nuclear war. At the Redwood Valley location, the Temple reached the highest level of popularity and power, attracting followers from every walk of life. Members lived communally, pooling income and resources, caring for the sick, disabled, young and elderly in church sponsored homes. Social services of food banks, thrift stores, farming catered to the community and needs of the poor. JJ allegedly healed the sick and cast out demons, in dramatic charismatic services of loud singing and praise, preaching at the pulpit in dark glasses and long flowing robes. Underneath it all, there were highly disturbing things that were profoundly wrong with JJ, which Guinn discussed in a surprising non-judgmental manner. Most of the shocking aspects related to his conduct and behavior remained unknown to general membership. By 1974, Peoples Temple had expanded to San Francisco, busloads of Temple members arrived at various political rallies, officials were elected that supported socialist causes and tolerance for racially diverse and LGBT populations. In 1976, additional concerns/problems involving Jones/Peoples Temple surfaced; leading to official investigations. Relatives of some Temple members were also greatly distressed that their loved ones were being held against their will, after JJ suddenly moved the majority of his followers to Jonestown. In a documentary narrative it was said that historians will need to examine and re-examine the tragedy of Jonestown throughout time. Visiting the site where Jonestown once stood was the most disturbing and difficult things Guinn had ever done. Following the massacre, the jungle reclaimed the haunted ground—it happened quickly, a simple memorial marker was placed at the site in honor of those so tragically lost. ~ Many thanks to Simon and Schuster via NetGalley for the direct digital copy for the purpose of review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    "Her fear was that a mass suicide would not be appreciated as a sincere and historic statement: 'I know we can't worry about how [what we do] will be interpreted... maybe in some 50 years someone will understand and perhaps be motivated. I don't have much illusion about all that. I just hate to see it all go for naught.' - Carolyn Layton, Peoples Temple member, and mother of one of Jim Jones' children Jeff Guinn lays everything out in The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple - he re "Her fear was that a mass suicide would not be appreciated as a sincere and historic statement: 'I know we can't worry about how [what we do] will be interpreted... maybe in some 50 years someone will understand and perhaps be motivated. I don't have much illusion about all that. I just hate to see it all go for naught.' - Carolyn Layton, Peoples Temple member, and mother of one of Jim Jones' children Jeff Guinn lays everything out in The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple - he retraces the earliest days, Jones' childhood in rural Indiana, and catapults towards the last day in November 1978. The story is riveting - perhaps because we all know the ending and we are so curious how something could go so wayward and catastrophically wrong - and part because Guinn's research is so in-depth. He uses a multitude of sources: interviews with survivors and defectors, extensive records of the "church" (I hesitate to even call it that), and Jones' own rambling words - he recorded many sermons/diatribes and didn't hold anything back. I knew the basics of the END of the story - but this book pays special attention to show the lives and the work of the Peoples Temple well before it turned into Jones' own megalomaniac playground. A few things that I had no idea about, and now I know, thanks to this book: - Peoples Temple helped hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with their social programs. Elder care, substance abuse rehab, lowering recidivism in urban areas, paying college tuition, alleviating hunger, providing housing/clothing to whomever asked... even digging a well and fixing septic tanks. These things are undeniable... however things really started to go south when Jones later demanded that members cash out their pensions, their retirements, and give all of their Social Security/disability checks and 100% of their savings to the Temple. Forget tithing - this was hundredthing. - Not a surprise, but Jones was on drugs for about a decade of his life. His signature dark sunglasses protected his incredibly bloodshot and sensitive eyes, although he claimed he needed to wear them to save other people from his laser vision. - He was a charlatan and huckster from an early age. He continued this racket for years, claiming he could heal and bring people back from the dead. A favorite and often-used trick: chicken offal as "passed" cancerous tumors, produced by his planted members during healing services. Blech. - As I mentioned before, I knew the end of the story, but I didn't know all of the things that lead up to the final event, specifically the involvement of Congressman Ryan and the media entorage. We get a play-by-play, and while Guinn is respectful in his writing, it is hard to read the details of those last few hours at Jonestown. Guinn includes a sum up chapter with several updates and check-ins with people he has introduced over the book. I was surprised, however, that he didn't include a followup of Congresswoman Jackie Speier. As a survivor of the massacre (but not a member of the Peoples Temple), she has a very unique story to tell - and she shares some of it in this article, Congresswoman Left for Dead at Jonestown Recalls the Massacre, 37 Years Later but Guinn does not list her among the interviews, or provide any update on this elected official from the state of California. Curious that there wouldn't be a quote or even an interview in this book from an incumbent member of the US House of Representatives who has shared her story in other sources. Why not here in this new authoritative text? One of the last sentences of the book struck me, shared by Jim Jones Jr., one of the surviving sons of Jim and Marceline Jones: 'Kool-Aid rather than equality is what the rest of the world remembers. The survivors are left to console themselves...' Jim Jones Jr. sighs, smiles, and concludes, 'What I'd say about Peoples Temple is, we failed, but damn, we tried.' That quote stood out, in contrast to the first I shared, at the beginning of the post - "it all go for naught" to "Kool-Aid". Highly recommended. Set some time aside, as you'll have a hard time putting this one down.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Char

    What a sad, sad, story. Even while I was listening, I was hoping for a different ending. Jeff Guinn is an excellent author of true crime. He is somehow able to relate the facts of the story without passing judgement. In this case, I learned a lot. The Peoples Church, (no apostrophe!), did a lot of work in the area of desegregation. Jim Jones and his wife even adopted a black child. In fact, they did a lot of good works together, for the elderly and for the members of their church. But as so ofte What a sad, sad, story. Even while I was listening, I was hoping for a different ending. Jeff Guinn is an excellent author of true crime. He is somehow able to relate the facts of the story without passing judgement. In this case, I learned a lot. The Peoples Church, (no apostrophe!), did a lot of work in the area of desegregation. Jim Jones and his wife even adopted a black child. In fact, they did a lot of good works together, for the elderly and for the members of their church. But as so often happens, absolute power corrupts and all that. Jim ran his church with an iron fist. He slept with many partners and somehow made it so that it was okay within his church. He began to do drugs-a lot of drugs. There was corporal punishment for those who did not follow the rules. He began to become paranoid and unbearable to be around, at times. Follow this to the end that we all knew was coming. I didn't realize how many people were involved in this mass suicide/mass murder, but I know now it was over 900. I say mass murder because children, (children!), were killed by having a syringe full of poisoned flavor-aide shot down their throats. It's one thing when your twisted beliefs cause you to kill yourself, it's another thing entirely to kill infants and children. It's just such a waste of life. Despite my attempts, I will never understand this mentality. I'm fascinated with it, I admit, but I can't understand it. Perhaps, it's just not understandable? It's certainly not sane. If you want to learn more about the Peoples Church and Jim Jones, then I highly recommend this book. I listened to it on audio, narrated by George Newbern and he was excellent. *I downloaded this audio-book from my library for free. Libraries RULE!*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Diane in Australia

    Jim Jones. Peoples Temple. Jonestown. Names that make shivers run up our spines. I've read many books on Jim, but this one stands out for being very 'facts' dense ... very. If you want to know the 'back story' to Jim, this is the one to read. There are 31 pages of end notes! Jim was a man who started out with a burning passion to help the oppressed, needy folks that filled ghettos in places like Indianapolis, where his first church began. Peoples Temple was the church where you could 'get somethin Jim Jones. Peoples Temple. Jonestown. Names that make shivers run up our spines. I've read many books on Jim, but this one stands out for being very 'facts' dense ... very. If you want to know the 'back story' to Jim, this is the one to read. There are 31 pages of end notes! Jim was a man who started out with a burning passion to help the oppressed, needy folks that filled ghettos in places like Indianapolis, where his first church began. Peoples Temple was the church where you could 'get something now'. They delivered on that motto, too. They didn't just 'talk' about doing good, they got out there in the communities and DID good. They put poor kids through community college, drug addicts were helped to dry out and given jobs, uneducated folks were helped through the maze of governmental paperwork, sewer lines were dug up and fixed, food/clothing was given to all who asked, elderly folks were lovingly cared for in quality homes, desegregation was actively promoted in all areas of life, and MUCH more. The author said, "What you would get in Jim Jones' church, no matter who you were, no matter what you'd done, was respect." As always, when reading about Jonestown, I want to weep buckets over the loss of people with hearts of gold who tried so hard to make a difference in this often unfair, unjust world. Pity that Jim's ability to do good was lost to this world in the dark haze of an unstable mind. Pity that so many willingly followed him to their tragic end. But it was barbaric that so many INNOCENT children were shepherded down that same path to the same tragic end. Jim Jones Jr in an interview with Oprah: "I'm part of an organization that tried to build a new world," he says. "Nine hundred people died, and I miss them every day. But I also recognize that they tried. They tried something—they failed horrifically—but they tried....." "I have to say that it is weird to find out the background of things that I grew up hearing about around the dinner table. The level of research and detail in The Road to Jonestown is the best ever, and really lets readers understand not only what happened, but how and why. This book tells the Jim Jones story better than anything I have read to date." -- Jim Jones, Jr. By the way, if you find yourself laughing at the phrase "Don't drink the Kool-Aid" ... STOP ... STOP NOW. Show some respect for the loss of so many good-hearted folks. Jonestown always rips my heart out, shreds it, and leaves me in distress. 5 Stars = It made a significant impact. I won't forget it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ✨Bean's Books✨

    Well done... This is a biography on Rev. Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple. The Temple's mass suicide in 1978 in South America hit world news and is known throughout the world as one of the most tragic instances in history. I'd like to say that this book was a hard one to read due to the subject matter. However, I believe that because of the way it is written it made it a much easier pill to swallow. This book is written as a biography not as a run of the mill true crime novel. There is nearly no p Well done... This is a biography on Rev. Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple. The Temple's mass suicide in 1978 in South America hit world news and is known throughout the world as one of the most tragic instances in history. I'd like to say that this book was a hard one to read due to the subject matter. However, I believe that because of the way it is written it made it a much easier pill to swallow. This book is written as a biography not as a run of the mill true crime novel. There is nearly no police procedure and/or police jargon in this book. It is all written in a very straight forward manner but as if the author were telling the reader a story. The story of Jim Jones is presented to the reader starting with his parents and ending with the aftermath of his death. The facts are presented to the reader in a non-biased way although the author does sprinkle in his opinion from time to time throughout the book. But for the most part, the way this book is written allows the reader to come to their own conclusions about the case and about Jones himself. Throughout this book different newspaper and magazine articles as well as websites are mentioned. In looking up these sources myself while reading this book, I found that the information there is factual and complete damn near to the letter. I was most pleasantly surprised. This author definitely did his homework on this subject and it shows. BRAVO! In this book the author doesn't just describe Jim Jones but also the times, places and people that he touched throughout his life whether for the good or the bad. He is able to describe to the reader and make you aware of Jim Jones's surroundings throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s and to paint a picture for the reader of the world that Jim Jones lived in. The ending was heart wrenching. Even though we all may know what happened, reading about it in such vivid detail really brings it that much more to life. The author does a very good job with this. There is also an insert booklet accompanying the text of this book with black and white pictures not only of Jim Jones and his family but of the crime scene itself in 1978, which apparently no longer exists today. In summary, this is a great book with a lot of very incredible information that I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in the subject.

  15. 4 out of 5

    LeAnne: GeezerMom

    Let me toss out a hypothetical here. Let's say the US has been embroiled in an unpopular overseas war for some time. At home, the urban poor are having trouble finding decent wages. Politicians are in constant badgering disagreement. Police brutality toward people of color is troublesome. There are major concerns about Russia's intentions toward our country. A young minister is down at his heels financially, but because he believes firmly in racial equality, he and his wife adopt children of diff Let me toss out a hypothetical here. Let's say the US has been embroiled in an unpopular overseas war for some time. At home, the urban poor are having trouble finding decent wages. Politicians are in constant badgering disagreement. Police brutality toward people of color is troublesome. There are major concerns about Russia's intentions toward our country. A young minister is down at his heels financially, but because he believes firmly in racial equality, he and his wife adopt children of different ethnicity. He starts doing inner city outreach in his ministry, but instead of preaching patience and looking toward rewards in the afterlife, this bright charismatic fellow says that believers should not wait on heaven - that they should empower themselves to move up and to also help their fellow man. His sermons are slightly less about belief than they are about social mores - getting healthcare to all. Seeing that the elderly are well cared for. That kind of thing. Believe it or not, Jim Jones the cult leader was this man when he first started out in the early 60s. While the people who attended his church meetings were merely good hearted, except for a handful of close followers, none of them realized he was talking about socialism. He moved his church out west and started attracting more of the liberally minded social activists. White kids from California who had probably never sat down next to a person of color before nor had ever gone hungry were drawn to his integrated church meetings. Collection plates were passed just as they are in all churches, but the funds went directly to purchasing food or medicine for downtrodden inner city residents. These affluent kids started proudly working all hours of the day to benefit their fellow man, and with their help, the temple was able to put poor kids through community college. Well educated church members, many social workers themselves, started doing the paperwork to get poor families signed up on welfare, feeding anybody who is hungry, repairing the sewer lines of people who could not afford to pay a plumber. The Temple hired many who could not find work, giving them dignity. Old folks were being nicely taken care of in houses that Jones purchased while his Peoples Temple was paid by Medicare and Social Security. Drug addicts were helped to dry out and later given jobs. Black and white single people without families moved close to the church in homes purchased by Peoples Temple, sleeping several to a room. There was no place here for cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs. Everybody was equal. Nobody went hungry. Everybody worked for the good of all. Jim Jones wore the same few sets of hand-me-down clothes that others did. His wife drove the ancient stationwagon inherited from her parents just to drive their kids around. Basically, if you know anybody who has gone on one of those mission trips somewhere so that A) they can help others who are in need but B) they end up feeling AWESOME about themselves for being a do-gooder, then BINGO! That is precisely what Jim Jones was selling. If you've ever wanted to help your fellow man, then you ought to not scoff at the people who ended up in his cult. Granted, one should disentangle oneself when things get weird, but herd mentality has led people to do worse. Yes, I do believe he was mentally ill in some sort of way - maybe narcissistic personality disorder or sociopathy? - but he didn't initially come across that way. I'm not saying he was a sweetheart. His immense popularity had little stabs of the despicable at the outset - one way he initially raised money was at tent revivals where he would eavesdrop on crowd conversations before the show, then "read minds" while he was up there preaching. He would heal people (plants of his) in the audience of cancer by laying on hands and then having them taken to a rest room where they would "pass" the illness. They'd come out of the john holding a big ball of nasty gunk in their handkerchiefs and pass it off as a cancerous tumor (it was days' old chicken guts). The rest of the mesmerizing story in this book is what you might expect. His megalomania grew as his popularity did. Needing more funds to do good works, he got people to sign over their clothes and cars so that they could be sold. When his wife had severe back problems that made marital relations impossible, God conveniently told him to get jiggy with a young woman from the church. Jim NEEDED the release of sex in order to focus, so his wife just had to understand. And she did. The money and sex and power escalated. He became addicted to drugs and started to think of himself as not just godly, but God. Jones had always been fixated on the Cold War and came across a magazine article which listed the spots on earth which might be spared nuclear fallout should nukes start raining down. He had chosen to move his church to a spot in California which was deemed safe, but he wanted a larger spot in central America to truly keep his people from being nuked. This is how he ended up moving his cult south. The details of his spiraling madness are only jaw dropping because of the well educated, bright do-gooders who continued down that path with him. Some were murdered, but many willingly died. They didn't snap from sane, logical types to slathering cult devotees in one fell swoop - they were drawn in slowly, the proverbial frog in the pot of warming water. My takeaway here is to really look carefully at civic leaders or men of religion or politicians. People like Jim Jones had something good to sell during a time period when people were emotionally in the market. Hitler surely started out in a similar vein, peddling dignity back to a country that had been economically decimated by war. I believe that most people are good at heart and dream of positive things for this world - we just need to be careful from whom we decide to buy those dreams.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN By Jeff Guinn Having read many of the available books about Jonestown throughout the years since it happened, I didn't think that there was a whole lot more to be said on the subject. But I also figured that since it's been a number of years since I've done the reading, that this book would be a great refresher on the topic. Well, it was that, but also a heck of a lot more. Guinn's book is a skilled, in-depth look at James Warren Jones, from his birth on May 13, 1931 and lon THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN By Jeff Guinn Having read many of the available books about Jonestown throughout the years since it happened, I didn't think that there was a whole lot more to be said on the subject. But I also figured that since it's been a number of years since I've done the reading, that this book would be a great refresher on the topic. Well, it was that, but also a heck of a lot more. Guinn's book is a skilled, in-depth look at James Warren Jones, from his birth on May 13, 1931 and lonely childhood, to his death surrounded by his hundreds of followers in Jonestown, Guyana on November 18, 1978 when he was 47 years old. I found that there was just so much more to discover about him, and his wife Marceline and how the Peoples Temple came about. and grew The book explains Jones' need to control his followers in as many ways as he was able to, and how he used his control to rake over their whole lives until they lived just for him, calling him "Father". I found that there were far more good things about his group and what they did in the name of socialism, than I had realized before. But that there was also much more nefarious and dark about other things that went on at Jones' direction too, right up to the final order for them all to die. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in this cult group in the hopes that it may be learned from, and never repeated.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    The Road to Jonestown is a comprehensive look into the life of Jim Jones and the events that led to the deaths of 900+ people in the jungle of Guyana. Growing up in a dysfunctional family in a religious community formed the foundation for the rest of Jones's life.  He found socialism in his teens and soon found a way to spread his message with religion. Without giving you a book report, I'll just say that this book is incredibly detailed and shows readers the gradual shift Jones made in his preach The Road to Jonestown is a comprehensive look into the life of Jim Jones and the events that led to the deaths of 900+ people in the jungle of Guyana. Growing up in a dysfunctional family in a religious community formed the foundation for the rest of Jones's life.  He found socialism in his teens and soon found a way to spread his message with religion. Without giving you a book report, I'll just say that this book is incredibly detailed and shows readers the gradual shift Jones made in his preaching to turn his congregation into devoted followers who wouldn't question his word.  The members of Peoples Temple went from simple church services to communal living, handing over their paychecks and social security to "the cause", in an effort to feed and clothe the less fortunate.  In return, their every need was taken care of by the church. Ultimately, the most fascinating aspect for me personally is a topic we return to several times throughout the progression of the book: "One major source of contention remains, and they debate it among themselves, or with interviewers who they hope might offer some fresh perspective: Was Jim Jones always bad, or was he gradually corrupted by a combination of ambition, drugs, and hubris? There is no definitive answers: Jones was a complicated man who rarely revealed all of his often contradictory dimensions to anyone." What was it about Jim Jones that motivated 900+ people to leave behind their lives in America for the jungle of Guyana and eventually take their own lives?   This book offers chilling insight into Jones's passionate beliefs and eventual decline into complete and total paranoia that led to the heartbreaking mass suicide and complex government investigation. I highly recommend The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple to readers who enjoy American history and true crime. For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    If you became aware of a man who had no racial bias, took care of the poor by offering free meals, job placement, day care, drug rehabilitation, and nursing home care, you would be in awe of such an individual. But you would be wrong if his name was Jim Jones. In November, 1978, the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana (formerly British Guyana), South America, shocked the world and revealed Jones for what he was...a drug addled psychopath who held hundreds in thrall of his message and his paranoia that If you became aware of a man who had no racial bias, took care of the poor by offering free meals, job placement, day care, drug rehabilitation, and nursing home care, you would be in awe of such an individual. But you would be wrong if his name was Jim Jones. In November, 1978, the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana (formerly British Guyana), South America, shocked the world and revealed Jones for what he was...a drug addled psychopath who held hundreds in thrall of his message and his paranoia that the government was determined to destroy his followers of the Peoples Temple. It is almost beyond belief that people could follow a man who gradually took over their lives and their property and moved them to the wild jungles of Guyana to establish a self supporting community called Jonestown. We are reminded of Adolph Hitler who had the same charisma and whose speeches were studied by Jones to assist him in building his image. The story follows Jones from childhood, which was rather tumultuous, through his early years as an evangelist, preaching the gospel and "healing" the afflicted. As he attracted more and more acolytes, his message morphed into one in which he was God and his followers were his children who must obey his every wish. He was the expert con man. Starting as an offshoot-type denomination, the Peoples Temple soon became a group with which to be reckoned and some of the members, including Jones, were appointed to political positions in California and acquaintances of political leaders. But the worst was yet to come and 918 men, women, and children, including a US House of Representative member who was visiting Jonestown for investigative purposes would die. The author has done amazing research on Jim Jones and interviewed many of the former members of the Peoples Temple who were not in Jonestown at the time of the massacre.. He succeeds in capturing the atmosphere that surrounded these people and why they continued to believe in Jones. It is a horror that is still studied and will always raise the question "How could this happen". I recommend this book highly but be warned, it is extremely disturbing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    I finished a book! Now I'm only 18 books behind schedule. Anyway this was good and I will try to write a review for it. I promise. Once I get completely settled and into a routine at work I will hopefully be back to being a reading machine. I finished a book! Now I'm only 18 books behind schedule. Anyway this was good and I will try to write a review for it. I promise. Once I get completely settled and into a routine at work I will hopefully be back to being a reading machine.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    This book is so masterfully written and researched and I don’t think you’ll find a better account of what happened in Jonestown anywhere. I’ve read other books about this tragedy but none had anywhere near the level of impeccable detail and insight that this one had. I loved that it started right at the beginning of Jim Jones life and the years leading up to the Peoples Temple and its slow progression from something that really did appear to have good intentions into something terrifyingly chill This book is so masterfully written and researched and I don’t think you’ll find a better account of what happened in Jonestown anywhere. I’ve read other books about this tragedy but none had anywhere near the level of impeccable detail and insight that this one had. I loved that it started right at the beginning of Jim Jones life and the years leading up to the Peoples Temple and its slow progression from something that really did appear to have good intentions into something terrifyingly chilling and the final terrible climax. The level of control that Jim Jones had over people is truly fascinating, the lengths he was able to get his followers to go to and then to finally follow him into death, it is just absolutely mind blowing.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carlos

    I am giving this book5 stars because of how it chose to handle its theme, with facts, well researched mentions and from all perspectives possible. The story of Jonestown is one we all think we know ....but how did we got there...how was one man able to "dupe" thousands of people into killing them selves? .... could this had been prevented? ....who was Jim jones and what did he want ? .....all of these questions are addressed by this author in this book and the narrative flows very smoothly...at I am giving this book5 stars because of how it chose to handle its theme, with facts, well researched mentions and from all perspectives possible. The story of Jonestown is one we all think we know ....but how did we got there...how was one man able to "dupe" thousands of people into killing them selves? .... could this had been prevented? ....who was Jim jones and what did he want ? .....all of these questions are addressed by this author in this book and the narrative flows very smoothly...at times you forget this book is essentially the last hours of thousands of people and that one man was responsible for all of it . Was Jim jones an evil person bent on taking as many down with him? ...or was he a person corrupted by personal ambition and influenced by his upbringing and made worse by his constant use of heavy drugs? ....Thousands of people chose to trust him .... this books attempts to answer the question that follows : WHY?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    This book was unsettling, to say the least. I'm old enough to remember the mass suicide of the religious cult in the jungle, and this book gives all the details, from Jones birth in Indiana, to his rise as a minister, and finally, his belief that he was a God and savior himself. How anyone in their right mind could follow this man, sign all their property over to him, and in a lot of cases, even their children, allow him to direct every aspect of their lives and give him total control; it's all This book was unsettling, to say the least. I'm old enough to remember the mass suicide of the religious cult in the jungle, and this book gives all the details, from Jones birth in Indiana, to his rise as a minister, and finally, his belief that he was a God and savior himself. How anyone in their right mind could follow this man, sign all their property over to him, and in a lot of cases, even their children, allow him to direct every aspect of their lives and give him total control; it's all just beyond my understanding. "Demagogues recruit by uniting a disenchanted element against an enemy, then promising to use religion or politics or a combination of the two to bring about rightful change. Those as gifted as Jim Jones use actual rather than imagined injustices as their initial lure--the racism and economic disparity in America that Jones cited were, and still are, real--then exaggerate the threat until followers lose any sense of perspective." "The Jonestown deaths quickly became renowned not as a grandly defiant revolutionary gesture, but as the ultimate example of human gullibility. " The book was worth reading just for those two statements alone.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alexa

    Meticulously researched and well drawn, this is a fascinating portrait of a cult leader and the cult, and it's tragic end. I went in knowing very little and was surprised to discover the Peoples Temple's roots as a social justice organization. Rightfully so Jonestown's legacy has boiled down to "horrific cult," and yet it's a bit sad that pop culture has missed the nuance of what really went down and how. Of course, I was playing "spot the sociopath/narcissist" and Jones is a fascinating figure. Meticulously researched and well drawn, this is a fascinating portrait of a cult leader and the cult, and it's tragic end. I went in knowing very little and was surprised to discover the Peoples Temple's roots as a social justice organization. Rightfully so Jonestown's legacy has boiled down to "horrific cult," and yet it's a bit sad that pop culture has missed the nuance of what really went down and how. Of course, I was playing "spot the sociopath/narcissist" and Jones is a fascinating figure. Not what I expected. The whole book is a solid case for communal narcissism--the worst I've ever seen. Weirdly, this makes a good companion read for anyone interested in the Chris Watts case. He and Jones have some behaviors in common (generally it's interesting to see such a narcissist evolve over the years--they really do seem relatively harmless when they are young but they start to crystallize and escalate in their 30s). I'd consider this a must-read for anyone interested in cults/cult leaders/narcissism. I decided to dive in after watching the NVIXM documentaries--I wanted something juicy and analytical about a famous cult, and it simply delivers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    I had no idea. I, like so many of us, knew the Jonestown "Massacre" from metaphorical references to Kool-Aid (which, this book is keen to point out was actually Flavor-Aid), and ... in some foggy memory from the eighties ... an episode of Phil Donahue. But I really knew nothing. The thing that strikes me most about Jeff Guinn's book about Peoples Temple and Jim Jones is how fair Guinn is with his subjects. Guinn is assiduous when pointing out the good Peoples Temple and Jones himself did for the I had no idea. I, like so many of us, knew the Jonestown "Massacre" from metaphorical references to Kool-Aid (which, this book is keen to point out was actually Flavor-Aid), and ... in some foggy memory from the eighties ... an episode of Phil Donahue. But I really knew nothing. The thing that strikes me most about Jeff Guinn's book about Peoples Temple and Jim Jones is how fair Guinn is with his subjects. Guinn is assiduous when pointing out the good Peoples Temple and Jones himself did for the people of Indiana, Northern California and San Francisco. He doesn't shy away from making Jones human. There is no move to make Jones a monster, and even when Jones' own behaviour becomes monstrous, Guinn is quick to remind us of all the good that was being done under Jones name at the same time. Messed up as Jim Jones was, you see (and a man who leads nearly a thousand people to mass suicide is a fucking mess), he actually cared about things beyond him. Oh yes, he was a selfish prick who philandered and snorted coke and swallowed copious amounts of pills and controlled everyone around him, but he was committed to racial equality, to caring for the downtrodden, to living a life that he felt cared about everyone, and Guinn makes sure we know that Jim Jones was not pure evil. I really dig this book for that. It is so easy to turn these moments into good vs. evil dialectics, but Jeff Guinn refused to do that, and his book is stronger for efforts. I don't like Jim Jones or what he did to his followers in Jonestown, Guyana, but I do understand what got him there, and I feel some empathy for the man -- far more empathy than I have ever felt for any other "cult" leader. Thank you, Jeff Guinn for getting me there. After the book was finished, I took a personal journey to the last hour of Peoples Temple as they killed themselves in Guyana. It isn't hard to find. I went to The Last Podcast on the Left episode 60-something to find the complete tape. I remember hearing it once before and being disgusted but entranced all the same. This time I was just sad. I wonder if maybe we need more sadness than anger in our world when terrible things happen because of people. Perhaps sadness can save us all? Maybe not.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Navi

    This was an eye-opening read all about the rise and fall of the Peoples Temple. I knew very little about this pseudo religious cult before picking this book up. After finishing, I now feel like I know way TOO much! The chapters are short which makes it a fast-paced read. Guinn's narrative will have you hooked and turning the pages. I highly recommend it to lovers of true crime. This was an eye-opening read all about the rise and fall of the Peoples Temple. I knew very little about this pseudo religious cult before picking this book up. After finishing, I now feel like I know way TOO much! The chapters are short which makes it a fast-paced read. Guinn's narrative will have you hooked and turning the pages. I highly recommend it to lovers of true crime.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lippart

    A very thorough and interesting look at this case, but feels a bit long and took me ages to get through.

  27. 4 out of 5

    owilkumowa

    Dear Mr. Guinn, do you fancy writing about a certain polish catholic sect which for years has heavily influenced the political scene and brought about current radical public mood? Please? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  28. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Monroe

    Don't drink the Kool-Aid! That reference is probably the most lasting thing to have come out of the Jonestown tragedy. I'm not sure how the Kool-Aid people feel about the fact that their product is now forever associated with mass suicide and used throughout the English-speaking world as an example of someone being brainwashed/totally deluded, but I have a feeling that, somewhere, a Kool-Aid employee curses every time they hear a person trot out the silly "all publicity is good publicity!" line. Don't drink the Kool-Aid! That reference is probably the most lasting thing to have come out of the Jonestown tragedy. I'm not sure how the Kool-Aid people feel about the fact that their product is now forever associated with mass suicide and used throughout the English-speaking world as an example of someone being brainwashed/totally deluded, but I have a feeling that, somewhere, a Kool-Aid employee curses every time they hear a person trot out the silly "all publicity is good publicity!" line. "Oh yeah? Jim Jones and Kool-Aid you idiot!" It's now totally common to hear the phrase used in a political context as well. Republicans used it on Democrats during Obama's first presidential campaign — it was often Sarah Palin's favorite go-to attack — and Democrats have probably used it on Republicans in the Trump era (although, seriously, have you heard what some of his supporters say? They've clearly been sipping something. Whether or not it's Kool-Aid is anyone's guess). Just imagine if Jones had slipped the poison into cans of Coca-Cola instead. The funny thing, though, is that "Don't drink the Kool-Aid" is so deeply a part of the popular lexicon that many, maybe most, of the people who use it today can't even trace back its origin (you think Sarah Palin knew? Hell no!) When "Don't drink the Kool-Aid" is used on Obama's most devoted supporters, clearly something has been lost on the road from Jonestown. Which brings me to "The Road to Jonestown". Before reading this, I knew only the basics about Jim Jones. Mainly, that we have his murderously deluded mind to thank for giving us the Kool-Aid line. But I didn't know much more than that. Jeff Guinn has put together a remarkably detailed, delightfully readable, account of who Jones was and what led him to commit mass suicide along with over 900 of his followers. From being enraptured by Hitler's speeches at an early age to attempting to emulate some of the crazier Pentecostal and other charismatic evangelists out there, Guinn makes it clear that Jones worked at honing his talents of manipulation for decades. This is also a compelling read because at parts you almost find yourself admiring, if not personally liking, Jim Jones. His disgust at racist elements in society and his desire to tear down racial barriers is clearly genuine and that's not to take away from what a sick freak the guy was. No one man is the devil. Even Hitler loved animals. I think the bigger question "The Road to Jonestown" raises is just how culpable is the United States government for the Jonestown massacre? Anyone who knew the inner workings of the Peoples Temple — and that information had been put out there by numerous of Jones' disenchanted former followers — knew that Jones was essentially a manipulative, crazed cult leader, one who it was acknowledged had even rehearsed mass suicide with his followers before. So why didn't the government stop Jones? For the same reason that the government doesn't shut down the Church of Scientology, despite the countless accusations of abuse, kidnapping, and brainwashing alleged by former members. In the U.S., we have freedom of religion, which means you can believe whatever fucked up shit you want. This means, to paraphrase a line in the book, that if you want to follow a lunatic into the jungle, who's to stop you? The line between religion and cult is a fine one. Simply look at all the "religions" out there that are really cults that have outlasted that first generation of people who recognized the shit for what it was. When you're used to seeing L. Run Hubbard on the sci-fi shelf for 25 cents, you're going to rightly laugh when you hear he's decided to start a religion based on Xanu and little green men, or whatever equally weird shit Scientologists believe. But when you're growing up in the 2000s and you know Scientology as that religion Tom Cruise and the girl from "The Handmaid's Tale" are involved in, you might be a bit slower to ridicule it, particularly if you like Cruise and feminist, dystopian fantasies. If I'm saying "shit" and "fuck" more than I normally do in my reviews, it's because it never fails to bother me how stupid people are. Not seeing a cult for what it is or attempting to normalize isn't just stupid though, it's dangerous. I hate the fact that people still watch whatever Elizabeth Moss, Tom Cruise, and other Scientologists are in because really these actors should be boycotted and they should be forced out of the industry so that they no longer have a platform to spout their cult propaganda. Scientology is illegal in Germany, although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Jehovah's Witness aren't, and those are some culty cults too. So what's the answer then? Isn't all religion cult-like? Would banning one cult lead to a slippery slope of potentially banning all religions? Should we just let people follow their lunatics into the jungle and drink their Kool-Aid? Sure — make suicide legal, fine. But what if there are minors involved? What rules should be set then? Should the government have a right to check what's in your Kool-Aid before you drink it, or should the road to the next Jonestown remain open?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*

    Utterly riveting. Well-written, journalistic-- not sensational. The author occasionally repeats some key facts, apparently not realizing that readers won't be able to put this down and therefore won't need reminding of facts we just read an hour or two ago! Utterly riveting. Well-written, journalistic-- not sensational. The author occasionally repeats some key facts, apparently not realizing that readers won't be able to put this down and therefore won't need reminding of facts we just read an hour or two ago!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    The good news is that Jeff Guinn tells us everything there is to know about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. The bad news is that Jeff Guinn tells everything there is to know about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. This reviewer was just out of high school when the media frenzy emerged around the mass suicide of hundreds of Americans living in a cult called The Peoples Temple, which was sequestered in the equatorial jungles in Guyana, South America. No one could understand it; why would so many The good news is that Jeff Guinn tells us everything there is to know about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. The bad news is that Jeff Guinn tells everything there is to know about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. This reviewer was just out of high school when the media frenzy emerged around the mass suicide of hundreds of Americans living in a cult called The Peoples Temple, which was sequestered in the equatorial jungles in Guyana, South America. No one could understand it; why would so many people follow such a flimflam man, and why would they be persuaded to ‘drink the Koolaid’? I wanted to know; the whole thing boggles the imagination. I read it free and early, thanks to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster. I read it more slowly than I usually do, not because the narrative isn’t compelling, but because of the content. The opening chapters of the story are darkly funny, but as we move forward, there are times when I feel as if I am gargling sewage. I deal with the conflicting emotions by alternating it with other books, and I finish all of them and move on to other things before I finish this one. I could only take so much in one sitting! Just so you know; you’ve been warned. Jones was obsessed with religion, even as a child. Unfortunately, he was also the kind of kid that would trick a puppy into walking out of a high window and falling to its death. He just really liked control, and as he got older, the compulsion grew worse instead of better. In the early 1960s, Jones started a church in Indianapolis. His wife, Marceline, was proud to be the preacher’s wife, and they shared a genuine desire to integrate the city at a time when the deep South was being forced to end Jim Crow, but nobody else was asking anything of the sort of Northern industrial cities. He funded his mission by conducting traveling revivals tent-style. He persuaded gullible audiences that he had a supernatural capacity to heal others; the audience plants that he brought understood that sometimes faith required a little help. Fear and control enabled Jones to move much of his congregation with him when he packed up and headed for the supposedly nuke-proof town of Ukiah, California. After that, it was like a downhill snowball. The amazing thing is that this man and his oddball group were so widely accepted for many years, even praised by local politicians and celebrities. But then things began to unravel, and he told his followers it was time for the most ardent believers to move with him to The Promised Land. The most amazing thing to me is that he didn’t have to rope people in to move to the jungle; he made them compete for the honor. Guinn’s documentation is strong, mostly based on interviews with survivors and the vast files left behind by Jones and his people. The narrative flows well and never slows, and part of that is due to the lack of formal footnotes, but the endnotes provided for each chapter, along with the list of interviews, in-text source references, and bibliography are beyond reproach. Best of all, he has no axe to grind. For those that want to know, this is it. I doubt you’ll find a better single book on this subject anywhere. It’s available for sale as of today

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