A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
In 1954, a pastor named Jim Jones opened a church in Indianapolis called People's Temple Full Gospel Church. He was a charismatic preacher with idealistic beliefs, and he quickly filled his pews with an audience eager to hear his se...more
So what makes a person so weak-minded is what I would like to see an answer to. This book showed the results of following a truly insane person. It's amazing how much he fooled people, especially public figures who turned a blind eye.
It was a very factual read and as I read what Jones said and did, why didn't people ge...more
Combing threw tens of thousands of documents released to the public and also from tapes already public, the author pieced together Jim Jones' troubled childhood, his conversion to Evan...more
Scheeres' book sheds some light on things, although there are still so many unans...more
i'm growing more and more fascinated with utopian projects, cults and the like, but i understand that your mileage may vary for this sort of thing. if you aren't inclined to explore this sort of thing, i'll say that a thousand lives works really well as a story. scheeres decentralizes the role of jim jones himself (who seems to have been an authoritarian...more
They left America for the jungles of Guyana to start a better life. Yet what started as a Utopian dream soon devolved into a terrifying work camp run by
a madman, ending in the mass murder-suicide of 914 members in November 1978. In A Thousand Lives, the New York Times best-selling memoirist Julia Scheeres
traces the fates...more
I highly recommend this book. Julia Sheeres (who also wrote the amazing memoir Jesus Land) was able to obtain recently declassified FBI documents, audiotapes and interview survivors. – I had no idea that Jim Jones had been planning this mass suicide for years – truly mind blowing.
"Today few Americans born after 1980 are familiar with the Jonestown tragedy, although anyone with an Internet connection can listen to the haunting tape of the community's mass...more
So hardwired is that conceit that she asks her readers to reassess parents who murdered their children but can’t ask herself to reassess the philosophy that brought them to that point. Julia Scheeres is as much a captive of ideology as the people that she writes about. Political se...more
not the sort of book you can get some lively party chat out of, if you plan to get invited back.
Julia Scheeres has some unique credentials for writing about Jonestown: she and her adopted (black) brother were incarcerated in a fundamentalist Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic as adolescents. i can't think of another experience that would have so many resonances with Jonestown: coercion, powerlessness, religion, racial issues, sexism, bei...more
This book will become the definitive account of what happened at Jonestown. The chapters on the months leading up to the mass murder/suicide are frightening and fascinating. But the real strength of this book is that the author takes us through half a dozen members' stories from before they joined the church until the bitter end. Since we've spent a book with these people, we're inside their heads as Jim Jones takes them further and further into darkness. The journey is actual...more
Why people joined soon becomes obvious. In the 1950s Jones seemed to have a passion for social justice sin...more
Category – Religion/ Biography/True Crime
WOW and double WOW!!!!!! I read this book in one night finding it absolutely impossible to put down. If you were born after 1980 you probably have little or no knowledge of Jim Jones and the Jonestown murder/suicides; however that should not be a problem because the story is as real and poignant as it was back then.
Jim Jones became a Pentecostal preacher, starting in Indiana and moving to Calif...more
I was not yet born when Jonestown happened, and as such I suppose I have always been sheltered from the horror of what happened. For me, Jonestown has always been a poor punchline to a Kool-Aid joke.
After reading A Thousand Lives, it's a joke I'll never make again.
There's so much to gather from reading this book - from the overwhelming racism they faced that made African-Americans susceptible prey to Jim Jones' predatory nature, to the lofty i...more
Scheeres has an interesting take on the issue: she is the author of Jesusland, a memoir in which she discusses her own upbringing as the child of conservative/fundamentalist Christian parents, including a time during which she and her brothe...more