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 s...more
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Death is not a fearful thing, it's living that's treacherous.Jim Jones November 18, 1978
I was only seven when the massacre/mass suicide at Jonestown occurred, and while I always had a general sense of what happened, until reading this book, I lacked a true appreciation for the magnitude and bizarre nature of this tragedy.
From champion of the oppressed to drug-addled megalomaniac, Jim Jones was an enigma on many fronts. He started off speaking out against racism and segregation, and promoting ...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
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
Scheeres provides a service in this book, both as a skillful historian and as a compassionate human being. She synthesizes hours of audio reco ...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
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
This is about Jonestown, Jim Jones, and how he took almost a thousand lives. We remember it as a mass suicide, and the phrase "drinking the kool aid," has come to mean someone who mindlessly swallows lies and obeys because that's how the poison was administered. I think this is one of saddest stories I've read in a long time--and considering my recent reading has included tales of ge ...more
I thought I knew a lot about the Jonestown Massacre. I was wrong. This book put faces and personal stories and recollections on one of the worst murder-suicides in history, and that just made it that much spookier.
The author starts out the book stating she will not use the word "cult" unless it's in reference of a direct quote from one of her sources. This right away gave her some credibility in my ey ...more
“I love socialism, and I’m willing to die to bring it about, but if I did, I’d take a thousand with me.” –Jim Jones, September 6, 1975.
I'll date myself by saying that I was a very young child when the massacre happened. It was the first real-time tragedy I had encountered, and I was astounded that parents would kill their own children. I'm still astounded really, but this book (using declassified FBI documents) follows the members of this church throughout its development to show how vulnerable most of the people were who died in Jonestown.
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
Still, it was interesting enough that I kept reading to the end. If you have any interest in the Jonestown murder-suicides, you will gain lots of knowledge and detail from reading this.
The research was extensive and the story is told in a narrative format. Though interestingly ...more
909 people died. Almost 300 were children.
I appreciated how the author showed the humanity of Jones’ followers; trying to understand why they were drawn to him and why they stayed, instead of dismissing them as “crazy cultists.” These were not people that woke up one morning decidin ...more
This is not the first book I've read about the People's Temple, but it's certainly the best. Scheeres used the files gathered by the FBI after the Jonestown tragedy to research th ...more
Scheeres pos ...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