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A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
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A Thousand Lives, by Julia Scheeres

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Manda (bookwenchmanda) | 966 comments A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
A Thousand Lives The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres

GR synopsis:
“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

A Thousand Lives follows the experiences of five People's Temple members who went to Jonestown: a middle-class English teacher from Colorado, an elderly African American woman raised in Jim Crow Alabama, a troubled young black man from Oakland, and a working-class father and his teenage son. These people joined the church for vastly different reasons. Some, such as eighteen-year-old Stanley Clayton, appreciated Jones’s message of racial equality and empowering the dispossessed. Others, like Hyacinth Thrash and her sister Zipporah, were dazzled by his claims of being a faith healer — Hyacinth believed Jones had healed a cancerous tumor in her breast. Edith Roller, a well-educated white progressive, joined Peoples Temple because she wanted to help the less fortunate. Tommy Bogue, a teen, hated Jones’s church, but was forced to attend services—and move to Jonestown — because his parents were members.
A Thousand Lives is the story of Jonestown as it has never been told before. New York Times bestselling author Julia Scheeres drew from thousands of recently declassified FBI documents and audiotapes, as well as rare videos and interviews, to piece together an unprecedented and compelling history of the doomed camp, focusing on the people who lived there. Her own experiences at an oppressive reform school in the Dominican Republic, detailed in her unforgettable debut memoir Jesus Land, gave her unusual insight into this story.
The people who built Jonestown wanted to forge a better life for themselves and their children. They sought to create a truly egalitarian society. In South America, however, they found themselves trapped in Jonestown and cut off from the outside world as their leader goaded them toward committing “revolutionary suicide” and deprived them of food, sleep, and hope. Yet even as Jones resorted to lies and psychological warfare, Jonestown residents fought for their community, struggling to maintain their gardens, their school, their families, and their grip on reality.
Vividly written and impossible to forget, A Thousand Lives is a story of blind loyalty and daring escapes, of corrupted ideals and senseless, haunting loss.


I am reading this for my Choices Challenge, from the 2011 History/Bio Category. I don't know a whole lot about Jonestown, except for the very basic details. I am interested in learning more about it, from a social-scientist perspective. I will be starting this in the next day or two.


message 2: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3784 comments Mod
Do you have a link to the Choices challenge? Not that I need to add another challenge to my list...


Manda (bookwenchmanda) | 966 comments Laura wrote: "Do you have a link to the Choices challenge? Not that I need to add another challenge to my list..."

There's not really anything published for it, I just kind of threw something together myself. Here is a link to the spreadsheet I've been using to track all of my challenges. it's the tab towards the end labeled "Choices", though hopefully this link opens directly to it.

Manda's Doc Tracking


message 4: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) One of the few times a member of Congress was murdered.


message 5: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 2411 comments Manda wrote: "Laura wrote: "Do you have a link to the Choices challenge? Not that I need to add another challenge to my list..."

There's not really anything published for it, I just kind of threw something toge..."


Unbelievably cool spreadsheet, Amanda!


message 6: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3784 comments Mod
Manda wrote: "Laura wrote: "Do you have a link to the Choices challenge? Not that I need to add another challenge to my list..."

There's not really anything published for it, I just kind of threw something toge..."


Ohhh ok, that makes sense. I'm really trying to get more involved with the Choice awards. In the past, I've struggled with whether or not to vote since I'd only read one or two of the nominees. Then I tend to get caught up with other stuff and don't end up reading most of them. But I like the idea of making them into a challenge.

I'd also like to participate in the Tournament of Books next year.
http://www.themorningnews.org/tob/


Manda (bookwenchmanda) | 966 comments I finished this book nearly a week ago. I really enjoyed learning more about Jones's church and the tragic events that happened around Jonestown. Based on what little I knew going into this book I had always assumed that these people willing gave up their lives for their leader. I was shocked and saddened to learn how many people had lost their faith in Jones and his church and wanted to leave, but were practically held against their will. While this is not true of all members, it seemed to be the fates of a lot of members. It was saddening to learn how many people were poisoned against their will so Jones could make his grand statement. The book seemed very well researched, and was told wonderfully through many different voices (followers stories).

3/5


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