The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 11, 2017 - True Crime - 544 pages
2018 Edgar Award Finalist—Best Fact Crime

“A thoroughly readable, thoroughly chilling account of a brilliant con man and his all-too vulnerable prey” (The Boston Globe)—the definitive story of preacher Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre, the largest murder-suicide in American history, by the New York Times bestselling author of Manson.

In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially mixed, and he was a leader in the early civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California, where he got involved in electoral politics and became a prominent Bay Area leader. But underneath the surface lurked a terrible darkness.

In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his early days as an idealistic minister to a secret life of extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing, before the fateful 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 most complete picture to date of this tragic saga, and of the man who engineered it…The result is a disturbing portrait of evil—and a compassionate memorial to those taken in by Jones’s malign charisma” (San Francisco Chronicle).
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LibraryCin - LibraryThing

Jim Jones was the leader of the Peoples’ Temple. This is the group that, in November 1978, committed mass suicide in Guyana, by “drinking the Kool Aid” (it wasn’t actually Kool Aid, but a similar ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amcheri - LibraryThing

I loved Guinn's book on Charles Manson and found this one just as well researched and interesting. I admit that I had a tough time focusing on the book from about halfway on to the end but I think ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue Guyana November 1819
CHAPTER TWO Lynn
CHAPTER FOUR Growing
CHAPTER FIVE Richmond
CHAPTER EIGHT Beginnings
CHAPTER TEN Peoples Temple
CHAPTER TWELVE Father Divine
CHAPTER FOURTEEN A Man to Be Reckoned With
CHAPTER THIRTY The Planning Commission
CHAPTER THIRTYTWO San Francisco
CHAPTER THIRTYFOUR Reaching
CHAPTER THIRTYSIX Consequences
CHAPTER THIRTYEIGHT Kimo
CHAPTER THIRTYNINE City Politics
CHAPTER FORTYTWO Our Year of Ascendency
CHAPTER FORTYFOUR Jonestown

CHAPTER SIXTEEN Brazil
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN Redneck Valley
CHAPTER NINETEEN Dead
CHAPTER TWENTY Resurrection
CHAPTER TWENTYTWO A Socialist Example
CHAPTER TWENTYFOUR Worker Bees
CHAPTER TWENTYSIX Failures
CHAPTER TWENTYEIGHT
CHAPTER FORTYFIVE Concerned Relatives and the First White Night
CHAPTER FORTYSEVEN Betrayals
CHAPTER FORTYEIGHT Unraveling
CHAPTER FORTYNINE Final Days
CHAPTER FIFTYONE What Happened?
Photographs
Bibliography
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About the author (2017)

Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Go Down Together, The Last Gunfight, Manson, The Road to Jonestown, and War on the Border. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

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