The Road to Jonestown

The Road to Jonestown

Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Large Print - 2017
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In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was active in the civil rights movement. Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to California and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader. Jeff Guinn examines Jones's life, from his affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the decision to move almost a thousand of his followers to the jungles of Guyana. New details emerge of the events leading to the day in November, 1978, when more than nine hundred people died after being ordered to swallow a cyanide-laced drink.
Publisher: Waterville : Thorndike Press, 2017.
Edition: Large Print edition.
ISBN: 9781410498656
Call Number: 289.9 GUINN
Characteristics: 955 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Subjects: Jones, Jim, 1931-1978.
Peoples Temple.
Jonestown Mass Suicide, Jonestown, Guyana, 1978.
Large type books.


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IndyPL_RyanD Mar 01, 2019

I enjoyed this book because of the thorough research of Jeff Guinn. Documentaries I have watched about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple focus on the infamous end in Guyana. I found reading about Jones’s upbringing in Lynn and Richmond, Indiana and the development of the Peoples Temple in Indianapolis to be very interesting and a fresh perspective. I also found the quotes and information from Jones’s childhood peers and former Peoples Temple members to be interesting and insightful. This book is recommended for anyone wanting a more thorough analysis of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple.

Jan 04, 2019

An excellent book about events I vaguely remember hearing about in childhood. Amazing how people will follow a charismatic leader without stopping to think for themselves. I am glad I read this book. It could be viewed as a cautionary tale: certainly to Christians to continually check teachings against the truth of the bible, but also to any mass following.

Nov 18, 2018

It's been 40 years since the Jonestown Massacre occurred. This is the best read that details the background of Jim Jones and the events before and after the tragedy. Incredibly researched.

Nov 04, 2018

Amazingly well researched and very in depth. Learning everything about Jim Jones from birth to death shed light on who he was and how the events on November 18th came to be. Word to the wise though- it is hella long. I dove right into this only to realize it is 52 chapters long. But I still highly recommend it.

i wonder if it is suspect now to think while yer growing up that yer great, and going to do great things, or is this only relevant in a negative sense if the reviewer has the advantage of the retrospective point of view? Or is the reviewer only echoing the perspective of the author? The cover photo is annoying to me: Jim Jones, flashing a peace sign. Is this intended to, or does it indeed do, malign the Peace Movement? (If one wrote a book on Charlie Manson, and had a similar cover, would that be the intent?) Am I to assume that Ringo Starr, because he is prone to flashing the peace sign, is akin to the two above-named monsters? I knew someone, albeit slightly, who feared Jim Jones' hit squads, after the mass suicide. When I heard in the news that a family had been murdered in Berkeley, I knew that had to be her. Telling me it was going to occur, she had shrugged, saying there was no way to stop it. I am so sorry I could not offer any help then; I was only a salesman, and very young. Now, I am less and have to wonder whether I could even help her today. Untold also is the effect he had on San Francisco liberal politics: he had the willing workers, could get out the vote for the Demon Cats. It wasn't much later that the mayor and the gay supervisor were murdered, in City Hall. connections, anyone? if you make a deal with the devil, you often rue that day......

ellensix Dec 14, 2017

This book really opened my eyes to all the constructive things that Rev. Jim Jones did with the People's Temple. Then it all went pear-shaped. (The Temple, not the book)

Sep 21, 2017

I remember being 8 or 9 when this happened and I was like how could people believe a mere mortal man? It wasn't until now as an adult and reading how Rev. Jones's followers were brainwashed can one fully understand how people will believe anything a Pastor (cult leader) will say.

Jul 18, 2017

"We didn't commit suicide. We committed an act of revolutionary suicide protesting the conditions of an inhumane world."-Jim Jones
Even if they don't know the origin, most people know the phrase "Don't drink the Kool-Aid." In reality, it was an off brand, which is one of the things you'll learn in this exhaustive and long (close to 500 pages) look at the tragedy of Jonestown. Jeff Guin, who has also written about Charles Manson, delves into the childhood of Jones and the rise of his church, the Peoples Temple, which initially was idealistic and committed to racial and social equality. Despite the extensive research, I finished the book without much a sense of who Jones was and why so many people blindly followed him, even into death. It does provide a fresh take on the events, but could've been shorter and more insightful. There's also "Hearing the Voices of Jonestown," which takes the victims' perspective and the film "The Sacrament," which is a fictionalized version of the story.

Jul 16, 2017

Jonestown may be long gone and covered by an overgrown jungle in Guyana but the story lives on.

This book lets the reader know the real Jim Jones from childhood to his suicide in Jonestown. It also covers the success of his churches, how he funded them and why he felt he had to leave the United States. He was a strange, dark man that influenced a lot of people- having control of his follower's faith, finances, families and in the end their very lives.
The author does a very good job describing what happened near the end of Jonestown such as who got killed by Jones' people (such as Congressman Leo Ryan) and the followers and others that managed to get away.
Of interest to me was how much Jones (and his church) was worth on paper. Jones' camp was run very frugally without indoor plumbing, running a generator for electricity and rarely enough food for his followers. In reality, millions were hidden in accounts around the world in Jones name. Some were never recovered.

May 06, 2017

Jim Jones was strange from childhood, a person who believed in reincarnation – he thought he was the rebirth of Buddha and Lenin – and a person who was convinced he would do great things as a great man. He was a first-class charlatan and a fraud, using chicken guts through sleight of hand to “prove” that he had excised cancer from its sufferers. He was driven by a need to be in total control. Money, sex, and power were his great lusts, which he indulged in to suit his wants. He was charming, convincing, and dedicated, able to lead 900 people to mass murder and suicide. An excellent book. Recommended.


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