Many of the people who helped orchestrate or at least vitally enable the massacre are still alive today, having quietly moved on with their lives. Among the people who raised the money was his son, Jim Jones, Jr. If anything, the people of Jonestown should be remembered as noble idealists. There is a balance between blaming the victim and taking a hard look at bad choices that end up putting one in a place of danger, and this balance isn't explored at all, to the book's detriment. For the record, it was poisoned Flavor Aid.
It was not unusual for him to call an evening meeting that would last until dawn. We were the same age. You will not be able to look away. How terribly they were betrayed. They were the rejects of the community. So was this a mass suicide? Scheeres provides a service in this book, both as a skillful historian and as a compassionate human being. From the time he was adopted at age three until he died in a car crash at age 20, we were in constant contact.
Should the survivors decide what is there? Conversely, I think the book got a bit repetitive and bogged down in detail toward the middle-- perhaps a function of the material on Jonestown that was newly available for review. I also could not believe that a thousand people could be so persuaded by one person to take their own lives, but I I can say that I definitely was. After the service ended, Jones strode up the aisle to stand at the entrance to the sanctuary, shaking hands and sharing a few words with worshippers as they filed out. As I finished this book as a much older person I had a much different experience. She synthesizes hours of audio recordings and written documents into a gut-wrenching tragedy that will linger with the reader.
Some residents maintained private faith commitments, but outward allegiance had to be pledged to Jones and Jonestown, not Jesus. What was it like to be trapped down there? He'd already puked twice, but was determined not to miss a beat of this adventure. Here was a handsome young white minister preaching the word in a gospel cadence, afire with the Lord. 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. The mass suicide was the ultimate act of control rather than his stated goal of dying for the beliefs of the Temple.
How do you review a book like this? Here was a white teenager who was vociferously, publicly, arguing for equal rights in a place where blacks were pushed to the fringes of town. Here we are in segregated Indianapolis , and we have this one and only integrated church. These politicians refused calls to investigate. 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. Did she not think some of us might be from the tropics and well aware of these fruits and their health benefits? But even as the congregation thrived, Jones made it increasingly difficult for members to leave.
I felt he was even as a young man suffering from grandiose delusional disorder. Indianapolis was less overtly racist than the South, but it was by no means an egalitarian city. Reading this or any book about Jones-town inevitably feels like rubbernecking. When David and I were teenagers, our parents sent us to a Christian reform school in the Dominican Republic that had some uncanny parallels with Jonestown. She was about fifteen when the mass murder-suicide occurred, so she still recalls news coverage of the event as details slowly made their way back to the American people. In her Alabama town, black children only attended school in the winter, so that they could work the fields during the growing season.
And this was many years before the actual tragedy. I never want to hear that phrase again. She first heard about Jones in 1955, when she was fifty. The most segregated hour in America is the Sunday morning worship hour, Jones liked to say. If you ever feel too happy and want to rectify that, read a book about Jonestown. To date, the Jonestown canon has veered between sensational media accounts and narrow academic studies.
The plane ride from San Francisco to Georgetown had been another first for Tommy. Today, virtually everyone born before 1975 is familiar with the story—and how it ends. Reporters lustily relayed what sensational details they had, but also filled in the gaps with outrageous claims. It was heartbreaking to learn, however I still recommend this story. In the end, it would only be known as Jonestown, a place of misery and death. The young Jim Jones, who spent much time alone and unsupervised, felt like an outcast on many levels.
He began siphoning off members from black churches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, said McGehee of the Jonestown Institute. But it was a two-day river journey from the capital of Georgetown to Port Kaituma, the closest village to Jonestown. I've ordered two more books on the topic, one written by Tim Reiterman, a reporter who visited Jonestown the day before the massacre and who-- along with other press members, Senator Ryan, and several defectors-- was gunned down by members of the settlement on Jones' orders no doubt as they tried to leave. And he took almost a thousand lives with him in the process. There was too much personal interpretation by the author that was based on her emotional interpretation of the evidence of which there was plenty rather than any proper analysis.