The Road to Jonestown

The Road to Jonestown

Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Book - 2017
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A portrait of the cult leader behind the Jonestown Massacre examines his personal life, from his extramarital affairs and drug use to his fraudulent faith healing practices and his decision to move his followers to Guyana, sharing new details about the events leading to the 1978 tragedy.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2017.
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781476763828
Branch Call Number: 289.9 Gui
Characteristics: ix, 531 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple


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Dec 17, 2019

in the above librarian's blurb, it states that after jones moved from indiana to california, he managed to 'evade scrutiny by allying himself with liberal politicians.' as i understand, jones had at this point the best of intentions regarding others, so why then would such a person be 'evading scrutiny.'? Again, my understanding is that jones never achieved any self-awareness of his sickness (megalomania-messiah complex). Toward the end, although he was not overjoyed to see Congressman Ryan and Jackie Speier arrive to investigate the Peoples' Temple, he was convinced he could put on a show--a show good enough to convince the visitors--of Universal Brotherly Love at the compound. This does not mean he knew he was a bad person, who had mistreated others under his command. But this is later in the story than what the librarian appears to assume, in the blurb at the top of the item card. "The NEW WEST article in the August '77 issue." Jones' running scared began then. / I lived in the Bay Area, and i came to meet a survivor of PT who was resigned to being assassinated by a PT hit squad. Sure enough, i heard later that their home in the Berkeley hills was raided, and she and her family, were massacred. The way the news had it, it was a home invasion burglary gone horribly wrong.

Aug 19, 2019

An excellent book about Jim Jones and his slow descent to madness while leading his church followers to mass suicide. This book actually explains how this was able to happen, that ordinary people trying to lead a decent church-centered life were gradually brought under the spell of Jim Jones. Beginning in Indiana, he led his church first with raw charisma, growing to megalomania and finally to paranoia and self-destruction. You also get a better idea of some of the individuals in the church and their reactions to everything that happened. The moral of the story is that even a respected church leader is all too human.

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.

Jun 01, 2018

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.

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