Today's post is on The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn. it is 531 pages long including notes. The cover has a close up picture of Jim Jones without his sunglasses on. The intended reader is someone who wants to learn more about Jim Jones and what led up the events that happened at Jonestown. There is foul language, sex, and violence in this book. The story is comprised of interviews, letters, and other first documents. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
From the dust jacket- By the New York Times bestselling author of Manson, the comprehensive, authoritative, and tragic story of preacher Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre—the largest murder-suicide in American history.
In the 1950s, a young Indianapolis minister named Jim Jones preached a curious blend of the gospel and Marxism. His congregation was racially integrated, and he was a much-lauded leader in the contemporary civil rights movement. Eventually, Jones moved his church, Peoples Temple, to northern California. He became involved in electoral politics, and soon was a prominent Bay Area leader.
In this riveting narrative, Jeff Guinn examines Jones’s life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught 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 definitive book about Jim Jones and the events that led to the tragedy at Jonestown.
Review- I knew very little about Jim Jones and Jonestown before reading this book so I could not understand the true horror of everything that happened and what led up to it. Guinn does his best to cover all aspects of Jim Jones' life and what made him. Guinn gives details about Jones' family life from how his parents met, his birth, and his mother's belief that she was going to have a son who was some kind of god. Guinn follows Jones from his beginnings as a civil rights activist all the way to when he ordered the deaths of his followers. The notes are detailed, the interviews are tragic, but Guinn gives too much gory detail. He does not sugar coat anything but he handles this material with care and respect. If you are curious about details of the Peoples Temple and what happened then this book is a good place to start.
I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.