Best-selling author Jeff Guinn turns his investigative talents to the life and work of preacher and so-called cult leader, Jim Jones, who was responsible for the Jonestown Massacre in 1978.
From gospel/socialist beginnings in Indiana, to the events surrounding the worst mass-suicide in history, this is an enthralling and scary account that explores the development of the Peoples Temple and the effects Jim Jones had on the people he met and worked with.
Guinn’s research led him to carry out interviews with survivors of the tragedy, as well as those who knew Jones and were involved in the various permutations of the Temple group. He also had access to FBI files on Jones and sheds new light on the details surrounding the massacre.
This isn’t a throw-Jones-on-the-fire type of book that blames the cult leader for everything under the sun, as it also highlights what Jones achieved, such as his work to battle segregation in Indianapolis, providing food and jobs for poor folk and developing links between black and white religious groups.
Though Guinn makes it clear that Jones was pretty much entirely to blame for the tragic consequences of Jonestown, he also touches on what the man might have accomplished if he had taken a different path.
This is a fascinating and troubling book that says a lot about our society and how individuals and communities can be influenced by the twisted ideals of one man.