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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 23 star ratings
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4.7 out of 5
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  • 3 person found this review helpful

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    Read for 5 hours straight, could not put it down!

    Well researched subject about a most tragic outcome. The sheer evil that was able to be used to convince others to follow in his horrific suicide/murder plan, completely baffles me. Believing it would make a point for socialism/communism was in my opinion very selfish.
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    The Peoples Temple

    Although I knew quite a bit about Jonestown from just being alive when this all happened to having watched a couple of documentaries on it this book taught me so much more. I was not aware of their previous "compund" in Ukiah or even the origins of Jim Jones. Everything seems to focus on the tragic events in Guyana and whilst they are probably the most dramatic portions of the story the whole tale is almost fantastical in its sheer complexity and the slow build to the final denouement. It was incredibly interesting to read about Jim Jones early life, his obsession with death and religion started very early and I am sure this was the only way he could really escape his home life. He definitely had a neglectful upbringing which I am sure contributed to his final breakdown and I am pretty sure he suffered a complete mental break caused by his ever increasing drug dependencies. Even more interesting where his efforts to help minorities and the downtrodden. You can definitely see why people latched on to him in the early days, he genuinely didn;t see colour and hated that others did and treated people differently as a result. Certainly he understood what it was like to be seen as "less than" just because he existed and he put this to good use in the early days. If only he had followed a different path and not allowed power to corrrupt him he could have a great proponent of change, instead he became a proponent for something worse than what society was doing to people. Mr Guinn has certainly carried out meticulous research and nothing here is sensationalised, it is what it is and is told in such a matter of fact way that it makes the events ever more terrifying. You do wonder why these people stayed with him, especially after things begin to unravel in Ukiah. Then you realise they trust this man, they believe this man, he has "saved" them from the abuse and poverty they were suffering from and if things are going off the rails a little bit it still isn't as bad as it was before. It certainly dispelled some of my misconceptions about how it all happened and educated me on things I had no idea about. Especially the politics of the 1960s and the corruption that felt eerily like today. This is an extremely interesting read and definitely more of a Social History than a salacious pick the highlights type of book. This review has been a long time coming. I actually read this book between the 19th and 25th April 2020 so my memory is a bit foggy about parts of the book, but only a little bit as it has really stuck with me. Fortunately, I have a notebook where I jot some initial thoughts on the book and an overall ranking so between the book blurb and that I did have a reasonable handle on what I thought at the time of reading.

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