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A Thousand Lives Audiobook

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown

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Publisher's Summary

They left America for the jungles of Guyana to start a better life. Yet what started as a Utopian dream soon devolved into a terrifying work camp run by a madman, ending in the mass murder-suicide of 914 members in November 1978.

In A Thousand Lives, the New York Times best-selling memoirist Julia Scheeres traces the fates of five individuals who followed Jim Jones to South America as they struggled to first build their paradise, and then survive it. Each went for different reasons - some were drawn to Jones for his progressive attitudes towards racial equality, others were dazzled by his claims to be a faith healer. But once in Guyana, Jones' drug addiction, mental decay, and sexual depredations quickly eroded the idealistic community.

For this groundbreaking book, Scheeres examined more than 50,000 pages of newly released documents that the FBI collected from the camp after the massacre - including diaries, crop reports, and letters that were never sent home - as well as hundreds of audiotapes of Jones addressing his group.

Scheeres's own experience at a religious boot camp in the Dominican Republic, detailed in her unforgettable debut memoir Jesus Land, gives her unique insight into this chilling tale.

Haunting and vividly written, A Thousand Lives is a story of blind loyalty and daring escapes, of corrupted ideals and senseless, searing loss.

©2011 Julia Scheeres (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Chilling and heart-wrenching, this is a brilliant testament to Jones's victims, so many of whom were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time." (Publisher's Weekly)

"Scheeres shows great compassion and journalistic skill in reconstructing Jonestown’s last months and the lives of many Temple members (including a few survivors).... [A] well-written, disturbing tale of faith and evil." (Kirkus)

"Julia Scheeres' A Thousand Lives... tells the tragic tale of Jonestown - in its way, a peculiarly American apocalypse." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1126 )
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Performance
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  •  
    David Northern, Virginia 05-30-16
    David Northern, Virginia 05-30-16 Member Since 2014

    Country Man

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    "Interesting"

    Having been born in 1975 I have only hear references to Jones Town and Drinking the Kool Aid. This book was eye opening and insightful. I feel I have a good understanding of what happened and why. I can now speak intelligently about it to others if needed and I will not use the reference of Drinking the Kool Aid again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb Hatch 05-28-16
    Deb Hatch 05-28-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Wow. I knew the story but I didn't KNOW it"

    This was a riveting, amazing account of Jonestown. I was a teen when it happened. I thought I knew the story. I didn't. Everyone needs to read this and understand how easily we can be taken in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LISA A BOWLING 05-26-16 Member Since 2012
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    Story
    "More like a Lecture"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, it was very informative. But very dry and slow.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I haven't decided probably something by Harlen Coben.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Robin Miles’s performances?

    Probably not.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Definitely not.


    Any additional comments?

    I was really curious about the subject, but this was more like listening to a lecture. It wasn't very entertaining but it was very informative.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle in New York City NYC 02-10-16 Member Since 2010
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    "A Truly Perplexing , Shocking Story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, Although the ultimate fate of Jim Jones and his followers is well known, much of the information in this book is not.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is really hard to imagine how such a deranged person could manipulate/trick so many people.This is a well researched and well written book which chronicles the life of Jim Jones from his beginning to his end... and all the horrible things he did in between. This author expounded on many aspects of this story, of which , I had only been vaguely aware. The author did her homework and that is what will keep you riveted throughout this book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Even though I knew what was going to happen to the news crew and to the congressman who came to investigate and to rescue anyone who wanted to leave the compound, I found this portion of the book to be most unsettling and jarring. It really was a shocking account of the event.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Menk Florida 12-10-15
    Sally Menk Florida 12-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Sad Story"

    A really scary and sad story!! Very well researched and written!! I would definitely recommend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James750 05-25-15
    James750 05-25-15

    Non Fiction Listener but huge Liar in my regular life

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    "Really Great Story and Much Better than I Expected"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    It is told in a blanced and even way. The author takes a non judgemental view particularly toward the victims. The story builds as the sect moves to South America especially not knowing if the stories of individual are survivors. It's a memorizing story utilizing how a sidewalk preacher from the Midwest can convince 500 people to kill themselves in a jungle. I recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in the subject.


    What about Robin Miles’s performance did you like?

    Well narrated


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Tucker 05-09-15
    C. Tucker 05-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Thorough and fascinating history of People's Templ"

    I studied cults in graduate school and had a passing familiarity with the history of Jim Jones and the People's Temple. However, this book goes more in depth and brings more life to the members of People's Temple than anything else I've read or watched on the subject. It's a fascinating read and treats the survivors with the respect and dignity that their story deserves.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily 04-18-15
    Emily 04-18-15
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    "Gone but not forgotten"

    A touching tribute to people who were, as Julia put it, betrayed. Given the author's background, I am even more impressed with her ability to search for truth, and not just characterize things from one point of view. Great author, great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oneofthelucky 03-22-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Very thorough and insightful"

    The book gives a thorough history of the church and insight in to church members lives. Baffling and heartbreaking story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Miles Atlanta, GA USA 03-09-15
    M. Miles Atlanta, GA USA 03-09-15 Member Since 2016

    buy1sell1

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Glad I Listened to This Historial Account"

    Like so many, I heard about Jonestown on the 6 o'clock news. Mainly just the total number dead, that the Senator had been killed, and a few ghastly photographs. That was about all that I heard and the usage of "don't drink the KoolAid" as a warning of not to believe everything you hear.

    So this account provided a lot of needed, wanted, and necessary information to really understand the back-story and everything that lead up to the horrible suicide/murder event.

    The author did a very good job of drawing a clear narrative from the massive amount of available information. And Robin Miles gave a perfect narration.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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