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Publisher's Summary

The basis for the upcoming HBO miniseries and the "definitive account of the Jonestown massacre" (Rolling Stone).

Tim Reiterman's Raven provides the seminal history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown in 1978.

This PEN Award-winning work explores the ideals gone wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of South America. Reiterman's reportage clarifies enduring misperceptions of the character and motives of Jim Jones, the reasons why people followed him, and the important truth that many of those who perished at Jonestown were victims of mass murder rather than suicide.

This widely sought work is restored to print after many years with a new preface by the author.

©2008 Tim Reiterman (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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What a very thoroughly written book!

Obviously this was very well-researched. The reader leaves with a much better understanding of what happened, the people affected, and what went wrong. Many passages were jaw-dropping. It's one of those books you just can't set down.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Provides authoritative insight into an enduring American tragedy

There is no getting around it, the story of the People's Temple and Jonestown is haunting, perplexing, tragic and so disturbing. We want to distance ourselves from this event. We want to believe that we would never be taken in by an ego maniacal narcissist but there are many Americans who are part of cult groups. Having read extensively about Jim Jones and the people he murdered, I am humbled. This is the most authoritative work on the topic. The authors care in sourcing and researching of every detail is evident throughout and the amazing insight into the final chapter that one of the authors can bring to bear because of his first hand knowledge is powerful.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • bethany
  • SALEM, NH, United States
  • 05-22-17

eye opener very thorough

one of the most informative books on the topic, i am about to listen to another so I will be able to compare, also a very good narrator which makes all the difference

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Chilling

The book seems well-researched and well written.
It is interesting to hear about the tragexy from the perspective of a journalist and someone who experienced firsthand the events on the airstrip.
Reiterman does a good job taking us on Jim Jones's journey into madness and control. However, I would have preferred if the African-American rank-and-file characters had been fully developed rather than being treated as side players.
The narration was generally very good, and engaging, but at times it seemed the narrator sounded sleepy. I even detected a yawn at one point.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Lessons and History of a mad man!

If you could sum up Raven in three words, what would they be?

Unbelievable Education Gained! Being only 10 yrs old when this tragedy happened, it didn't really "soak in" what this meant in the realm of history. Almost 40 years later, it has become more interesting to me & I was hoping to learn more about the cult & everything involve. Did I ever!! The research and writing of this book is phenomenal! Impressive research by Mr. Reiterman and all involved brings this entire story to life. I cannot fathom the number of hours, months, YEARS he has put into this project, but he deserves kudos for every minute of it. He & the narrator kept the story moving very well & the education gained was invaluable. I knew the man was insane, but I had no idea the level of deceipt, brainwashing, abuse (both sexual and mental) that went on. DRUNK on power, this man was out of his mind & it's so sad to think of the lost souls that put their entire lives into his hands and believing that he was the God and their answer.

What does Mitch Horowitz bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He kept it moving very well for me. I can't stay that involved for that long, but as he read it to me, I found myself not being able to "put it down".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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bookgirl

AWESOME!!!! Amazingly researched and written. Narration is excellent. Truly mind boggling that Jim Jones was able to control so many for so long. He was a foul mouth meglomanic , an abuser, a sexual miscreant, but had the ability to control others.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Oh My God!

And I'm not cussing when I say that. Raven is one of ,if not the most unbelievable horror stories I've read.I found it terribly upsetting. What makes it so shocking for me is these people are Americans of all ages and backgrounds. Jones controlled everything about their lives, abused them mentally and physically .They stood by while he abused other Temple members,even the children. Raven does a fantastic job of showing how Jones gained this power over his followers. The book is long but perhaps necessarily so.Tim Reiterman keeps the story flowing,as does the narrator.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Some may not like the length of the book

I have read a lot of true crime stories, but this one takes the cake for the most in-depth pieces of coverage of this tragic event. This tragedy defined a generation, even those who were not directly impacted by the deaths. I was living in SF at the time this took place and remember how much press Jones got as he represented himself to be a truly Godly man. I feel so sorry for all those who lost their lives in Guiana and the US. One wonders how people could tolerate such awful treatment. I saw an interview of a woman who was forced to undress in front of the whole assemblage of members. People were beaten, humiliated by this awful person. Too bad that humans don't seem to be able to support a truly honest, good person. In my view, it's always better to follow your own heart.

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I just kept waiting for it to get started.

I was hoping to get this exciting in depth account of what it was like to live with Jim Jones. While this book was in depth, exciting it was not. (at least for me). I can't figure out if it was narrator or the story itself. I prefer books that I can't get enough of. Books I can't wait to listen to. I had to FORCE myself through this one. And even then, i was dreading every "session," I finally stopped listening when I started looking for reasons to NOT listen to this book.

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Wow!

This is the only book about Jonestown you'll need to read. It's really good. It's so thorough. When they talk about that awful day, it's a little hard to get through. It's so detailed, and you almost feel like you're there. I highly recommend!