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Road to Jonestown Audiobook

Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Manson comes 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' life, from his extramarital affairs, drug use, and fraudulent faith healing to the fraught decision to move almost 1,000 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 900 people died - including almost 300 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' 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' orders. The Road to Jonestown is the definitive book about Jim Jones and the events that led to the tragedy at Jonestown.

©2017 Jeff Guinn (P)2017 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (199 )
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  •  
    04-18-17
    04-18-17
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    "Intriguing and beautifully written"

    Captivating from beginning to the end. The author carefully traces Jones' slow rise and eventual demise. If you're interested in demagogues and their devoted followers, this book is perfect for you.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ROBERT 05-18-17
    ROBERT 05-18-17 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Crazy is as crazy does."

    Jim Jones became crazy by his own charisma. Absolute power corrupts Absolutely. No matter how well it starts off.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David San Diego, CA, United States 04-26-17
    David San Diego, CA, United States 04-26-17 Member Since 2011
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    "A detailed and balanced portrait"
    What made the experience of listening to Road to Jonestown the most enjoyable?

    The comments from the former members of the People's Temple


    What did you like best about this story?

    The detailed portrait of Jones. We got to see him at his best and his worst. Like many, I was quick to think the worst of Jones. While I am not going to excuse what he did in Guyana, the author does give credit where it is due (such as the social programs to fight racism and addiction).


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The Life and Death of the People's Temple.


    Any additional comments?

    This might be better in print, just so you could keep track of who was involved with the People's Temple and in what capacity. However, it was a well written piece of history and was very even handed in how it handled the central figure of Jim Jones.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-17-17
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    "Good Doers Held Hostage By a Complex Disturbed Man"
    If you could sum up Road to Jonestown in three words, what would they be?

    Ideals poisoned by paranoia. Ok 4 words, not 3!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Road to Jonestown?

    The most memorable moment was the horrific final moments in Jonestown when so many died of cyanide poising in that massive murder/suicide. Was made even more horrific when the author quotes from a doctor who reveals what an agonizing way cyanide is to end ones life involving minutes of painful suffocation.


    Which character – as performed by George Newbern – was your favorite?

    No one particular character. George Newbern rather then acting out characters lends a solid pleasant even keeled voice though out which worked very well for this type of non-fiction work. Gave a very engaging performance which was understated and even handed in just the right way for me.


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

    The deaths in Jonestown, what a sad ending to so many beautiful lives


    Any additional comments?

    I've been fascinated for years about Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple. Was Jim Jones a good man gone bad, or crazy from very early in life? Why would so many follow him and not heed earlier warning signs? My opinion after reading this book is that he really wanted to do good and believed in and practiced diversity and socialism. However, due to a troubled youth and drug abuse his inner demons involving paranoia and fear of abandonment and need for absolute control destroyed whatever ideals he fought for. At the same time as the author lays out, many of his followers would justify the bad things they experienced as being worth it for the greater good until it was too late and many were hostages in Jonestown. One thing I still don't understand is why Jim Jones hoarded so much money he gained and started stockpiling it away instead of using it for his people and socialistic aims while in Jonestown? Maybe he wanted to prove he could make Jonestown self sufficient and his ego could not admit that he needed to dip into his vast savings to make his dream work? Maybe it was part of his cruelty making his people live and work in such meager conditions? Don't know.As you can see, this book gave me a lot to think about and consider and I would recommend it for those who want a comprehensive look at the life of Jim Jones. After reading this book, I've gained a new found respect for the followers of Jim Jones and think it is easy to say we could never get caught up in something like this. As started before , people will put up/accept much if they feel they are sacrificing for the greater good. The best point the author made for me was that while Jim Jones has been compared to Hitler and Manson, the big difference is the followers of Jim Jones were striving for greatness not evil. Bless them all living and dead!!!!

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa M Crowell 05-09-17
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    "Religion, politics and death. The story of humans and their need to belong."

    Charismatic individuals throughout history have succeeded in destroying the lives of entire generations. Jim Jones is no exception. This book explores the early years of Jones childhood and a glimpse into possible psychological effects of his upbringing. The Road to Jonestown is a must read for anyone fascinated with human behavior.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LaQuinda Johnson 05-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Eye Opening!"

    This was very eye opening and tragic but also a piece of history that shouldn't be forgotten.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roxanne G Mesquite, TX, United States 05-06-17
    Roxanne G Mesquite, TX, United States 05-06-17 Member Since 2011
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    "Superbly done"

    This book is one of the most well laid out, researched and presented books regarding true events I've ever read/listened to. The narrator's presentation, voice inflection and cadence are excellent. Highly recommended as an unbiased, fact filled expose on this tragedy.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Living the Life 05-01-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Horrifying but Important"

    We live in a time when it's important to be reminded of dangerous people who think they are the only ones who can fix things. Who is to say if Jim Jones started out with good values but how he came to see himself as a demigod and how he used rhetoric and mind control provides a cautionary story for today.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Vann 04-16-17
    Brian Vann 04-16-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Terrific in every way!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This is a great book that included a lot of background on Jones that I hadn't known before. His childhood and early years, things that usually aren't focused on, add a lot of depth to the story. And Guinn doesn't focus on the massacre, instead he gives a lot detail leading up to it and then wraps up quickly after.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marceline Jones, his wife, provides a very sympathetic character to identify with.


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

    Newbern is a good reader and brought a lot of life to the characters.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    A map to manipulation and murder.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sid 05-27-17
    Sid 05-27-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Long but interesting."

    Newborn has a pleasant and interesting tone and voice.

    The story can be a bit too detailed in some parts. However, it's an interesting story which I was too young to appreciate when it occurred in 1978x

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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