Julia Scheeres is the author of New York Times bestselling memoir Jesus Land. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two daughters.
"How do you tell a new story about Jim Jones and his followers, when everyone knows how it ends? ...Julia Scheeres' riveting A" Thousand Lives" gives us reason to look again. " --"Miami He"rald
Scheeres (Jesus Land: A Memoir) revisits the massacre at Jonestown on its 33rd anniversary. In November 1978, nearly 1000 bodies were found in an open field in a compound in Guyana, victims of a religious fanatic-turned-mass murderer who had forced them to drink poisoned Flavor Aid. They were members of the Peoples Temple, a supposedly peaceful, self-sufficient community run by Jim Jones, a former activist for integration and the temple's charismatic founder. As conditions in Guyana worsened, cult members' families in California asked Sen. Leo Ryan to visit the community; he arrived just before the massacre and was murdered by Jones's henchmen. Scheeres interviewed some of the few survivors not in the group that eventful morning. Her book is made up of their stories: how they were taken in by Jones only to be betrayed. VERDICT An evenhanded journalistic account of what happened, this should appeal to anyone who remembers Jonestown or is curious about it. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/25/11.]-Frances Sandiford, formerly with Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.