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Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People Paperback – November 13, 2008
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“Unquestionably emerges as the most valuable book on Jonestown to date…Every piece of the puzzle is here.”—David Evanier, National Review
“An extraordinary inquiry into the individual pathology of Jim Jones…To assemble this portrait obviously required staggering research. The writing is sensitive and lucid. The result is a document which will illumine a dark corner of our era.”—Daniel Schorr“After reading Raven, there should be no more questions…A tour de force on the Rev. James Jones and the events that led his 900 disciples to drink poisoned punch on Nov. 18, 1978.” —Charlie Frush, The Philadelphia Inquirer
“This stands as the definitive history …carefully compiled and completely horrifying.”—Marshall Kilduff, San Francisco Chronicle
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Top Customer Reviews
This year, after reading Barbara Olson's Hell to Pay, I needed to reference Raven again because of a connection. So many times since I finished my thesis I had needed to reference it and gaining access was alway problematic. I therefore asked Amazon to find a copy and they were able to accommodate me.
The one thing about Raven and the story of Jim Jones is that, once you have been so deeply involved in the story, it is impossible to let it go. Events continue to occur which force you back to the original. Events such as the Waco incident. Raven is an excellent resource for people trying to understand how one man can hold sway over so many people and lead them to such an unbelievable disaster.
Watching as Jones molds and manipulates his congregants is a fascinating experience. Seeing people so willing to forsake home and family for a little security is a startling realization. But it explains a great deal about how easily people will give over their lives to such a leader in order not to have to manage their own affairs.
Reiterman and Jacobs give us a wonderful essay on the inner workings and the secrets which allowed Peoples Temple to flourish. The detail of their investigations into the cleverness and deceit of Jones is extraordinary. This book is, in my estimation the primary read for anyone trying to understand the times and events which allowed Peoples Temple to become a lure for so many people.
A warning is in order. Once you read Raven, you will never be able to let go of the story. But if you learn one thing from it, it should be that there are deceivers in the world who, if allowed, will take your home, your money and your life.
One warning. It is approximately 600 pages, and impossible to put down once you pick it up. So make sure to clear your calendar for a few days before starting it. Once read, this book will remain with you for a lifetime.
Bravo, Mr Rieterman.
Reiterman barely knew Jones, only introduced to him the one time the day prior to the dreadful slaughter. So, everything he writes about Jones is second-hand information, but second hand information expertly corroborated by the extensive "paper trail" the People's Temple left behind in the many years of its existence from California to the middle of "God's Own Nowhere" in western Guyana. Further, with Jones' death, still something of a mystery after all of these years, former members of the People's Temple and the handful of Jonestown survivors, including Jim Jones' own son, talked. And while there is no universal agreement on minor details as will always be the case with such events, the broad outlines of the story are firmly grounded by Reiterman's completely professional and praiseworthy detached fact and cross-checking. Had I been in Reiterman's shoes, I am not sure I could have achieved the calm dispassion that makes "Raven" such a credible analysis. And the picture that emerges in the six-hundred terrifying pages of this book is a story of sociopathic, narcissistic madness ensnaring not only Jones but the poor people he resolved to take with him on his macabre odyssey, his "death trip."
But, Reiterman's dispassionate reporting does not obscure in the slightest the men, women, and children of the PTAP.Read more ›
Reiterman was one of the reporters to travel in the delegation led by U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan due to concerns expressed by family members that their loved ones were being held against their will in Jonestown. In the ambush that occurred as the delegation was preparing to leave, Ryan and several others were killed, while some - including Reiterman - were wounded and essentially left to die. The culmination of the attack spurred the Rev. Jones in facilitating a mass murder/suicide by cyanide poisoning of more than 900 followers, with Jones dying of a gunshot wound to the head.
In this definitive account of the Rev. Jones and the People Temple, Reiterman utilizes exhaustive research and interviews to provide an understanding of the leader who had humble beginnings in Crete, Indiana, and his early work on integration issues and the founding of his own church. But through his good works, something terrible was building up inside the Rev. Jones.
Reiterman became involved in the Peoples Temple story as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He covered the mysterious local death of a member, which drew public protests by church members. The deceased had been a student of Rep. Ryan's when he taught high school, which then drew his interest into the operations of the church and led to his traveling to Guyana on the fact-finding mission.
The story is as disturbing now as it was 30 years ago and this powerful and moving account tells the tale that ended in "revolutionary suicide" (murder) of children, women and men who were looking for peace and found a nightmare of madness.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've read five or six Jonestown books over the past year, and this is THE ONE to have. In fact, I became so entrenched in this book that I had separation anxiety when I finally... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Midge M
A socialist utopian experiment in a sweltering South American jungle – hundreds of miles from any extensive civilization. Only accessible via air or long boat voyage. Read morePublished 3 months ago by rspivey
This book, tho very well done, is at times a glaringly transparent depiction of unparalleled tragedy in recent history. It's as sad, sick and hollow as it should be, as it was. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Scott
If you are interested in Jim Jones and "his people", this is the book to read!! Very good and accurate,loved this book.Published 4 months ago by True Crime Fan
All I can say is this is THE definitive volume not only on Jonestown but also an amazing amount of depth of background and breadth of sources on Jim Jones. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Riveting! Terrifying! Informative! This is a textbook of the horrors of Jonestown from someone who experienced it, Tim Reiterman. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Oral Carter
Such a well written book, and yet very scary. I was so amazed that not only so many people joined the group, but they continued to stay, even after Jones started to change for the... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kathy Ladd Duran