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Snake Dance: Unravelling the Mysteries of Jonestown Paperback – October 15, 1998


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Paperback, October 15, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Red Robin Press (October 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1552122077
  • ISBN-13: 978-1552122075
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,230,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christine Gleason on January 22, 2006
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Snake Dance is a Publish On Demand book, and even a cursory glance explains why POD has become, in many circles, synonymous with vanity press. No reputable publisher would have accepted this manuscript, much less have published it without substantial revision and editing. Even completely overhauled, the premise of the book is so preposterous that it is doubtful that it would have made the publishing grade. She claims repeatedly that she is a highly-accomplished writer. Perhaps she is, but if so, she did not bother to utilize her skills even once throughout this book.

In addition, it is difficult to like Ms Kahalas as she spends much of the book whining about having been mistreated, first by her mother, and then by Jim Jones, who, oddly enough, then becomes a paragon once he reaches Jonestown.

Her intent in the book seems to be to prove that Jonestown was Utopia, and that outside forces (read CIA) were determined to wipe it out. She puts forth many ideas to prove her supposition. Unfortunately they simply do not hold up under examination.

One of the primary items that she uses is the Port Kaituma footage. Ms Kahalas states that the assassins were outsiders, probably CIA, and clearly professional. She bases this on what she states is the fact that all the killers wore identical clothing, and immediately fanned out into a military formation to undertake the murders. It may be that when this book was written, the NBC footage was not widely disseminated, making it impossible for the average reader to prove or disprove her statement. Unfortunately for her, over the last eight years, the footage has become available to anyone who cares to download it. The footage of the murders is approximately five seconds long.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Researchette on December 28, 2002
I've read more on Jonestown than most people can imagine, and this book is the most blatant piece of post-Guyana Temple ... you could imagine. Not only is the grammar and syntax positively abysmal, but this woman is so disorganized that she really hasn't the slightest idea as to what she wants to say. She claims the entire shooting of Leo Ryan and the reporters was carried about by the U.S. government in a half-substantiated argument and produces a 400-page waste of "Jim Jones was a victim". Oh, right. Try telling that to Al and Jeanne Mills, or the Concerned Relatives, or even the survivors. This book is ...., pure and simple.
A TRULY informative read is Tim Reiterman's "RAVEN". Not only is it magnificently produced, but he was an eyewitness to the shootings and recounts his story in painstaking detail. Oh, and as a side note, his work is actually easy to read. It's a biography of Jim Jones that weaves and winds its way into an incredible story. This woman---and all of you---should take a look.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 30, 1999
This book may have some interesting comments, but is so badly written that any valid points are lost. It is apparently unedited, there are many errors in grammar and usage. The exclamation point is used as often as the period.
Any information gleaned from this book comes at such great effort as to not be worth it. One must also get over a dislike of the author, who spends many pages whining about her childhood. It may have very well been horrid, but I can't tell from this writing.
A real chore to read.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 12, 2004
I'll second the previous comments that this book is incredibly hard to read. Poor language and grammer run rampant throughout . I'll let you put two and two together and draw the obvious conclusion that this woman is not a lasting monument to intelligence and that anything she says should be taken with a gigantic grain of salt. She is clearly an incredibly gullible woman.
That being said the arguement that the press, CIA and FBI had it in for the Church is incoherently argued and is simply ridiculous. It's also a common arguement of utopian left wing types who look for extraneous reasons for their world's collapsing. Stalin (not to neccessarily equate the two) used the excuse of sabateurs for their poor society to purge the ranks of the USSR.
Of course there are segments of our society who will believe whatever she says simply because they want it to be true, and they have managed to write some glowing reviews for this book. This makes me sick as near 1,000 people died for this idiocy. Needless to say, they should be ashamed.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By michelle tunya on March 20, 2000
I found SNAKE DANCE to be a truly fascinating book with interesting evidence and a different point of view. I think the abuse and misuse of power whether it be Jim Jones or the media was perfectly presented by the author. The author is obviously a spiritual person that had hopes along with so many of her peers of creating "a better life." I thought the book was a perfect balance to the information we've received all these years about "Jonestown". I for one salute the valiant efforts this author made to take a stand about a part of history that most of us were fed by media. I also hope that the original humanitarian ideas that were wholesome about that community will continue to live on in our future generations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sylviastel VINE VOICE on March 24, 2009
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I will admit reading this book has been a challenge. The author, Laurie Efrein Kahalas, paints a portrait of her life before meeting Jim Jones in San Francisco in April 1970. I will admit that I am skeptical of Laurie's beliefs in Jonestown, Jim Jones, and the People's Temple but her account is vital in understanding how Jones operated his devout following including Laurie Efrein and how the circumstances of her own personal life led to being one of the few survivors if only by accident. I don't believe she has truly healed nor will ever from the Jonestown experience and being a member of the People's Temple. Her prior relationships with her family and male lovers indicated that she desperately wanted a place to belong and be loved unconditionally. She came from a dysfunctional family and through circumstances ended up in San Francisco in 1970.
I agree that the writing is poorly written and sometimes repetitious as well. She is vague in some areas and doesn't detail enough. Regardless, she details plenty about Jones, Jonestown, and the People's Temple. Of course, I disagree with her on Jones and other issues but she does build an argument in his defense.
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