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The Suicide Cult: Inside Story of the People's Temple Sect and the Massacre in Guyana Paperback – December, 1978


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group (December 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553129201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553129205
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,235,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was one of a kind regarding the many books I have read covering the Jonestown massacres. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I was unable to put it down. I felt as if I were there the authors did such a vivid job covering those horrible days leading to the final holocaust over in Guyana. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who would like a fact based view of those final days over there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Cannon on April 4, 2014
Format: Paperback
How soon we forget! All who have commented on this book have ignored an oddity of publication -- an oddity that was very apparent when this volume first appeared in grocery store book racks. The Jonestown massacre occurred on November 18, 1978. This book (and its companion volume, Guyana Massacre) was published and distributed in December of 1978 -- rather early in the month, if memory serves. Remember, these were the days before computers; journalists used typewriters and publishers used cumbersome typesetting machines. Most new books have a lead time of half a year to a year.

In 1978, a lot of people quipped that these two books must have been written before the event. That was just a commonly-heard joke, of course -- nevertheless, some folks who might otherwise have taken the Jonestown story at face value started to wonder if there might not be something more to the story.

That was -- wow, 36 years ago. A long time. But in all of that time, has there ever been a similar example of two "insta-books" suddenly appearing on every newsrack and in every bookstore in America?

Now, it is true that the reporters who wrote this book had been covering Jim Jones for some time. They could draw on a lot of research material compiled before the tragedy. It's also true that this is a rather slim volume. Still, writing an entire book, then physically producing it, then distributing it so widely -- all within weeks! -- is, one must admit, an impressive achievement, especially when we consider the technology available at the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By likes good books, music, movies on April 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Instructive tome on the life, times, and death of the Rev. Jim Jones, who replaced the Bible with his toxic brew of socialism and religion in which he served as prophet, messiah, and king, all of them false.
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By Unknown on December 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Detailed look into a disturbing subject matter. Does a fantastic job telling the story of Jim Jones' rise to power and never lets you forget how horrible the conditions were for the unfortunate souls that got hooked up with his cult. It's much more dark than the title suggests, in only 200 pages it chronicles every important aspect of the group and the twisted mind of it's leader.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
...and one that is written from the inside out I would also suggest SEDUCTIVE POISON by Deborah Layton. It has received incredible reviews both on-line and in print. It is a insider's riveting accountof how and why people were caught up in this humanitarian organization. JimJones was a well respected politician and Reverend in teh early 70's and many young Vietnam protesting rebels joined him.What had seemed like a Humanitarian organization soon turned darker and 900 of his more than 3,000 members found themselves isolated in a jungle and suddenly unable to leave. VERY POWERFUL!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The main problem with this book is that it was obviously written as a way to cash in on the tragedy. The book is full of half-truths that could have been avoided if only the writers had waited until the facts of the case had come out. Perhaps in 1979 this book was in some sense useful, because it would have given some very basic facts about the Peoples Temple and Jonestown, even with some of the inaccuracies. There certainly was no in-depth analysis to think about how such a thing could happen, other than to dismiss the people as crazy cultists. "Cult" is an accurate label for groups like the Peoples Temple, but only if that label is defined and qualified. The sense in which this book uses the word "cult" is just to use it like a four letter word full of emotive substance, but little value otherwise.

This book is of value if you are trying to get a sense of early post-massacre Jonestown literature, but it has little lasting value in terms of Jonestown literature. If you are looking for an introductory work on Peoples Temple look at Julia Scheeres "A Thousand Lives."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
very well written show what happens when people unable to think for themselves turn their lives over to a madman like Jones.
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