- Paperback: 410 pages
- Publisher: Red Robin Press (October 15, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1552122077
- ISBN-13: 978-1552122075
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,037,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Snake Dance: Unravelling the Mysteries of Jonestown 0th Edition
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The author admits that she was never in Guyana. She experienced the deaths of her friends in California, where she continued to organize the work of the Temple there. Still, her grief and confusion are palpable, and she asks a lot of questions that remain to be answered. Her questions are valid. There were no autopsies. Nothing in the "official story" was ever proven. It was accepted at face value, spoon-fed to the rest of us by the media that continues to feed us whatever it wants us to know.
And we continue to drink the kool-ade. Even all these years later, when we know full well what the government was (and remains) capable of, we continue to believe that all those deaths were mind-controlled suicides. No trial, no evidence, no witnesses - just what we were told to believe. It worked so well then, they continue to do it today.
The official story doesn't make sense. It didn't make sense then, and it doesn't make sense now. And I wasn't even there. Laurie Efrein Kahalas was at least part of the Temple. She knew the players, and she knew what they stood for and what they were - and were not - capable of.
She may not have all the information. I'm sure Jim Jones didn't have all the information about what was going on in and with Jonestown. There is information I have found elsewhere that is not in this book - but an awful lot of it is. There are reasons to ask questions. That's what Kahalas is saying.
It is the most important thing anyone has ever said about Jonestown. I hope it continues to be said.The Children of Jonestown
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. Nonetheless, it is long enough to see that the armed killers are disembarking from the trailer wearing different clothing. As for the supposed military formation, the screen goes to snow before any formation is underway, assuming any took place at all. This claim is simply untrue and completely contrary to the known facts.
There are other glaring omissions, misstatements, and simple grand leaps of logic throughout the book that make it obvious that this woman simply cannot be believed. She makes it clear that she never once set foot in Jonestown, yet she puts forth her view of what the camp was like as though she lived there.
If you are looking for a book that proves that Jim Jones' followers committed mass suicide because they were air-headed flakes, this book is for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a sympathetic or realistic view of what happened, Hall's "Gone From the Promised Land" Rietermann's "Raven" or anything by Rebecca Moore would be a far better choice.
The fact that nearly one thousand people died in Jonestown, makes this piece of self-aggrandizing garbage offensive to anyone with human feeling.
For those naysayers who really want to know if the basic premise of this book is true, research the testimony of the pathologist at Guyana who examined most of the corpses, Dr. Leslie Mootoo... who left an indelible record that they had all been, forcibly, either shot or injected with poison between the shoulder blades and in the neck. They did NOT drink the Koolade... we, the public did. A rare book, a rare insight, that alone makes it a worthwhile part of the People's Temple history.