JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider's Lookby Laura Johnston Kohl
Laura moved into Peoples Temple in California in 1970, and was an active and enthusiastic member
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Laura Johnston Kohl is a Jonestown and Peoples Temple survivor! When 914 members of Peoples Temple and four visiting Americans died in Guyana, South America on November 18, 1978, Laura Johnston Kohl survived. She was one of 87 who lived through the trauma.
Laura moved into Peoples Temple in California in 1970, and was an active and enthusiastic member until the day it ended. She moved to Guyana in March 1977. She frequently traveled between Georgetown and Jonestown, a 24-hour boat ride, but moved into Jonestown in early 1978. Laura’s survival was a fluke.
It took twenty years for Laura to rebuild her life and have the determination to research how this tragedy could have happened. She reunited with many of the other survivors to put the puzzle pieces together and to get some understanding. It took her another ten years to write her autobiography about her whole live.
Today, Laura has frequent contact with her fellow survivors.
- Kohl, Laura Johnston
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Meet the Author
Laura lived in Peoples Temple for a decade. Her life before the Temple was a mix of activism and masochism. She thought Jim Jones was her Protector - he would keep her from harm as she joined a group of all ages, socioeconomic levels and races. She wanted the world to treat people with dignity. Jim seemed to share that thought. Her autobiography explains what drew her to Peoples Temple, how she survived both in Guyana, and upon her return. Now, in addition to being on the Jonestown Institute's Speakers' Bureau, she travels around the country to universities and conferences.
JONESTOWN SURVIVOR: An Insider’s Look is available in print. Listen to JONESTOWN SURVIVOR PODCAST at http://www.libraryyou.escondido.org/jonestown-survivor.aspx and check out her website www.jonestownsurvivor.com.
Laura’s presentations cover such topics and issues as:
• Surviving tragedy
• Reflections on Peoples Temple
• Group (cult) dynamics – red flags
• US History - 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
• Synanon – a residential community where Laura lived from 1980-1990
• Survivors’ guilt
• Group psychology
• Communal studies
• Bilingual education (Laura is bilingual)
• The cult of personality in leaders
• Quaker activism (Laura is a Quaker)
• The Occupy Movement and activism
Laura’s recent presentations include:
• Penn State U - Political Science, History, and Sociology classes
• SD City College Author Table
• Visalia Society of Friends
• KPOO Radio Interview, San Francisco
• Books, Inc. San Francisco
• San Diego Branch Library Book Talks
• Escondido Pub. Library Panel with Local Authors
• CA Women’s Conference – Host Table
• Cal State San Marcos History Class
• Miramar Coll. Women’s History Month
• Communal Studies Assoc. Conference S
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Nearly unreadable. Mad at myself for spending the money. It would be a good memoir, however, if not for the sloppy formatting.