Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People

Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People

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by Tim Reiterman
     
 

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For the first time in paperback, Tim Reiterman’s Raven provides the definitive history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown three decades ago. This PEN Award–winning work explores the ideals-gone-wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of

Overview

For the first time in paperback, Tim Reiterman’s Raven provides the definitive history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown three decades ago. This PEN Award–winning work explores the ideals-gone-wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of South America. Reiterman’s reportage clarifies enduring misperceptions of the character and motives of Jim Jones, the reasons why people followed him, and the important truth that many of those who perished at Jonestown were victims of mass murder rather than suicide.

This widely sought work is restored to print after many years with a new preface by the author, as well as the more than sixty-five rare photographs from the original volume.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The seminal book on the story of Jonestown.” —Associated Press

“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

David Evanier
Unquestionably emerges as the most valuable book on Jonestown to date . . . Every piece of the puzzle is here.
National Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585426782
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
11/13/2008
Pages:
688
Sales rank:
241,771
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 8.92(h) x 1.54(d)
Age Range:
18 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Preface

Three decades have passed since more than 900 Americans suffered horrible deaths in the jungle of the impoverished South American country of Guyana. The events in Jonestown on November 18, 1978, orchestrated by a charismatic preacher named Jim Jones and triggered by the slaying of a United States congressman on a nearby airstrip, have long ago moved from worldwide headlines to the pages of history. Yet fascination with the final days of Jonestown and the life of Jones has persisted over the years.

One of the most shocking and baffling events of the last century, the demise of Peoples Temple has been chronicled in books, movies, documentaries, plays, scholarly studies and countless television retrospectives. The images of an American tragedy on foreign soil — poisoned punch squirted down the throats of infants, families locked in final embrace, mounds of bodies bloated in the tropical heat — have endured in print, photos, video footage and memory.

Jonestown has come to symbolize unfathomable depravity, the outermost limits of what human beings can visit on each other and themselves, the ultimate power of a leader over his followers. Although complex and elusive, the reasons for the collapse of the Temple’s utopian dream into a hellish nightmare have been reduced again and again to a simplistic interpretation: a Svengali led his compliant, even robotic, flock to mass suicide. But Peoples Temple was more than a creation of one man’s vision. The Temple was a product of its time and the search for alternative religions and social relevance in the post-civil rights and post-Vietnam eras. Its story also speaks to the timeless yearnings of the human spirit for a sense of belonging, to be part of something larger than ourselves.

Above the wooden, throne-like chair from which Jones lorded over his people hung a sign that said: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’’ However, remembering the past is one thing, understanding it quite another. And this volume endeavors to do both, while piercing the many myths that have shrouded the truth about Jones, his followers, and the remote agricultural settlement that bore his name.

—Tim Reiterman
2008

What People are saying about this

Daniel Schorr
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.
From the Publisher
“The seminal book on the story of Jonestown.” —Associated Press

“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

Meet the Author

Tim ReitermanN is a prizewinning journalist who extensively covered Jonestown for The San Francisco Examiner. He was wounded in the jungle airstrip attack that killed Representative Leo Ryan, plus three reporters and a temple defector. Reiterman has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and other national broadcasts. In the past two years, he was featured in a History Channel docudrama about the final days of Jonestown, as well as an Oscar— nominated documentary on Jonestown for PBS's American Experience. Reiterman writes for the Los Angeles Times. His collaborator John Jacobs was a widely respected journalist who died in 2000.

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Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Haunting and disturbing. I bought this for my husband, a history buff, and he was too disturbed by the content to finish it. I read it instead, and while it is difficult (emotionally) to read, it is extremely well written and researched. I had a difficult time putting it down. If you can handle the subject matter, this is a very interesting book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I actually have one of the first hard back books and have read it many times over the years. It takes you inside the temple from the very begining to the horrifing end. It shows how his mental health took him from a good man to a monster. It also shows how a normal person can be attracted to what becomes a cult. I will buy the paperback of this book so i can loan it to others . Really is a must read.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I hate dentists.
karen63Kl More than 1 year ago
Very readable. Written by someone who actually knew Jim Jones. Show the disintigration of his personality and his descent into madness. Answers some of the questions that have lingered for years.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hands down the best tell-all true crime novel i've ever read! Absolutely fascinating- couldn't put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the most credible account of the life and atrocities of jim jones ever written. If you want the truth and if you can deal with the darkness of this extremely satanic monster, read this book. It is at least good to know a few people escaped, not the least of which was his own biological son stevan. I hope he is doing well. He was one of only a few that tried to stand between his father and the evil his father constantly perpetrated.
Kamina33 More than 1 year ago
Deep, dark and will leave you wondering how such a man could have sooo much power.
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