Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Templeby Rebecca Moore
Pub. Date: 03/30/2009
Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
Most people understand Peoples Temple through its violent end in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, where more than 900 Americans committed murder and suicide in a jungle commune. Media coverage of the event sensationalized the group and obscured the background of those who died. The view that emerged thirty years ago continues to dominate understanding of Jonestown today,… See more details below
Most people understand Peoples Temple through its violent end in Jonestown, Guyana in 1978, where more than 900 Americans committed murder and suicide in a jungle commune. Media coverage of the event sensationalized the group and obscured the background of those who died. The view that emerged thirty years ago continues to dominate understanding of Jonestown today, despite dozens of books, articles, and documentaries that have appeared. This book provides a fresh perspective on Peoples Temple and Jonestown, locating the group within the context of religion in America and offering a contemporary history that corrects the inaccuracies often associated with the group and its demise.
Although Peoples Temple has some of the characteristics many associate with cults, it also shares many characteristics of Black Religion in America. Moreover, it is crucial to understand the organization within the social and political movements of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Race, class, colonialism, gender, and other issues dominated the times, and so dominated the consciousness of the members of Peoples Temple. Here, Moore, who lost three family members in the events in Guyana, offers a framework of U.S. social, cultural, and political history that helps readers better understand Peoples Temple and its members.
- Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
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- Product dimensions:
- 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Beyond White Trash
Chapter 2. California Dreamin
Chapter 3. The Promised Land
Chapter 4. Fighting Monsters
Chapter 5. The Abyss
Chapter 6. Preserving the Ultimate Concern
Chapter 7. Dehumanizing the Dead
Chapter 8. Jonestown Re-Enters American Culture
Chapter 9. Making Meaning After Jonestown
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I have been doing reasurch on Jonestown for over a year and found this to be useful. Also a great book to read if you are looking for a non-fiction read.
I really enjoyed this book and have already read several other books on The Peoples Temple, including the most comprehensive book, RAVEN, also SEDUCTIVE POISON, A THOUSAND LIVES and DEAR PEOPLE:REMEMBERING JONESTOWN. The author, Rebecca Moore gives the most up to date account of Jonestown (2009) with many references for further readings while the other books are very dated. One thing to note, the title of this book has the words "understanding Jonestown" but it could have instead been titled, "An Empathetic account of The Peoples Temple". Rebecca Moore at times tries to justify why this ended in tragedy. She takes backhanded stabs at White People, The Media, authors of other books, Capitalism, Racism, the US government, various government agencies and yet gives everyone in Jonestown a pass. They did this because others are too blame..... On page 101, Rebecca Moore wrote, "They perished rather than abandon their commitment. For them the choice was clear: they chose death over betrayal, and loyalty over survival". Too bad Rebecca Moore fails to mention, that 304 children were murdered, they did not commit suicide. I suppose murder is justified if you are Rebecca Moore. If you can tolerate many of her social justice excuses, it is still a worthwhile book to read. Note, other than the cover, there are no photos inside this book.