I was born in 1983 and therefore, did not know much about the Jonestown massacre of November 18, 1977 prior to reading A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres. Drawn in by my preference for true accounts, I was at once fascinated by the history of the Peoples’ Temple and horrified at the inevitable disaster; I could not stay away from this book.
Jim Jones was attracted to organized religion from a young age and found acceptance there that he lacked elsewhere in his life. He began preaching early on – on street corners to whomever would listen – and eventually opened his own church in Indiana. People flocked to Jones’ charisma, perceived healing powers and message of equility that rang true with many African Americans in the 1960’s.
Jones’ popularity grew as did church attendance, and he