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A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown - Julia Scheeres Let me begin this review by saying yeah, yeah, this really isn’t the type of book I normally read and review for my blog. In fact, this will probably be one of the stranger things you view here because non-fiction generally isn’t my thing after six years of political textbooks and memoirs about Presidents and Secretaries of State. The Jonestown deaths happened nine years before I was even born, but I’ve read all the books I can get my hands on about it because it is a moment in our past that we really should remember and reflect on, and that includes young women ages 18-30.A THOUSAND LIVES by Julia Scheeres starts with a main point – the people who eventually died with the Peoples Temple in Jonestown did not join a cult. They thought they were joining a church that cared, a group of people who were genuine in their search of equality. What the victims wanted was something genuine and desirable – a world without discrimination and hate. Scheeres uses a mixture of documents collected from Jonestown and the Peoples Temple and firsthand accounts to piece together a story that reads like literary fiction while being all too real. The stories these people tell mix horrifying elements, control, and domination with hope for the future, hope for a better life. The way Scheeres tells the story of Jonestown is perfect, eloquent, and heartwrenching.From the stories of scared teenagers looking for a second chance to elderly women who strove to be equal with the world around them, the stories in A THOUSAND LIVES will make you step back and think about your world and what you would do if you were in their shoes.So yeah, this isn’t my usual blog fare. I mean, yeah, it says in my review policy section that I like books about cults, but I didn’t expect that I would ever post a review of a book about a cult on Book Brats. I never thought that many other people my age with my taste would want to read a book like this besides me. But do I think you should give it a shot.“Those who do not remember history are bound to repeat it.” A quote that Jim Jones used to stir his people, but at the same time, a quote that is so true. If we don’t remember our past, we really are bound to make our mistakes all over again.VERDICT: A stirring retrospective of a deranged leader and the fanaticism that lead to the deaths of hundreds of people looking for real change. A definite must read.