Book Review: Stories From Jonestown

In November 1978, the world watched in shock and horror as the bodies of over 900 people were discovered at a remote settlement in Guyana. Most of the victims were members of an American socialist movement called the People’s Temple and committed suicide under the instruction of the group’s leader, Jim Jones. The mass suicide (or murder, according to some observers) in “Jonestown” followed the killings of five others at Jones’ behest, including United States Congressman Leo Ryan.

Emmy-nominated writer Leigh Fondakowski spent three years travelling the United States interviewing survivors of the Jonestown tragedy. These discussions provide the basis for Fondakowski’s book Stories From Jonestown, where former members of the People’s Temple share their stories of traumatisation, stigmatization and loss.

In addition to presenting these survivor stories, Stories From Jonestown is also a testimony of Fondakowski’s own personal journey of discovery and empathy.

Purchasing information for Stories From Jonestown can be found here.

(Special thanks to Heather Skinner of University of Minnesota Press)

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