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Update I finished the book. I dont think it was the definitive story of what happened in Jonestown even though it is probably the most exhaustive. There was too much personal interpretation by the author that was based on her emotional interpretation of the evidence (of which there was plenty) rather than any proper analysis. This isnt necessarily wrong, its her book. But it doesnt, to me, explain how and why the majority of people committed murder/suicide and why the church in San Francisco was so uninvolved. Sheeres attitude towards Jim Jones was that he was an evil controlling Hitler character whose front persona was that he was a Christian pioneer of true racial and gender equality who deteriorated into (fake) paranoid madness.I felt he was even as a young man suffering from grandiose delusional disorder. The DSM-IV-TR criteria for this include grossly abnormal exaggerated beliefs of:self-worthpowerknowledgeidentityand an exceptional relationship to a divinity or famous person.Every single one of those fits Jim Jones from the time he became a preacher, gathered a congregation, built a church and told them he had a direct line to God, had been sent by God and knew Gods will. (That rather sounds like an awful lot of preachers doesnt it?) Before the event, many people wanted to leave and were punished in horrible ways, drugged, locked in isolation chambers, violently beaten and more. But some people did leave. They just walked out and turned up in the US a few days later. Even on the night of the massacre, some escaped. Some. Why not more? They killed their children and watched them die horrible, agonising deaths and then killed themselves. If they really believed in revolutionary suicide why was the church in San Francisco so uninvolved? It was an interesting book, a bit too interpretative rather than factual in parts and, as the cliche goes, raised as many questions as it answered. And still that sentence jarred on me and I never found the author objective or as credible after I read it as before. 3.5 stars.____________________You know how when you are reading, a single sentence can jar on you and make you doubt the veracity or at least the direction of book? Im about three-quarters of the way through A Thousand Lives; Jim Jones life can be summed by the cliché, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Just as in reading Leah Reminis Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology and thinking this is yet another hatchet job on Scientology, was it all just threats and fear that keep people Scientologists, I was thinking the same about Jonestown. Maybe. Jones kept their passports, semi-starved them due to lack of agricultural knowledge for tropical rainforest and threatened them with death if they should leave. But then I read the sentence, The lack of roughage gave Edith and many others, chronic constipation. Because Jones was too cheap to buy real medicine, health-workers passed out green papaya or plantain as a laxative, but this did little to help.The too cheap is the attitude of the author. Also her attitude towards the reader. Did she not think some of us might be from the tropics and well aware of these fruits and their health benefits? Green papaya makes the most delicious salads and pickles and plantains are a staple of West Indian cooking and well-known, especially green papaya, as a laxative. (view spoiler)[Guyana is geographically in South America, but its culture is entirely Caribbean (hide spoiler)]

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