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Off the Stacks: ‘A Thousand Lives’ by Julia Scheeres

Off the Stacks: ‘A Thousand Lives’ by Julia Scheeres post image

Off the Stacks is a weekly-ish feature where I highlight a nonfiction book I’m curious about but will probably run out of hours in the day to actually read. I’m hoping that by highlighting titles this way, I can encourage other people to give the book a try, and, if it’s great, consider nominating it later this year for the Indie Lit Awards. Consider these books stamped with the “Sophisticated Dorkiness Seal of Curious Approval.”

A Thousand LivesTitle: A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
Author: Julia Scheeres
Publisher: Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster
Nonfiction Type: Narrative History
Topics Covered: Jonestown, politics, 1960s

What It’s About: A Thousand Lives follows five members of Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple – “a middle-class English teacher from Colorado, an elderly African American woman raised in Jim Crow Alabama, a troubled young black man from Oakland, and a working-class father and his teenage son “ – who came to the community for different reasons but ended up fighting for their lives as Jones slowly drew the community into chaos.

Why I Want to Read It: I liked Julia Scheeres memoir Jesus Land, which was about her time at a religious reform school in the Dominican Republic. I think her experiences in that sort of environment will give a lot of insight into this particular exploration of Jonestown and what happened there.

Who Else Might Like It: Historians, those fascinated by fanaticism and escapism

Reviews: Chocolate & Croissants |

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Trisha October 14, 2011, 8:39 am

    The Jim Jones story is certainly fascinating, so I can see why this would make the list. If only we had like five extra unscheduled hours in a day, we could maybe get through our book wishlists. 🙂

    • Kim October 16, 2011, 9:48 am

      Oh yes, five extra hours would be so great. I wish I could just learn to sleep less to read more 🙂

  • Esme October 14, 2011, 5:46 pm

    I quite liked Jesus Land and thought she did a great job with this book.

    • Kim October 16, 2011, 9:48 am

      Oh good, I’m glad to hear that!

  • bermudaonion (Kathy) October 14, 2011, 6:03 pm

    I’m anxious to read this book too.

    • Kim October 16, 2011, 9:49 am

      It looks so good. I’m sure i’ll get to it eventually.

  • Kailana October 15, 2011, 4:23 am

    I saw this on NetGalley and I was tempted, but I tend to get a bit too overloaded with NetGalley books. I think I would rather wait and see if the library gets it. I am glad to hear the author is worth a read. I might have to check into her other book.

    • Kim October 16, 2011, 9:50 am

      I’m so bad with NetGalley — I always want books, but never seem to get through the ones I request before they expire. Jesus Land was a really good, really sad, really interesting book.

  • Vasilly October 15, 2011, 10:33 am

    I have this on my tbr list along with the author’s first book, JesusLand. I know that Carrie from Books and Movies wrote a great review about this.

    Is there a B.A.N.D. topic for this month?

    • Kim October 16, 2011, 9:50 am

      Thanks, I’ll have to go find her review too. Yes, there is going to be BAND – Ash is posting on her blog tomorrow. We got off because of BBAW and hadn’t quite gotten caught up.

  • Amused October 16, 2011, 11:08 am

    This one is in my stacks too and yes I really want to read it. I find this subject fascinating!

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:40 pm

      Yeah, religious cults or that sort of thing always really intrigues me.

  • jennygirl October 17, 2011, 2:42 pm

    I just saw something about the Jonestown suicides/murders and the photos were horrific. I never realized that many people were involved. This would be good to read to get the full story. Thanks!

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:40 pm

      I know very little about Jonestown, but ugh, it does seem terrible.

  • Aths October 17, 2011, 8:04 pm

    I’m reading this one right now. I’m just about halfway in, and hope to finish it this week. It is a good book so far.

    • Kim October 18, 2011, 6:40 pm

      Yay, I’m glad to hear it!