If we are to learn anything of value from the murders and mass suicide at Jonestown, its history must be salvaged from popular myths, which are little more than superficial atrocity tales. In this superb cultural history, John R. Hall presents a reasoned analysis of the meaning of Jonestown: why it happened and how it is tied to our history as a nation, our ideals, our practices, and the tensions of modern culture. Hall deflates the myths of Jonestown by exploring the social character of Jim Jones's Peoples Temple - how much of what transpired was unique to the group and its leader and how much can be explained by reference to wider social processes? The book begins by examining the cultural origins of Jonestown: Who was Jim Jones? Where did he get his ideas and followers? How was his Peoples Temple established? The organizational base of the Temple is analyzed through relevant comparisons with modern institutionalized practices in economics, bureaucracy, social control, public relations, and power. The author then traces the situational causes of the Temple's conflict with its detractors, the collective migration to Guyana, and the mass suicide.
By assessing the degree to which the Peoples Temple was truly an aberration or simply an exaggeration of our society's contradictions, the author deepens our understanding of a modern scape-goat.
"Brimming with new information and vital insight into one of the most horrifying episodes of the 20th century." - Steve Weinberg, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc.; "The mot comprehensive and sociological assessment of Peoples Temple available." - Ernest G. Rigney, Jr., Contemporary Sociology; "Extraordinarily well researched and elegantly argued.... Hall deals with a sensational and frightening topic in a reflective and analytic fashion." - George Lipsitz, Choice"
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 408
Published: 14th May 2004
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.55
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: New edition