AVAILABLE OCTOBER 11, 2011
A Thousand Lives: PRAISE
A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2011
A Boston Globe Best Book of 2011
“It's hard to imagine how people might be so browbeaten, afraid and misled that they would bring about their own deaths — but Scheeres has made that terrifying story believable and human.” —The Miami Herald
“This is a more personal account than we have had before of religious feelings channeled into self-destruction… (a) full and balanced portrait.”
—The Columbus Post Dispatch
"The revelations of [A Thousand Lives] shine through our everyday relationships to war, our politics, our beliefs and our own actions. This is a strikingly relevant book."
—The San Francisco Sunday Chronicle Book Review
"Gripping."—The Globe and Mail
“Meticulously researched, and written with clear-eyed, sensitive perspective.”
—The San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Scheeres’s account of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown, founded on new and overlooked FBI records, brings clarity…no other writer has chronicled so forcefully how much help Jones had in engineering death.”
"A gripping account of how decent people can be taken in..."
—The New York Times
"Chilling and heart-wrenching, this is a brilliant testament to Jones's victims, so many of whom were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time."
—Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Scheeres shows great compassion and journalistic skill in reconstructing Jonestown’s last months and the lives of many Temple members (including a few survivors)...[A Thousand Lives is a] well-written, disturbing tale of faith and evil."
"Scheeres convincingly portrays the members of this community as victims, not fools. It's hard to imagine how people might be so browbeaten, afraid and misled that they would bring about their own deaths—but Scheeres has made that terrifying story believable and human."
—Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Jonestown has become a grim metaphor for blind obedience—for fanaticism without regard to consequences. In the aptly titled A Thousand Lives, Julia Scheeres captures the humanity within this terrible story, vividly depicting individuals trapped in a vortex of hope and fear, faith and loss of faith, not to mention the changes sweeping America in the 1960s and '70s. She makes their journeys to that unfathomable tragedy all too real; what was truly incredible, she shows, was the escape from death by a tiny handful of survivors. Drawing on a mountain of sources compiled and recently released by the FBI, she changes forever the way we think about this dark chapter of our history."
—T.J. Stiles, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
"For those who can picture only the gory end of Jonestown, Julia Scheeres offers a heartbreaking and often inspiring glimpse of what might have been. Her masterfully told and exhaustively researched A Thousand Lives should stand not only as the definitive word on Jones’ horrific machinations, but on the utopian dreams of a bygone generation. A worthy follow-up to her superb memoir, Jesus Land."
—Tom Barbash, author of On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11: A Story of Loss and Renewal
“The definitive book on Jonestown and the Danse Macabre of suicide and murder orchestrated by mad Jim Jones. Julia Scheeres takes us by the hand and leads us gently, inexorably, into the darkness.”
—Tim Cahill, author of Lost in My Own Backyard
“I thought I knew the story of Jonestown, but in reading A Thousand Lives discovered that much of what I'd read and heard was pure myth. Through meticulous research, beautiful writing and great compassion, Scheeres presents an engrossing account of how Jim Jones' followers—eager parishioners who yearned for a more purposeful life and were willing to work for it—found themselves trapped in a nightmare of unfathomable proportions. This book serves as testimony to the seductiveness of religious fervor, and how in the wrong hands it can be used to nefarious ends. It is also a poignant and unforgettable tribute to those who lost their lives and to those few who survived.”
—Allison Hoover Bartlett, author of the bestselling The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession
“This the best book in a good long time on the dangers of fanatical faith, the power of group belief and lure of deep certainties. These demons that haunt the human mind can only be countered by facing them with courage and honesty – this is precisely what Scheeres has done.”
—Ethan Watters, author of Crazy Like Us