On November 18, 1978, over 900 people died in a murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, drinking cyanide-spiked Flavor-Aid under the rule of Jim Jones, a charismatic preacher espousing racial harmony–and harboring paranoid ideas.
“Drinking the Kool-Aid” has entered our slang as a disparaging dismissal of people who follow others without thinking. But such a massive tragedy turned on much more complex machinations. If you wonder how anyone could follow such a man or participate in such a horrifying act, these books chillingly and heartbreakingly show how people longing for social and racial justice were deceived into a trap with no way out.
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Delving into the lives of victims and survivors as well as Jim Jones’ career, Scheeres sympathetically and accessibly explores day-to-day life in Jonestown and the behind-the–scenes scheming that culminated in a massacre.