Beautiful Revolutionary by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Based on the Jonestown massacre, this book is a fast-paced, concise read. There is always a feeling that you are on the edge of the killing that is to come. Woollett has interviewed the survivors of the event. Jim Jones has celebrity swagger, is eloquent and persuasive, wears dark shades and is handsome. In the 1950s and 60s, Jones began his mission, culminating in November 1978 at his isolated Guyana jungle property. Jim Jones tailors himself as some elite being and takes drugs and sex at will while demoralising his flock. “Both of Lenny’s wives are at the meeting. Both of them have had sex with Jim Jones. You’re not special. Stand up and apologise to these people you have hurt. Yes, you Stand up.’ And, Like a scolded child in her pink minidress…” and he goes on to sickening humiliate this woman. Woollet allows us to understand what attracted followers to the cult initially and why they couldn’t leave when they knew everything had gone wrong, leading to the murder-suicide of 918 members and the murder of 304 children.

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