Forget what you think you know about Jonestown

October 13th, 2011

Occasionally there are events, that even 33 years latter, we remember as if they were yesterday.   When this happens, its usually because of both the enormity of the event, as well as some deeper resonance inherent in that event itself.

Such was the massacre of one thousand people in Jonestown on November 18, 1978. What perplexes us to this day is both how so many people, from diverse backgrounds, could be taken in by one demagogue and how could that man who was once the darling of San Francisco in the early ‘70s and a human rights activist, become so deranged. In understanding this perhaps we’ll have a keener insight into both the human need to belong and into individual psychopathology

With the benefit of 50,000 pages of recently declassified documents, Julia Scheeres takes us back to that fateful time in A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown. My conversation with Julia Scheeres: