Wednesday March 18th, 2009

Raven by Tim Reiterman

ravenRecommended by Ray in San Antonio, Texas.
The study of Reverend Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple has become a cottage industry. I’ve read the majority of the books written on the subject, but none are as captivating and thorough as Tim Reiterman’s definitive Raven. Reiterman is uniquely qualified to tell the story of Jonestown. He was one of the handful of California journalists who first tried to pull the veil away to reveal the real and complex workings of Peoples Temple in the mid and late ’70s. Reiterman was in Jonestown the night before the end. His firsthand description of that night is visceral and gripping. The next morning he lay shot on a desolate airstrip at Port Kaituma and left for dead (along with other journalists and congressman Leo Ryan, who is the only congressman in the history of the United States to be murdered while in office) by Jonestown paramilitary assassins. The original book was written only a couple of years after the events of Jonestown, but Reiterman has updated it in a new printing.