Raven (book)

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For other books, see Raven (disambiguation).
Raven
Raven book.jpg
Front cover
Author Tim Reiterman with John Jacobs
Country United States
Language English
Subject Destructive cults
Mass suicide
Genre Nonfiction
Publisher E. P. Dutton
Publication date
October 1, 1982
Media type Hardback (first ed.)
Pages 622
ISBN 0-525-24136-1
OCLC 7837655
289.9 19
LC Class BP605.P46 R44 1982

Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People details the life and ultimate demise of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. Written by journalist Tim Reiterman, the book reviews the history of the Peoples Temple. The book includes numerous interviews, audio tapes and documents among its hundreds of sources.[1]

Background[edit]

In addition to covering the Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple in articles in the San Francisco Examiner, Reiterman also accompanied Congressman Leo Ryan on his November 1978 investigative trip to Jonestown.[2] While Reiterman was shot, he survived the Peoples Temple's attack on Ryan's delegation at an airstrip in Guyana.[3]

Research[edit]

During the course of his research for the book, Reiterman traveled to Indiana and visited locations where Jim Jones grew up and conducted interviews with local residents who knew him.[2]

Contents[edit]

The book describes the events that occurred in Jonestown, Guyana, where over 900 people lost their lives, which constituted the largest loss of American civilian life (other than due to natural disasters) in United States history until the events of September 11, 2001.[4] The book further describes the investigation and death of Congressman Ryan.[5]

Reception[edit]

In 1983, Raven was recognized with the Thomas Thompson PEN Award for nonfiction.[6][7] Marshall Kilduff of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote highly of the book and recommended it in a 2007 summer reading list: "This stands as the definitive history of Jim Jones and his bizarre Peoples Temple."[8] Rob Morse of the San Francisco Examiner wrote: "The book is so definitive, it's tough going. It has no cheap thrills, just depressing shivers."[9] In a review for the Associated Press, Lisa Levitt Ryckman called the book "the most comprehensive of the dozen written since Jones directed his followers in an orgy of suicide and murder",[10] and in a subsequent article about Jonestown reiterated her position, and referred to the book as the "definitive book on Jones and Peoples Temple".[11]

The book received a positive review in Library Journal, and reviewer Barbara Conaty wrote: "This compelling, brutally convincing account is unlikely to be surpassed."[12] Barbara Bright of The New York Times Book Review described the book as a "powerfully written and well-researched book, documenting a peculiarly American tragedy".[13] A review in Choice called the book "Good supplementary reading for a number of college courses, and valuable for general adult reading, it is strongly recommended for all libraries," and commented "Reiterman's methods and sources are sufficiently described to certify Raven as a serious work."[14] Herbert A. Michelson of The Sacramento Bee described Raven as : "a critically acclaimed study of the Peoples Temple".[15]

Bob MacDonald of The Boston Globe characterized the book as an "excellent inquiry" into the deaths at Jonestown.[16] In a review in National Review, David Evanier wrote: "Raven does not explain Jones ... But through its accumulation of excellent details, he is understood by the book's end, without apology, exaggeration, superfluous information, or psychoanalysis."[17] Jordan Robertson of the Associated Press called Raven the "seminal book on the Peoples Temple".[18] Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Michael Taylor characterized the work as an "exhaustive study",[19] and Stephen G. Bloom of the Sacramento Bee called it "an exhaustive biography of Jim Jones".[20]

Raven has been used as a reference in other books discussing the events surrounding Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Henry Warner Bowden used the book as a reference in the entry on Jim Jones in Dictionary of American Religious Biography.[21] Harold Barrett utilized Raven as a reference in his book Rhetoric and Civility, and described it as "a thorough, highly detailed and documented account".[22] Eugene V. Gallagher and W. Michael Ashcraft referenced the book in their work Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America, where they referred to it as "an engaging journalistic account".[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reiterman, Tim; John Jacobs (1982). Raven: The Untold Story of Reverend Jim Jones and His People. Dutton. pp. 581–610. ISBN 0-525-24136-1. 
  2. ^ a b Sheeley, Rachel E. (November 16, 2003). "Jonestown: 25 Years Later". Palladium-Item. p. 7A. 
  3. ^ Robertson, Jordan (April 23, 2006). "Two Documentaries Revisit Jonestown". Associated Press. 
  4. ^ Rapaport, Richard (November 16, 2003). "Jonestown and City Hall slayings eerily linked in time and memory". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  5. ^ Brazil, Jeff (December 16, 1999). "Jonestown's Horror Fades but Mystery Remain". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Staff (May 25, 2000). "John Jacobs; Columnist, Award-Winning Author". Los Angeles Times. p. B8. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  7. ^ Sward, Susan (May 25, 2000). "John Jacobs – Political Writer, Big-Hearted Man". San Francisco Chronicle (The Chronicle Publishing Co). p. C2. 
  8. ^ Kilduff, Marshall (July 2, 2007). "Personal Perspective: A summer reading list". San Francisco Chronicle. p. B6. 
  9. ^ Morse, Rob (March 28, 1997). "The Truth Is Even Further Out There". San Francisco Examiner. p. A1. 
  10. ^ Levitt Ryckman, Lisa (November 17, 1982). "Jim Jones: Resurrected In Book Four Years After Guyana Tragedy". Associated Press. 
  11. ^ Ryckman, Lisa Levitt (Associated Press) (November 13, 1988). "A Jonestown Story - Tragedy in Guyana". Sun-Sentinel (Sun-Sentinel Company). p. 1G. 
  12. ^ Conaty, Barbara (October 1, 1982). "Raven". Library Journal 107: 1890. 
  13. ^ Bright, Barbara (December 26, 1982). "Raven". The New York Times Book Review (The New York Times Company) 88: 9. 
  14. ^ "Raven". CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries 20: 1007. March 1, 1983.  ISSN 0009-4978
  15. ^ Michelson, Herbert A. (September 17, 1986). "New Trial To Begin In Jonestown Killings". The Sacramento Bee. p. B5. 
  16. ^ MacDonald, Bob (November 18, 1982). "Review Book A Look Back At Jonestown Mass Suicide". The Boston Globe (Globe Newspaper Company). 
  17. ^ Evanier, David (April 16, 1982). "Raven". National Review 34: 428–430. 
  18. ^ Robertson, Jordan (Associated Press) (April 25, 2006). "Revisiting Jonestown, at long last". The Star-Ledger. p. 22. 
  19. ^ Taylor, Michael (November 12, 1998). "Jones Captivated S.F.'s Liberal Elite - They were late to discover how cunningly he curried favor". San Francisco Chronicle (The Chronicle Publishing Co.). p. A1. 
  20. ^ Bloom, Stephen G. (November 13, 1988). "'I Wanted To Believe; I Felt Ecstasy At Peoples Temple,' Survivor Recalls - 10 Years After 913 Died, Jonestown Still Mystery". Sacramento Bee. p. A1. 
  21. ^ Bowden, Henry Warner (1993). Dictionary of American Religious Biography: Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 276–277. ISBN 0-313-27825-3. 
  22. ^ Barrett, Harold (1991). Rhetoric and Civility: Human Development, Narcissism, and the Good Audience. SUNY Press. p. 176. ISBN 0-7914-0483-8. 
  23. ^ Gallagher, Eugene V.; W. Michael Ashcraft (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 113. ISBN 0-275-98712-4. 

External links[edit]