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Paperback Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple Book

ISBN: 0385489846

ISBN13: 9780385489843

Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

In this haunting and riveting firsthand account, a survivor of Jim Jones's Peoples Temple opens up the shadowy world of cults and shows how anyone can fall under their spell.

"A suspenseful tale of escape that reads like a satisfying thriller.... The most important personal testimony to emerge from the Jonestown tragedy." --Chicago Tribune

A high-level member of Jim Jones's Peoples Temple for seven years, Deborah...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings


Deborah Layton was very corageous and thorough in writing this very interesting book about the Jonestown mass suicide. She was only a young woman when she first got in touch with Jim Jones's temple and got involved deeply with it. The book is written in a way that the reader can follow each step of a member joining the cult, so we can track every single decision made and question it. It is interesting to note, following her narrative, that there seemed to be no highly unreasonable decisions, just a sequence of commitments that drove the temple members deeper and deeper into the psychological orbit of the reverend. From San Francisco to international banking transactions to hide Jim's money, to obsessively worrying about an imminent governemtn attack, the reader follows people who would otherwise be reasonable and kind doing outrageously aggressive and violent actions, even including physical torture. There is also, unexpectedly, a high suspense section in the end, when Deborah escapes the compound in Guyana to try to come back to the US. Though I suppose she is a first time writer, she was quite capable of transmitting the gut wrenching circumstances of her escape. This is an eye opening book, one that you will find yourself thinking about for at least a couple of months after reading it.

BRAVO! A Powerful story of resilience and strength

Deborah Layton's haunting memoir paints a poignant picture of her youth and seven years in the Peoples Temple. This poignant and heart-rendering testament to resiliency and determination is populated with wonderful and memorable characters. I fell in love with the savvy black grandmother, Mary who took Deborah and her mother under her protective wing; Lee, the Jonestown workcamp leader who lent humanity to a horrendous situation; and with Deborah, the lost and misguided innocent who finally gets-it and escapes to warn the world of Jim Jones evil intentions. I gasped, laughed, cried and wiped sweat from my brow as I read on through the night, unable to put this remarkbale book down. BRAVO!

Profound insight into the madness of totalitarian regimes

Seductive Poison, a powerful memoir, leads the reader into the glorious world of Great Expectations and then lets go of our hand. From then on, the reader lives the life the author experienced, as we detour from the lighted path into the darkened cavern where Hope is crushed and fear and madness reign. We believe that it "just can't happen again," but it has and does again and again, in Europe with Hitler, China with Mao, Russia with Stalin and continues now in smaller ways, infringe groups, like the Freeman in Montana, Ruby Ridge, Oklahoma, Waco and San Diego. Unfortunately, there will be more tragedies as the millennium comes to a close unless we stop and listen to someone who knows. Layton's book-- by allowing us access into the world of devotion, loyalty to one master, the darkness of self righteous deceit-- gives the reader insight into the world of Absolute Power and how it corrupts. Few people have the strenghth and courage to escape which makes this book that much more imperitive to read, so that you and I will listen to their warnings when they do.


Once in a life time you find and read a book that changes how you see things and actually makes a difference in your life. This is one of those extraordinary storys. I am an avid reader, love the classics, sometimes peruse the mind candy, and appreciate honesty in the protagonist's voice. In all my readings I have never felt as though I left this world and entered another. Other peoples reviews of this book have mentioned this same experience, the sense of disbelief and yet a glimpse of understanding. What I loved most is the author never once tried to defend her actions and perhaps because of that I became her cheerleader, supporter, and armchair godparent--praying that she would make it out of the devils playground. I knew she escaped and wrote the book, but there were many times in the reading that I believed she'd fail. Seductive Poison is deeply affecting and a terribly important historical document which should be read so we may someday understand a soceital phenomenon that we haven't yet come to grips with yet.
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