Nonfiction books on Peoples Temple by year of publication

"The Suicide Cult: The Inside Story of the Peoples Temple Sect and the Massacre in Guyana", book coverThe list below is of all published books about Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Originally compiled by Denice Stephenson of the California Historical Society, it is now updated by the editors of this site. The books are listed according to the date of publication.

Articles from the jonestown report which discuss a number of the works listed below appear in the Jonestown in the Arts section on the Non-Fiction Books page.


  1. Kilduff, Marshall. The Suicide Cult: The Inside Story of the Peoples Temple Sect and the Massacre in Guyana. New York: Bantam Books, 1978.

  2. Knerr, Michael E. Suicide in Guyana. New York: Belmont Tower Books, 1978.

  3. Krause, Charles A., with Laurence M. Stern, Richard Harwood and the staff of The Washington PostGuyana Massacre: The Eyewitness Account. New York: Berkley, 1978.

  4. Maguire, John. Hold Hands and Die: The Incredibly True Story of the Peoples Temple and the Reverend Jim Jones. New York: Dale Books, 1978.


  1. U.S. 96th Congress, First Session. Leo J. Ryan, Late a Representative from California. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1979.

  2. Dem, Marc. Le Demon de Guyana. Paris: H. Veyrier, 1979.

  3. Hirschman, Jack. The Jonestown Arcane. San Francisco: Poetry for the People, 1979. Reprinted in La Jolla, CA: Writing Series, 1991.

  4. Lewis, Gordon K. Gather with the Saints at the River: The Jonestown Guyana Holocaust 1978. Rio Piedras, PR: Institute of Caribbean Studies, 1979.

  5. Mills, Jeannie. Six Years with God: Life Inside Reverend Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple. New York: A & W Publishers, 1979.

  6. Nichols, Norma. Potpourri with a Taste of Cult. [Georgetown, Guyana in 1979 or 1980].

  7. Nugent, John Peer. White Night. New York: Rawson, Wade Publishers, 1979.

  8. Kerns, Phil, and Doug Wead. Peoples Temple, Peoples Tomb. Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1979.

  9. Olson, Paul R. The Bible Said It Would Happen. Minneapolis, MN: Ark Books, 1979.

  10. Rose, Stephen C. Jesus and Jim Jones. New York: Pilgrim Press, 1979.

  11. Santos, Manoel Hygino dos. Sangue en Jonestown: Uma Tragedia na Guyana. Belo Horizonte: Edicoes Jupiter, 1979.

  12. Thielmann, Bonnie with Dean Merrill. The Broken God. Elgin, IL: David C. Cook, 1979.

  13. White, Mel. Deceived. Old Tappan, NJ: Spire Books, 1979.


  1. Ahlberg, Sture. Folkets Tempel: Fallet Jim Jones. Stockholm: Gummesson, 1980.

  2. Klineman, George. The Cult that Died: The Tragedy of Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. New York: Putnam, 1980.

  3. Lane, Mark. The Strongest Poison. New York: Hawthorn Books, 1980. Reissued by The Lane Group LLC, 2014. Review by Matthew Thomas Farrell.


  1. Dieckmann, Ed. The Secret of Jonestown: The Reason Why. Torrance: Noontide Press, 1981.

  2. Feinsod, Ethan. Awake in a Nightmare: Jonestown the Only Eyewitness Account. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1981.

  3. Naipaul, Shiva. Black and White. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981. Published later as Journey to Nowhere: A New World Tragedy. New York: Penguin, 1982.

  4. Reston, James. Our Father Who Art in Hell. New York: Times Books, 1981. This book became the basis for “Father Cares: The Last of Jonestown”, the 1981 NPR documentary on Jonestown.

  5. Wooden, Kenneth. The Children of Jonestown. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.

  6. Yee, Min S. In My Father’s House: The Story of the Layton Family and the Reverend Jim Jones. New York: Holt, Reinhart, and Winston, 1981.


  1. Dieckmann, Ed. Beyond Jonestown: ‘Sensitivity Training’ and the Cult of Mind Control. Torrance: Noontide Press, 1982.

  2. Levi, Ken, ed. Violence and Religious Commitment: Implications of Jim Jones’s People’s Temple Movement. University Park: Penn State Press, 1982

  3. Reiterman, Tim with John Jacobs. Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. New York: Dutton, 1982. Reissued as paperback by TarcherPerigee Press (New York: 2008). A January 12, 2009 review of the book and interview with the author in The Nation Magazine appears here. Raven was also recorded as an audiobook on in 2022 (Part 1 and Part 2)


  1. Judith Weightman, Making Sense of the Jonestown Suicides: A Sociological History of Peoples Temple. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983.


  1. Jackson, George D. Cuname, Curare and Cool Aid: The Politics that Spawned and Nurtured Jonestown. New York: G.D. Jackson Associate, 1984.


  1. Moore, RebeccaA Sympathetic History of Jonestown: The Moore Family Involvement in the Peoples Temple. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985.


  1. Ahlberg, Sture. Messianic Movements: A Comparative Analysis of the Sabbatians, the People’s Temple, and the Unification Church. Stockholm: Almquist and Wiskell International, 1986.

  2. Moore, Rebecca. The Jonestown Letters: Correspondence of the Moore Family 1970–1985. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1986.


  1. Alinin, Sergie Fedorovich, B. G. Antonov, A.N. Itskov. The Jonestown Carnage – A CIA Crime. Translated from Russian by N. Burova and S. Chulaki. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1987. (Russian version)

  2. Hall, John R. Gone from the Promised Land: Jonestown in American Cultural History. New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1987.


  1. McCoy, Alan W. The Guyana Murders. San Francisco: Highland House, 1988.

  2. Meiers, Michael.  Was Jonestown a CIA Medical Experiment? A Review of the EvidenceLewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1988.

  3. Moore, Rebecca. In Defense of Peoples Temple. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1988.

  4. Smith, Jonathan Z. Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988. (Chapter 7, pp. 102 – 120, “The Devil in Mr. Jones”.)

  5. Chidester, David. Salvation and Suicide: An Interpretation of Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple and Jonestown. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1988.


  1. Hamilton, Sue L. The Death of a Cult Family: Jim Jones. Minneapolis: Abdo Consulting, 1989.

  2. Moore, Rebecca and Fielding McGehee III, eds. The Need for a Second Look at Jonestown. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989.
    (Editor’s Note: This book includes an article by Gary Scarff, who had presented himself falsely as a former member of Peoples Temple. An article about the subterfuge – and Mr. Scarff’s apology for misleading the editors – appears here.)

  3. Moore, Rebecca and Fielding McGehee III, eds. New Religious Movements, Mass Suicide, and Peoples Temple: Scholarly Perspectives on a Tragedy. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989.


  1. Melton, J. Gordon, ed. Peoples Temple and Jim Jones: Broadening our Perspective. New York: Garland Pub, 1990.


  1. Landau, Nathan. Heavenly Deceptor. Brooklyn, NY: Sound of Music Publishing Co., 1992.

  2. Pozzi, Enrico. Il Carisma malato: Il People’s Temple e il suicidio collettive di Jonestown. Naples: Liguori, 1992.


  1. Endleman, Robert. Jonestown and the Manson Family: Race, Sexuality and Collective Madness. New York: Psyche Press, 1993.

  2. The Jonestown Massacre: The Transcript of Reverend Jim Jones’ Last Speech, Guyana 1978. Introduction by Karl Eden. UK: Temple Press, 1993.


  1. Introvigne, MassimoIdee che uccidono. Jonestown, Waco, il Tempio Solare. Milan: Pessano MIMEP-Docete, 1995.

  2. Thrash, Catherine (Hyacinth), as told to Marian K. Towne. The Onliest One Alive: Surviving Jonestown, Guyana. Indianapolis: Marian K. Towne, 1995.


  1. Brailey, JeffreyThe Ghosts of November: Memoirs of an Outsider who Witnessed the Carnage at Jonestown, Guyana. San Antonio: J & J Publishers, 1998.

  2. Kahalas, Laurie EfreinSnake Dance: Unraveling the Mysteries of Jonestown. New York: Red Robin Press, 1998.

  3. Layton, DeborahSeductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor’s Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple. New York: Anchor Books, 1998.

  4. Maaga, Mary McCormickHearing the Voices of Jonestown. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998.


  1. Nesci, Domenico Arturo. The Lessons of Jonestown: An Ethnopsychoanalytic Study of Suicidal Communities. Roma: Societ a Editrice Universo, 1999. Review by Rebecca Moore.


  1. Wessinger, Catherine. How the Millennium Comes Violently: From Jonestown to Heaven’s Gate. New York: Seven Bridges Press, 2000.


  1. De Angelis, Gina. Jonestown Massacre: Tragic End of a Cult. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2002.


  1. Moore, Rebecca and Anthony B. Pinn, Mary R. Sawyer, eds. Peoples Temple and Black Religion in America. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2004.


  1. Stephenson, Denice, ed. Dear People: Remembering Jonestown. San Francisco: California Historical Society Press, 2005.


  1. Wagner-Wilson, LeslieSlavery of Faith. New York: iUniverse, 2008.


  1. Moore, Rebecca. Understanding Jonestown and Peoples Temple. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2009; paperback revision 2018.


  1. Johnston Kohl, LauraJonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look. New York: iUniverse, 2010.


  1. Bellefountaine, Michael, with Dora Bellefountaine. A Lavender Look At The Temple. New York: iUniverse, 2011.

  2. Scheeres, Julia. A Thousand Lives. New York: Free Press, 2011.


  1. Fondakowski, LeighStories From Jonestown. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012; paperback edition released June 2023. Review by Kathy (Tropp) Barbour.


  1. Conn, DavidThe Pleasure of Fiends: An Orthodox Study of Evil and the Meaning in the Jonestown Cultic Horror. Printed by AlphaGraphics, Roseville, CA, 2013.

  2. José Torra Alfaro. Libertad y Religión. Jonestown: Religión y Socialismo. Mexico City: Fundación Friedrich Naumann para la Libertad, Proyecto México. Review by Luis Ángel González Rocha.


  1. Savive, Will. Jonestown: “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid”. Hackensack, NJ: Del-Grande Publishing Inc, 2014. Reviewed by Mark Gallaga.


  1. Barbour, KathrynWho Died. Niles, OH: Katbard Publishing, 2015.

  2. Stoen, Timothy Oliver. Marked For Death: My War With Jim Jones the Devil of Jonestown. North Charleston, South Carolina: CreativeSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. [Reissued as Love Them to Death in March 2017; see also, Surviving Utopia (2018), below.] See reviews by John R. Hall and Matthew Thomas Farrell.


  1. Kwayana, Eusi. A New Look at Jonestown: Dimensions from a Guyanese Perspective. Los Angeles: CaribHouse, 2016. See reviews by Khaleel Mohammed and Laura Johnston Kohl.


  1. Guinn, Jeff. The Road to Jonestown. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017. See reviews by Annie Dawid and Jason Dikes. The Road to Jonestown was also recorded as an audiobook on in 2023.

  2. Nesci, Domenico A. Revisiting Jonestown: An Interdisciplinary Study of Cults. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2017. See review by Rebecca Moore.


  1. Bebelaar, Judy and Ron Cabral. And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown. Albany, CA: Sugartown Publishing, 2018. The book became available on Audible in 2023. See reviews by Craig Foreman, Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons, and Rikke Wettendorff.

  2. Flynn, Daniel J. Cult City: Jim Jones, Harvey Milk, and 10 Days That Shook San Francisco. Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2018. See review by Heather Shearer

  3. Speier, Jackie. Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back. Little A Publishing, 2018.

  4. Stoen, Timothy. Surviving Utopia: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. North Charleston, South Carolina: CreativeSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2018.


  1. Hood, Rev. Dr. Jeff. The Collected Sermons of Jim Jones: A Ten-Volume Set. Individually listed at

  2. Hood, Rev. Dr. Jeff. A Jonestown Trilogy. Resource Publications and independently published.


  1. Edmonds, Wendy M. Intoxicating Followership: In the Jonestown Massacre. Emerald Publishing (2021). Review by Rebecca Moore.

  2. Smith, Eugene. Back to the World: A Life after Jonestown. Fort Worth, TX: TCU Press, 2021. See reviews by darlene anita scott and Rev. Richard Lawrence.

  3. Norwood, Ed. Be A Giant Killer: Overcoming Your Everyday Goliaths. Warrenton, VA: Freiling Publishing, 2021.


  1. Moore, Rebecca. Peoples Temple and Jonestown in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge University Press (2022). See reviews by Connor Ashley Clayton and Joel X. Thomas.

  2. Mehan, Chase. Jonestown: The Forensic Photos. Independently published, 2022. See reviews by Jason Schwechter and Jolene McDonald. NEW


  1. Jones, H.J. Jonestown: An American Family Tragedy. Traverse City, MI: Mission Point Press (2023). See reviews by Judy Bebelaar and Katherine Hill. NEW