Jonestown Survivor

  • by Laura Johnston Kohl
  • Narrated by Sarah Van Sweden
  • 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Laura Johnston Kohl grew up as an activist in Washington, D.C., and watched as many of her heroes were assassinated in the 1960s. While she was in high school and college, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and others were killed. While in college in Connecticut she continued her commitment to work for change and to make a difference. While exercising her civil rights to protest peacefully, she was tear gassed while protesting the war in Viet Nam. After a brief marriage, a visit to Woodstock, and a stint working with the Black Panthers, she moved to California to join her sister. Soon after that, she was introduced to People's Temple and spent the next nine years in California and Guyana. She was away from Jonestown on the day when 913 of her friends and family died.
The next 20 years were spent recovering, and rebuilding her life. For the first 10 years, she lived in Synanon, a residential community. The following 10 years, with her husband and young son, she began rebuilding her life. She earned her BA in philosophy/psychology, and then earned her California Teaching Credential. She also found some peace by becoming a Quaker. In the last 10 years, she has become a public speaker about People's Temple and is on the Speakers Bureau of the Jonestown Institute. She has been interviewed locally, nationally, and internationally on television, on radio, in newspapers, in documentaries, and for research papers. She has written many articles about the details of life in People's Temple and her survival. She is an annual speaker at the Communal Studies Association Conferences, and her scholarly work is published in their Communal Societies Journal. In March 2010, she published her own book, Jonestown Survivor: An Insider's Look. She continues to make frequent speeches locally and nationally about her experiences. She and her family live in San Diego, California, and she is an educator.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Robotic narrator

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It sounds like a computer program was used to narrate the book. It really detracted from the story.


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- Giovanna

Don't bother absolute snooze fest

This book almost put me in a trance to the point that I almost drove off the side of the road listening to the robotic narration of the narrator. Her story is boring and the author gave very little insight into the horrific and tragic events that lead to massacre of so many innocent people. She glorified Jim Jones and questioned whether it was really true about what happened. Then she spent another boring hour or so talking about another cult she was in and she glorified that cult as well. I learned nothing or felt inspired. It was poorly written and the author just capitalized on a horrific event in history without really telling the truth in my opinion. Don't waste your credit on this book.
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- Kathleen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2014
  • Publisher: Laura Johnston Kohl