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The Strongest Poison - How I Survived the Jonestown Guyana Massacre [Kindle Edition]

Mark Lane

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Book Description

Nearly one thousand members of the Peoples Temple settlement in Jonestown, Guyana, died in a massacre in November 1978. The deaths followed the killing of United States Congressman Leo Ryan and other Temple members as they attempted to leave the compound. Those killings, along with the massacre, were ordered by the cult’s charismatic leader Jim Jones. Mark Lane had accompanied Congressman Ryan into Jonestown on a fact-finding mission and was captured and held hostage during the massacre.
“I will tell the world the truth about what happened here.” With those words, Mark Lane’s guards allowed him to escape from his makeshift prison from what would soon become one of the most tragic events in 20th century America. Lane found himself fleeing for his life through the impenetrable darkness of the Guyanian rainforest as the sounds of the Jonestown massacre echoed behind him. In The Strongest Poison, Lane tells why he was there, what happened in the days leading up to the massacre, and relates the stories of the nearly 1,000 men and women who put their faith in Jim Jones and his jungle paradise, and died there.
In this riveting tale of hope and renewal, despair and devastation, Lane explores the reasons behind the Peoples Temple’s journey to Guyana, of the joyous celebrations and the hardships of the pioneering community. He also explores the reasons for Congressman Ryan’s investigation into the community, exposing the decisions made by representatives of the United States government that pushed the increasingly irrational Jones to his breaking point.

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Lane is an author, lawyer and activist. His was the first voice to publicly question the top secret investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and his bestselling book, Rush to Judgment, was one of the first to question the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin. A Citizen’s Dissent recounts the vast efforts of our government and the establishment media to suppress his investigation into the assassination of JFK and to silence and destroy him for his work. His later works on the JFK assassination detailed the involvement of the CIA through an actual trial in which Lane cross-examined multiple agents [Plausible Denial] and the role played by the CIA and Secret Service [Last Word]. He crossed the country speaking at countless colleges and other institutions about the murder of the president sparking the creation of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which looked into the assassinations of Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A Freedom Rider while he served in the New York Legislature in 1961, he has defended the rights of the voiceless from his beginnings in East Harlem to Wounded Knee, where he successfully defended the leaders of the American Indian Movement. He freed James Joseph Richardson, a black man framed in rural Florida for the murder of his own seven children, from prison after serving over 20 years, many of them on death row [Arcadia]. He is a survivor of Jonestown [The Strongest Poison] and was a leader of the anti war movement during the Viet Nam era [Chicago Eyewitness; Conversations with Americans], Lane's autobiography, Citizen Lane, was published in 2012.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1010 KB
  • Print Length: 524 pages
  • Publisher: The Lane Group, LLC (14 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JPNHG64
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #407,521 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Other Look at Jonestown, Jim Jones, and the People's Temple! 9 Feb. 2009
By Sylviastel - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It has been three months since the thirtieth anniversary of the Jonestown massacre, event, or mass suicide as it had been defined in the past. Mark Lane was one of Jones' attorneys and is better known for his conspiracy theories. I have read a lot of other books on Jones and Jonestown. Lane shows the side of Jonestown that Jones wanted him to see and yet Lane could see past the obvious into the problems of Jonestown. I do believe the Guyanese and American governments should have had a more active role in watching the Jonestown settlement. Lane writes about how Jones was becoming more desperate as the jungle farming wasn't working out. So according to Buford and sources, Jones admitted that socialism had failed and would send his followers back to the states where he feared for their safety, backlash, and lives. Ironic, since Jones was drugged up most of the time and dying as well. Was suicide the final solution? It didn't have to be but Jones had brainwashed his followers down to then jungle where they worked tirelessly, exhaustively, and hungered for better food and living conditions. Some of the stories were more likely coerced by the leaders of Jonestown. Of course, there was plenty of illegal activities going on since of course, Jones was the final judge and jury. His most devoted army of soldiers were armed with firearms on that fateful sun-drenched day in the jungle where they all gathered to the pavillion to die together. Of course, they were murdered by JOnes' final orders. There were always dissenters who were the first to take the poison as was a practiced in the past and documented by Deborah Blakey who defected six month earlier and verified by Terri Buford who was second in command next to Jones. Jones was holding John Victor Stoen hostage while his parents who were former members, Timothy (assistant district attorney in San Francisco and Jones' former legal eagle) and his mother Grace who defected earlier. Jones held John Victor's life along with hundreds of others. With the fifteen defectors with Ryan, Jones had felt defeated and lost. He should have walked away quietly and died but he didn't. He called his followers most of whom knew what white nights were all about to the pavilion. 267 children and infants were among the dead. They were murdered by JOnes' orders. His wife, Marcie, who had stayed and endured an abusive marriage had tried to stop her husband but it was useless. He had held Marcie hostage longer than anybody else in an abusive, humiliating marriage by threatening to kill their own children if she ever left him. Jones was a paranoid, maniacal, diabolical monster on the same path of destruction as Hitler was to Germany. Still, I am sure Lane believes that more could have done to stop the madness in Jonestown but what's done is done. The dead have been buried and long forgotten but not by those who remember them. We can't keep blaming the governments for failing to stop such disasters. From the shooting at Port Kaituma, Ryan should have had a army to protect him and the others. It was a deadly lesson.
13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excel! Conspiracy or not? You may judge... 2 May 2005
By Jose Brito - Published on
I liked this book very much. The way I choose to praise it is to write down the text on its front and back flaps. I think it will help the reader to know if this book is what he/she is looking for:

"When approximately one thousand Americans died in a massacre on 18 November 1978 in a South American jungle thousands of miles from home, most of us wanted to know not only the causes of their deaths but also the circumstances that led these people to leave their native land. According to most government and media reports, and odd assortment of mesmerized sycophants followed their leader across land and sea, and, when told by him to do so, willingly laid down their lives in an act of eternal devotion. This was indeed the line that the United States government and the nation's leading newspapers and television networks offered. The facts, however, reject this fanciful and self-serving notion.

"Now, for the first time, in a powerful, incisive account, Mark Lane carefully and seriously addresses the questions that the State Department and intelligence agencies hoped would never be asked:

* Was there a government conspiracy against the Peoples Temple and its leader the Reverend Jim Jones?

* Could the United States government have prevented the mass murder at Jonestown?

* Was Congressman Leo Ryan, who died at the Port Kaituma airstrip, deliberately misled by the State Department?

*Why did the American Embassy in Guyana, which learned that Jones was apparently drugged and no longer capable of cogent thought, decline to share that information with Representative Ryan?

* Was any of the news media directly involved in a plan to disseminate false information so as to cover up the government's role in Jonestown?

"With meticulous detail and documenting evidence, Mark Lane, one of the country's most gifted lawyers and investigative reporters, offers the first authoritative, eyewitness account of the Jonestown tragedy, and reveals what really happened during those last months, weeks, and days precipitating the massacre. Mark Lane makes use of hard facts and exclusive information givem to him by his client Terri Bufford - who ranked second to Jones before leaving the Peoples Temple a few weeks prior to the murders - concerning to Jim Jones, Tim Stoen and Charles Garry (the lawyers for the Peoples Temple), and government officials and agents directly involved with Jonestown. Also provided are last statements of Temple members and accounts given by their relatives and friends, medical examiners, and morticians. Written with great insight, conviction, and clariry, The Strongest Poison tells far more about American] than some of its bureaucrats, agencies, and accommodating journalists want the American people to know.

"Mark Lane is one of the most proficient and controversial lawyers in the United States. His book about the Kennedy assassination, Rush to Judgement, although officially denounced and initially accepted for publication abroad, went on to become a major hardcover bestseller in 1966 and 1967 and has continued to sell millions of copies in paperback. Today Rush to Judgement not only remais a powerful indictment of the Warren Commission Report, but it is even more vital in view of recent revelations about the CIA's involvement. As with the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, Mark Lane is once again in the right place at the right time, courageously asking questions that most of us are afraid to ask about the suspect circumstances surrounding the cataclysmic events at Jonestown."
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jones main one caused Jonestown murders 28 Jan. 2015
By Doris Jameson - Published on
I believe that Lane wanted fame out of this book. He does nor seem to believe that abuse,was going on, when in fact many types of abuse have been proven that it was indeed going on. The people where eating rice with maggots in it three times a day, np meat or eggs. Jones was taking goverment money in form of SS and SSI and money for taking care of children Lane seems to think that Jones made the perfect place to live, when he had his own cottage and great food. What did his followers get, cottages with three tier bunk beds, no hot water, had to use pages out of the bible for toliet paper, people with guns keeping them from leaving. Many many people wanted to leave, but where prevented in doing so, why did Jones keep their passports? People such as yourself could have helped to stop Jones from killing over 900 people, you knew that Jones was on the crazy train, why did yoy not alert others about this. Others also knew about Jones mental condition, also governments in both countries should have investigated Jonestown. Leo Ryan did not cause Jones to murder all those people, he was the only government offical with the balls to check on the people. I do not believe CIA was involved in spying on PT. I believe that Lane and Bufford cleared out some of PT stolen money that was in foreign banks. Jonestown was a mass murder caused maining by one monster, Jim Jones. I do not believe that John Stoen wasJones son, he was the son of Grace and Tim Stoen, who where not CIA, they just wanted their son make. Not all bad things that happen have some plot behind them, many are just terrible things that happen, this includes Jonestown.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 29 Mar. 2015
By JNP - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great book in great condition
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars He was there 10 Dec. 2014
By K. A. Krisko - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the story of Guyana as told through the eyes of one of Jim Jones' lawyers. Although it promises to provide new insights, Lane was not closely associated with the group and spent most of his time elsewhere, visiting the camp only just before its demise. He was indeed there at the camp when things went wrong, and the story of his escape is the most compelling part of the book. Later sections detail ongoing legal maneuvers and I found this part tedious and unnecessary. In the end, while there were interesting tidbits, i didn't learn anything particularly new about Jonestown; I already knew it was a multiple murder. I think this book is best for those who have a deep interest in all aspects of Jonestown.
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