Sugartown Publishing announces, for fall 2016, “And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of People’s Temple from High School to Jonestown” by Judy Bebelaar and Ron Cabral
In September of 1976, Jim Jones, the charismatic leader of Peoples Temple, selected Opportunity High School in San Francisco to enroll approximately 120 adolescent members of his church.
The Peoples Temple youth joined students who had come to Opportunity, some instead of dropping out, others drawn to the alternative school’s more open and engaging curriculum. Judy Bebelaar taught English and creative writing, and Ron Cabral coached the school baseball team and taught journalism.
The Temple students made the baseball team, the school’s first, possible. They wrote poems for the school poetry magazine and articles for the school newspaper. Within 9 months, almost all of the Temple students had been sent to Jones’s agricultural project in Guyana, where they did much of the hard work of creating the jungle outpost.
The young people believed they were going to help create an egalitarian utopia, but by the time most Opportunity students arrived, Jonestown was well on its way to becoming a disastrous dystopia. On November 18, 1978, 918 people died there in what has mistakenly been called a mass suicide, but which is now recognized as murder/suicide. One third of those who died in the tragedy were 18 years old or younger.
And Then They Were Gone: Teenagers of Peoples Temple from High School to Jonestown tells the stories of the few who survived and the many who died there. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the ’70s in the Bay Area, And Then They Were Gone draws from books, articles, memories, interviews and first person accounts. Many of the stories in the book have never been told before.
For multiple copies or discounted preorders, visit our website or contact us via email.
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