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  • Seductive Poison

  • A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple
  • By: Deborah Layton
  • Narrated by: Kathe Mazur, Deborah Layton
  • Length: 15 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

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Seductive Poison cover art

Seductive Poison

By: Deborah Layton
Narrated by: Kathe Mazur, Deborah Layton
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Summary

Told by a former high-level member of the Peoples Temple and Jonestown survivor, Seductive Poison is the "truly unforgettable" (Kirkus Reviews) story of how one woman was seduced by one of the most notorious cults in recent memory and how she found her way back to sanity.

From Waco to Heaven's Gate, the late 20th century saw its share of cult tragedies. But none was quite so dramatic or compelling as the Jonestown massacre of 1978, in which the Reverend Jim Jones and 913 of his disciples perished. Deborah Layton had been a member of the Peoples Temple for seven years when she departed for Jonestown, Guyana, the promised land nestled deep in the South American jungle.

When she arrived, however, Layton saw that something was seriously wrong. Jones constantly spoke of a revolutionary mass suicide, and Layton knew only too well that he had enough control over the minds of the Jonestown residents to carry it out. But her pleas for help - and her sworn affidavit to the US government - fell on skeptical ears.

In this very personal account, Layton opens up the shadowy world of cults and shows how anyone can fall under their spell. Seductive Poison is both an unflinching historical document and a riveting story of intrigue, power, and murder.

©1999 Deborah Layton (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"A suspenseful tale of escape that reads like a satisfying thriller, Layton's account is the most important personal testimony to emerge from the Jonestown tragedy." (The Chicago Tribune)

"A fascinating account of a debacle that continues to resonate." (Entertainment Weekly)

"Shattering." (The Boston Globe)

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What listeners say about Seductive Poison

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Very insightful

This book is a very insightful and self-critical account of life in a sect. Also, despite its lenght, very involving.

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Powerful

An incredibly powerful story descriptively told. I was transported into each scene and held my breath feeling the emotions, fear and dread of every word. The description of Deborah’s escape in particular had me on the edge of my seat, my heart was racing.

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A Survivor of Jonestown

A very interesting examination of Jim Jones' appeal and how this ended in the mass murder and destruction that ended Jonestown

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Stunning!

Truly harrowing in places. This account of Layton's experiences left me aghast at how easily we can be mislead and betray our friends and family.

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Honest memoir

It's hard to review someone's personal experience. Overall I enjoyed the book as it gave a personal account of what the author experienced when she was a troubled teen, looking for help and was introduced to a church by her brother. I found the narrative slow to start but gripping later. What spoilt it a little for me was the introduction which tells the reader what happens at the end. Although I knew a little of the history this revealed a lot of details I didn't know. I would rather have read the memoir and then have a commentary filling in the details. Also there wasn't any attempt to analyse what happened, it is simply one person telling her story which I think made it more powerful for me.

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Haunting

Bought on audible. I was transfixed from the get go. A lesson for us all. So sad.

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