Jonestown and the Manson family: race, sexuality, and collective madness
The People's Temple led by Jim Jones, & the Manson Family led by Charles Manson, were two of the most spectacularly destructive apocalyptic cults of recent decades. They were also remarkably similar. At Jonestown in 1978, Jones led over 900 community members into a mass suicide/massacre at his command. In Los Angeles in 1969, Charles Manson led his followers, dubbed "The Manson Family" into serial murders of nine victims in the name of a weird ideology of race war. In each cult the male leader was obsessed with sex & exercised sexual domination over the members of the community. In each, the leader has complex delusions & fantasies about race. Each leader also exerted mesmerizing, totalitarian control over his followers, so that they succumbed to a kind of collective madness & committed mass suicide in one case & irrational murders in the other. This book traces the development of each of these movements, their parallels, & the pervasive themes of race, sexuality, & collective madness in each of them, in the context of the trends in American society & culture of that period. The author Robert Endleman is a retired professor of sociology from Adelphi University. He is the author of LOVE & SEX IN TWELVE CULTURES (Psyche Press 1989) & many other books.
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