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Download Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the People's Temple Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivors Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple Audiobook, by Deborah Layton Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Deborah Layton Narrator: Kathe Mazur Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2014 ISBN: 9780804191074
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Twenty years ago, on November 18, 1978 in Jonestown, a commune in the depths of the Guyanese jungle, 913 followers of the Reverend Jim Jones obeyed his orders to take their own lives, dutifully swallowing fruit-flavored punch laced with cyanide. It was the worst mass suicide in modern history. The Peoples Temple had started out years before as a respectable church involved in community service and civil rights activism. Jim Jones’ followers grew in number, and the organization gained prominence in the San Francisco community, recognized by such high-profile figures as Mayor George Moscone and First Lady Rosalyn Carter. But by the time Jones and his followers had begun their emigration to the “promised land” in Guyana, the group had become increasingly militant and paranoid.

Deborah Layton saw that something was seriously wrong the minute she arrived in Jonestown, and six months before the massacre, she escaped the guarded compound she had imagined would be paradise. Her warnings to the press and to the US State Department of an impending disaster fell on disbelieving ears: Exactly four days after her testimony in Washington, DC, Congressman Leo Ryan, three reporters, and over nine hundred Peoples Temple members, including Layton’s mother and countless friends, were dead. Layton’s return to the world outside of the Peoples Temple was slow and painful. Her brother remains in prison, the only person alive today held accountable for the tragedy. After years of shame and silence, she is finally telling her story.

From Waco to Heaven’s Gate, the past decade has seen its share of cult tragedies, but none quite so dramatic or compelling as Jonestown. In this very personal account, Layton opens up the shadowy world of cults that pervade our existence and shows how any race, culture, or class of individuals can fall victim to a cult’s strange allure. Vividly written and powerfully told, Seductive Poison is both an unflinching historical document and an enthralling story of intrigue, power, and murder.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Shattering.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A fascinating account of a debacle that continues to resonate.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “An emotionally articulate and gripping account.”


  • “Vividly written and powerfully told.”

    Library Journal

  • “For her to lift those recollections above the bargain-basement freak-show reputation the Peoples Temple has achieved in the popular imagination and depict them with the power of great tragedy is nothing but extraordinary.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Layton’s lengthy account provides valuable insights into the inner workings of cults, and the details of her escape in the closing chapters generate strong suspense.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Chilling.”


  • “Truly unforgettable.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author
Deborah Layton was born in 1953 and grew up in Berkeley, California. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.
About the Narrator

Kathe Mazur has narrated many audiobooks, winning the prestigious Audie Award for best narration in 2014, being named a finalist for the Audie Award in 2013 and 2015, and winning seven AudioFile Earphones Awards. As an actress, she can be seen as DDA Hobbs on The Closer and in the upcoming Major Crimes. She has worked extensively in film, theater, and television, including appearances on Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, House, Brothers and Sisters, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, ER, Monk, and many others.