10 books like Beautiful Revolutionary

By Laura Elizabeth Woollett,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Beautiful Revolutionary. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Raven

By Tim Reiterman,

Book cover of Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People

Raven is the best, most comprehensive, and most thoroughly researched book on Jim Jones, Jonestown, and Peoples Temple. Reiterman is a fine investigative journalist who was part of a group to visit Jonestown, Guyana in November of 1978. The visitors included, among others, eight members of the press; Congressman Leo Ryan and his aide Jackie Speier; and thirteen representatives of the “Concerned Relatives,” their own name for the group. Every member of the group had defected from the Temple in San Francisco. Only some of these visitors—Reiterman and a few of the other journalists, Ryan and Speier, and a small number of the group of relatives—were finally and reluctantly admitted in by Jones, on the stern advice of Jones’s lawyers. The Concerned Relatives were there to see if—as they strongly suspected—those in Jonestown were being held against their will.  The journalists wanted to find the truth about life in the…

Raven

By Tim Reiterman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Raven as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The basis for the upcoming HBO miniseries and the "definitive account of the Jonestown massacre" (Rolling Stone) -- now available for the first time in paperback.

Tim Reiterman’s Raven provides the seminal history of the Rev. Jim Jones, the Peoples Temple, and the murderous ordeal at Jonestown in 1978.

This PEN Award–winning work explores the ideals-gone-wrong, the intrigue, and the grim realities behind the Peoples Temple and its implosion in the jungle of South America. Reiterman’s reportage clarifies enduring misperceptions of the character and motives of Jim Jones, the reasons why people followed him, and the important truth that many…


Seductive Poison

By Deborah Layton,

Book cover of Seductive Poison: A Jonestown Survivor's Story of Life and Death in the Peoples Temple

Layton escaped, at great risk, to try to prevent the tragedy of Jonestown. Her book is the best book yet to read to see Jonestown and Jim Jones through the eyes of a survivor. Layton entered Jonestown (as did most of Ron’s and my students) later than early settlers, when the situation was getting more and more dire as Jones was deteriorating. 

Twenty-four at the time, Layton accompanied her mother, who believed Jones could cure her cancer. As Charles Krause says in the foreword, “Debbie quickly realized that she and the others had been deliberately deceived: Jonestown was essentially a concentration camp in the jungle.” Layton had been in the church since she was a teen. Jones had immediately recognized her intelligence and energy, and eventually made her one of his inner circle. When she left, he declared her a traitor. The book is fascinating and well written.

Seductive Poison

By Deborah Layton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seductive Poison as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this haunting and riveting firsthand account, a survivor of Jim Jones's Peoples Temple opens up the shadowy world of cults and shows how anyone can fall under their spell.

"A suspenseful tale of escape that reads like a satisfying thriller.... The most important personal testimony to emerge from the Jonestown tragedy." —Chicago Tribune

A high-level member of Jim Jones's Peoples Temple for seven years, Deborah Layton escaped his infamous commune in the Guyanese jungle, leaving behind her mother, her older brother, and many friends. She returned to the United States with warnings of impending disaster, but her pleas for…


A Thousand Lives

By Julia Scheeres,

Book cover of A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown

Julia Scheeres is the New York Times best-selling author of Jesus Land, a memoir about being sent, along with her adoptive brother, to a Christian reform camp in the Dominican Republic Their parents, conservative Christians sent them there when Julia and her brother were teenagers. The camp, Scheeres says, had “some uncanny parallels” with Jonestown. 

She begins the story with the story of Tommy Bogue’s “adventure.” Tommy “gripped the slick railing, bracing himself against the waves,” as Jonestown’s small boat headed across the Atlantic and up the coast to the Kaituma River, on his journey to the settlement. Tommy, like Layton, was soon disillusioned. Tommy was a brother of Marilee, Ron’s and my student, who like her mother, was a Jones loyalist. Tommy refused to follow the many strict rules in Jonestown, and broke them to go outside of its borders to follow his curiosity about the jungle and the…

A Thousand Lives

By Julia Scheeres,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Thousand Lives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A gripping account of how decent people can be taken in by a charismatic and crazed tyrant” (The New York Times Book Review).

In 1954, a past or named Jim Jones opened a church in Indianapolis called Peoples Temple Full Gospel Church. He was a charismatic preacher with idealistic beliefs, and he quickly filled his pews with an audience eager to hear his sermons on social justice. As Jones’s behavior became erratic and his message more ominous, his followers leaned on each other to recapture the sense of equality that had drawn them to his church. But even as the…


Season of the Witch

By David Talbot,

Book cover of Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love

The myths of San Francisco loom large in our cultural imagination, but as David Talbot writes in Season of the Witch, the truth is far more interesting, disturbing, grotesque, and beautiful than even the most cinematic retelling. Between 1967-1983, the city was the epicenter of several countercultures, and home to multiple serial killers, political assassinations, bombing attempts, kidnappings, drug and viral epidemics; all of which unfold in heart-stopping quick succession. You’ll watch situations shift from exuberant to deadly in a matter of years, months, or weeks. You’ll also see how small the city really is; familiar names popping up in seemingly unrelated places; events linked by surprising characters. Talbot’s one point of levity is the carnivalesque sideshow of Anton LaVey and his Church of Satan. That tells you something.

Season of the Witch

By David Talbot,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Season of the Witch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The critically acclaimed, San Francisco Chronicle bestseller—a gripping story of the strife and tragedy that led to San Francisco’s ultimate rebirth and triumph.

Salon founder David Talbot chronicles the cultural history of San Francisco and from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when figures such as Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jim Jones, and Bill Walsh helped usher from backwater city to thriving metropolis.


White Crow

By John W. Wood, Richard Wildbur (editor),

Book cover of White Crow

White Crow is a story that takes place in the early 1800s in California when it was still a territory, a part of Mexico, and before it became a state. The book details the story of a white boy, raised by Indians because his parents were killed. He becomes an Indian warrior whom they call White Crow and accept into their tribe. The book is like a western story, but much more complex. It shares the struggles of the lead character, Isaiah Crow, and how he becomes a part of the tribe. He marries an Indian woman and they have a child. Their son, Jedadiah grows up and carries on many of the traditions and customs he learns from the tribe but in a more modern California. I enjoyed this story because it's such a gripping story and Wood does an outstanding job of character development in this book.…

White Crow

By John W. Wood, Richard Wildbur (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Crow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 19th century West begins the saga of a powerful family.

After mountain man Isaiah Crow arrives in Alta California, he saves a group of people from local bandits.

As luck would have it, they are family and Vaqueros from the rancho of Don Hernando Batista, one of the most powerful families in Southern California - and very anxious to take their new friends to meet the Patron.

After Señor Batista introduces his daughter Francisca to Isaiah, the two soon fall in love. From this union a child - Jedadiah - is born. He will learn not only how…


Roaring Camp

By Susan Lee Johnson,

Book cover of Roaring Camp: The Social World of the California Gold Rush

Surely the Gold Rush is one of the first things we learn about the West, but who were these people? Where did they come from? Susan Johnson is a great storyteller, and this story is peopled with men and women from across the globe, radicals and racists, Chinese, Mexicans, Germans, Irish, and everyone else, how they worked, loved, and made a life.

Roaring Camp

By Susan Lee Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roaring Camp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world of the California Gold Rush that comes down to us through fiction and film is one of half-truths. In this brilliant work of social history, Susan Lee Johnson enters the well-worked diggings of Gold Rush history and strikes a rich lode.

Johnson explores the dynamic social world created by the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada foothills east of Stockton, charting the surprising ways in which the conventions of identity-ethnic, national, and sexual-were reshaped. With a keen eye for character and story, she shows us how this peculiar world evolved over time, and how our cultural memory of…


Plants And Landscapes For Summer-dry Climates Of The San Francisco Bay Region

By Nora Harlow,

Book cover of Plants And Landscapes For Summer-dry Climates Of The San Francisco Bay Region

An introductory chapter describes our greater Bay Area climate and its microclimates. The plants listed are ones that will thrive in the region with a minimum of summer water. The glory of the book is in the photographs by Saxon Holt, which include close shots for identification and wider shots that will inspire you to combine plants handsomely in your garden. 

Plants And Landscapes For Summer-dry Climates Of The San Francisco Bay Region

By Nora Harlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Plants And Landscapes For Summer-dry Climates Of The San Francisco Bay Region as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Plants and Landscapes from the San Francisco Bay Region


The Squatter and the Don

By Maria Amparo Ruiz De Burton,

Book cover of The Squatter and the Don

María Amparo Ruiz de Burton lived through one of the most tumultuous periods of history in California. She was born in Baja California to an elite family but moved to Mexican Alta California, as it was then known, during the Mexican-American War, marrying US army captain Henry Burton and becoming a US citizen. Ruiz de Burton watched California’s transformation under US rule, and this 1885 novel uses fiction to lay bare the very real problem of land dispossession of the Mexican Californians (known as Californios) and the arrival of ‘squatters’ from the eastern US who were claiming contested property. Ruiz de Burton is considered to be one of the earliest Mexican-American female authors to write in English, and this work illustrates how Alta California’s transition to statehood upended the lives of many people who had lived there under Spanish and Mexican rule.

The Squatter and the Don

By Maria Amparo Ruiz De Burton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Squatter and the Don as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Squatter and the Don, originally published in San Francisco in 1885, is the first fictional narrative written and published in English from the perspective of the conquered Mexican population that, despite being granted the full rights of citizenship under the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848, was, by 1860, a subordinated and marginalized national minority.


California Native Plants for the Garden

By Carol Bornstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien

Book cover of California Native Plants for the Garden

Historically, California native plants were often grown in European gardens before they were accepted into California gardens. Now they are being grown in California for their beauty and frequent drought tolerance. Here you will see photos of plants in garden landscapes with information about the regions in which they will grow, their needs, and their care. 

California Native Plants for the Garden

By Carol Bornstein, David Fross, Bart O’Brien

Why should I read it?

1 author picked California Native Plants for the Garden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

California Native Plants for the Garden is a comprehensive resource that features more than 500 of the best California native plants for gardening in Mediterranean-climate areas of the world. Authored by three of the state's leading native-plant horticulturists and illustrated with 450 color photos, this reference book also includes chapters on landscape design, installation, and maintenance. Detailed lists of recommended native plants for a variety of situations and appendices with information on places to see native plants and where to buy them are also provided.


Steeped in Stories

By Mitali Perkins,

Book cover of Steeped in Stories: Timeless Children's Novels to Refresh Our Tired Souls

Mitali Perkins is a winsome, thoughtful writer who easily draws the reader into her discussions of the timelessness of each classic book. This book is a blend of memoir, literary criticism, and moral formation. My favorite part of Steeped in Stories was her contagious love for each book. She reminded me why I loved them, and why I wanted my children to read them when they were younger. Not only does Mitali guide the reader through what makes these books classics in a good sense, she also helps us see them with discerning eyes so that instead of ditching old books for problematic parts, she helps us navigate them with young readers in mind. Steeped in Stories discusses The Hobbit, Heidi, Emily of Deep Valley, Little Women, and The Silver Chair

Steeped in Stories

By Mitali Perkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Steeped in Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The stories we read as children shape us for the rest of our lives. But it is never too late to discover that transformative spark of hope that children's classics can ignite within us.

Award-winning children's author Mitali Perkins grew up steeped in stories—escaping into her books on the fire escape of a Flushing apartment building and, later, finding solace in them as she navigated between the cultures of her suburban California school and her Bengali heritage at home. Now Perkins invites us to explore the promise of seven timeless children's novels for adults living in uncertain times: stories that…


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Interested in California, the Peoples Temple, and Australia?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about California, the Peoples Temple, and Australia.

California Explore 253 books about California
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