Picks and Pans Review: The Children of Jonestown
Of the 913 who died in the jungles of Guyana, 240 were younger than 16. Yet the House Foreign Affairs Committee's 782-page report on the Rev. Jim Jones and his cult devoted only two paragraphs to these victims. Wooden, director of the National Coalition for Children's Justice, spends 238 pages detailing how Jones manipulated the California foster care system to ensnare youngsters and collect up to $40,000 a month in public support funds that came with them. He pried children from their families, then used the children to lure their parents to Guyana, When the time came for the mass murder/suicide, the children were killed first. Wooden reports that 210 of them were never identified and were buried en masse in a 50-by-80-toot excavation in Oakland, Calif. This book only begins to describe the human weaknesses that made this tragedy possible, but it stands, grimly, as (he young victims' only tangible memorial. (McGraw-Hill, $4.95).