San Francisco State journalism professor John Burks has had an long and fascinating career. He was one of the first reporters at Rolling Stone and has worked with a number of local publications. He has a history of writing in depth profiles of prolific people. (Hello Jimi Hendrix!) Burks was working for the San Francisco Examiner, in 1972, when he got assigned an interview that would stay with him long after the tapes stopped rolling and the story went to print.
In the wake of a controversial article the Examiner had published about The People’s Temple, Burks was sent to interview temple leader Jim Jones. Before the massacre at Jonestown and the atrocious Kool-Aid jokes, Burks was able to sit down with Jones and hear stories of the inner workings of the People’s Temple. This is Burks’ story.