Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back
Lying on an airplane tarmac after surviving a fusillade of bullets in Guyana, Jackie Speier dug deep to find strength and calm to stay alive. She possessed a trait of preservation and toughness that runs throughout her family line. “Undaunted” grabs the reader with the harrowing moments on a remote airstrip in 1978, where every breath could be your last back to Speier’s early roots in San Francisco. Her parents worked hard and stressed this lifestyle to Speier and her brother. Her father pictured Jackie as a doctor, but Jackie felt kinship with helping the powerless. In college, Speier would volunteer for Leo Ryan and her path would be set. Speier would find a mentor in the older politician, serving as his key aide when they embarked on the exploratory trip to Guyana to examine the goings on of the People’s Temple. The physical and emotional toll in the aftermath of the killings would be tough, but Speier would plow through and forge a career locally and then nationally with her election as a Congresswoman in 2008.
“Undaunted” is an emotional and poignant autobiography. The experiences of Jackie Speier have ranged from picturesque to nightmarish to spiritual. Her story highlights an individual who has ventured to hell and back, but never gave up. A profile in leadership, but so much more.
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