1972 - Jackie Speier

Photo of Jackie Speier in the U.S. Capitol rotunda

book cover showing Speier speaking in CongressU.S. Rep. Jackie Speier (B.A., political science, ’72) has written a memoir, Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back (Little A, November 2018).

The book’s release coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre in Jonestown, Guyana.

Speier was a 28-year-old aide to U.S. Rep. Leo Ryan when he led a fact-finding trip to investigate allegations of human rights abuses at Jones’ Peoples Temple. The delegation was ambushed by cult members while boarding a plane to leave. Ryan was among those killed; Speier was shot five times at point-blank range.

More than 900 Americans died after Jones instructed them to drink cyanide.

Elected to Congress in 2008 as a Democrat, Speier represents California’s 14th congressional district, which includes part of San Francisco and most of San Mateo County — much of the region that Ryan had represented.

Read an excerpt of Undaunted in Politico Magazine. 

Speier talks about her book in an interview with C-SPAN.