Undaunted (Speier)

Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back
Jackie Speier, 2018
Amazon Publishing
240 pp.

An inspiring and powerful memoir of surviving the Jonestown massacre and becoming a fearless voice against injustice and inequality by California congresswoman Jackie Speier.

Jackie Speier was twenty-eight when she joined Congressman Leo Ryan’s delegation to rescue defectors from cult leader Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana.

Ryan was killed on the airstrip tarmac. Jackie was shot five times at point-blank range.

While recovering from what would become one of the most harrowing tragedies in recent history, Jackie had to choose: Would she become a victim or a fighter? The choice to survive against unfathomable odds empowered her with a resolve to become a vocal proponent for human rights.

From the formative nightmare that radically molded her perspective and instincts to the devastating personal and professional challenges that would follow, Undaunted reveals the perseverance of a determined force in American politics.

Deeply rooted in Jackie’s experiences as a widow, a mother, a congresswoman, and a fighter, hers is a story of true resilience, one that will inspire other women to draw strength from adversity in order to do what is right—no matter the challenges ahead. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—May 14, 1950
Where—San Francisco, California, USA
Education—B.A., University of California-Davis; J.D., University of California-Hastings
Currently—lives in Washington, DC., and the San Francisco Bay Area

Jackie Speier (as in "spear") is a California congresswoman and author. She is a recognized champion of women’s rights, privacy, and consumer safety—as well as an avowed opponent of government inefficiency and waste.

She is co-author, along with Deborah Collins Stephens and others of the advice book, This Is Not the Life I Ordered: 60 Ways to Keep Your Head Above Water When Life Keeps Dragging You Down (2007), and a memoir Undaunted: Surviving Jonestown, Summoning Courage, and Fighting Back (2018).

In 2012, she was named to Newsweek’s list of 150 “Fearless Women” in the world and is included in the 2018 “Politico 50” list of top influencers transforming American politics.

Jackie received a BA in political science from the University of California at Davis, and a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Along with her husband, Barry Dennis; her children, Jackson and Stephanie; and Buddy, their yellow Lab, she is a proud fan of the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors. (Adapted from the publisher.)

Visit the author's Congressional website.

Book Reviews
As of this posting, no mainstream reviews media exist for UNDAUNTED. See Amazon, and Barnes and Noble customer reviews, as well as Goodreads member reviews.

Jackie Speier embodies courage in every sense of the word. No matter the challenges that lay before her, she never stops putting her country and her constituents first. In Congress, I was proud to call Jackie my colleague—and I am even more proud to call her my friend. Jackie’s story of survival, hard work, and public service will be an inspiration for all who read it.
Garbiele Giffords, former U.S. Congresswoman

Jackie Speier’s life has been nothing short of harrowing and triumphant. Undaunted will move women to persist and have their voices heard in government. It will inspire young women to be our future leaders who serve with conviction and compassion.
Amy Tan, author

Discussion Questions
We'll add publisher questions if and when they're available; in the meantime, use our LitLovers Book Club Resources. They can help with discussions for any book:

1. How would you describe Jackie Speier? Do you find her admirable, inspiring..."undaunted"?

2. How did the Jonestown shooting and consequent months of recovery affect Speier? How do you think you might have responded to those events?

3. How familiar were you before reading Speier's memoir with the Jonestown cult and subsequent massacre? What are your thoughts on cults, like that on Jim Jones.

4. How might Speier's childhood have prepared her, or at least given her the strength, to survive the Jonestown tragedy and to persevere in spite of it all? Talk, also, about her Catholic schooling and the influence it had on her life's direction.

5. Her high school years were fairly impressive: working part-time for the Red Cross and with then California Assemblyman Ryan.

6. Reader/reviewers describe Jackie Speier as a leader. How would you define "leadership" and what qualities does Speier possess that would make her a leader?

7. Speier wanted to break the feminine mold she grew up with (the 1950s-60s-70s). What was expected of young women during those years, what were the stereotypes she went up against? Talk about the steps Speier took to establish herself as both a feminist and champion of women's causes.

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online and off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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