Helter Skelter

Helter Skelter

The True Story of the Manson Murders

Book - 1994
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The #1 True Crime Bestseller of All Time--7 Million Copies Sold

In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A famous actress (and her unborn child), an heiress to a coffee fortune, a supermarket owner and his wife were among the seven victims. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his "family" of devoted young women and men. What was his hold over them? And what was the motivation behind such savagery? In the public imagination, over time, the case assumed the proportions of myth. The murders marked the end of the sixties and became an immediate symbol of the dark underside of that era.

Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his enthralling account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only "two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi." The meticulous detective work with which the story begins, the prosecutor's view of a complex murder trial, the reconstruction of the philosophy Manson inculcated in his fervent followers...these elements make for a true crime classic. Helter Skelter is not merely a spellbinding murder case and courtroom drama but also, in the words of The New Republic , a "social document of rare importance."

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, [1994]
Copyright Date: ©1974
ISBN: 9780393322231
Branch Call Number: 364.152309794 Bug
Characteristics: 687 pages : illustrations, maps ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Gentry, Curt 1931-2014,- Author
Alternative Title: Manson murders


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Apr 07, 2018

"Now is the time for Helter Skelter."-Charles Mason
"Look out, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter, Helter Skelter."-The Beatles
Massively popular book about the Manson Family Murders, which may be the most well-known and influential serial murders of the 20th century. Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi co-wrote the book and while the story itself of the Tate-LaBianca killings is both fascinating and repellent, the writing is less then stellar and it runs way too long (over 600 pages, including an afterword). It doesn't give much context, history, or psychological insight. For that you should check out Jeff Guinn's authoritative biography of Manson. BTW, anyone who thinks Manson is cool is probably a jerk, like Axl Rose or Marilyn Manson.

Nov 21, 2017

As a teen I casually picked up a copy of this book at a thrift store, my attention caught by the Beatles' lyric title and vague memories of the Manson story drifting around me as a child in 1970s California. From the first sentence, I was utterly hooked; fascinated, terrified. To this day I always put this book high on the list of the best books I have ever read. In our current era of mass shootings occurring practically every day, we forget the heart-stopping terror that accompanied the unfolding story of these bloody, bizarre crimes, accomplished by no-longer benign hippies and girls next door gone murderously bad. Bugliosi does a fantastic job of pulling you right into the center of events: from the shock of discovery of the first murder scene, the confusion, terror, and frustratingly incompetent attempts to find the killers, and the intriguing story of how a charismatic small-time criminal managed to build a circle around him of utterly devoted followers; so devoted that they were willing to kill. Of particular interest to me were the backstories of the people who came to surround Manson. So many disaffected young people came to California in the late 1960s, looking for freedom, love, music, a wise guru. What was it about these individuals that drew them to Manson, and kept them by his side when the peace and love eventually imploded into rage and murder? Better than any fictional crime novel, the true story of the Tate/LaBianca killings is a thrilling, terrifying read.

PimaLib_JeanSC Nov 21, 2017

Probably the scariest book I have ever read.

well, as of last night, around 8 oclock, manson's troubled soul departed the Earth. MSNBC, after doing a five minute retrospective of the story, announced it will never do it again. where has the angle of repeated intoxication by LSD in hypnotizing his followers, been covered? anyone here heard of MKULTRA? Thanks, CIA, for all those doses people had to endure, and for what it turned them into. Thanks, Sidney Gottlieb. the book and the trial made St. Vincent's career. It helped that after Nixon contaminated the jury by stating to the media his belief that Manson was guilty, the judge let the trial proceed, forthwith. (The headlines were huge on the newspapers everywhere in this nation: NIXON SAYS MANSON GUILTY). P.S. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS was about Julian's friend's watercolor painting. Really. Yes indeed. If you thought that song was too slow on SGT. PEPPER'S, check out Elton John's remake from 1974, available on his first greatest hits album.

Sep 18, 2016

Stories like these have always interested me, and this one was no different. I preferred the 1st section of the book; it summarised the facts of the case itself. When it became more personalised, I momentarily lost interest, but powering through the first slumber-inducing pages on the author's background leads to a thrilling, up close and personal experience of one of the United States most gruesome and confusing crimes. You get an insider look into the Manson Murders case, along with witty comments and facts the organisation would rather not spill. It's great for anyone who has a taste for crime-solving, and is a definite keeper.

PimaLib_DavidaL Jul 20, 2016

Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, gives a detailed, no-nonsense account of the Tate-LaBianca murders and the cult of Charles Manson. Given the book's reputation, I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-paced police procedural in lieu of a provocative page turner. The subject matter is grisly and obviously not for everyone. However, this book is a classic of the true crime genre precisely because it avoids playing up the sensational aspects of the crimes and focuses on the facts. The truth is shocking enough.

Mar 15, 2016

Completely unnecessary amount of douche baggery by the DA who prosecuted the Manson Family. I know I've said it before but this guy desperately needed an editor and psychologist to check his uge ego. This guy makes Donald J Trump look like the Dalai Llama. It was about the point Buscaglia or whatever the hell his name is said sotto voce that I regretted the fact that Manson didn't succeed in having him killed too. This was like the War and Peace of crime novels that I had to finish but kind of hate myself for wasting so much of my life. I actually started this book years ago and just finished it on the way to spring break and it almost ruined my trip.

Jan 31, 2016

In the true crime genre, two books stand on top for me. One is this one - a detailed, gory and chilling story about the Manson Family, which was far larger than many may presume (covering five of the eight pages of the list of characters at the front). The other, which I highly recommend, is "Redrum the Innocent" - about the sex slaying of little Christine Jessop and the subsequent wrongful conviction then exoneration of Guy Paul Morin; one of the worst miscarriages of justice in Canadian history, and with it lessons police and prosecutors everywhere could well learn from in similar cases.

Jan 12, 2016

The incredible true story of the Manson Family murders case, written by the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi .

Mar 22, 2013

Bugliosi is great

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