What do you say about a book that has sold 7 million copies? That is so unbelievable it has to be true? A name that 40 years later still strikes terror into people? That is the problem I am having as I am sitting here thinking about this review, I just don’t know what to say.
Before I read this, I thought I knew a lot about Charles Manson. I mean, I DID know a lot, but I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. Everyone who has told me they read it has said it affected their life. That is was a compelling read, but they wouldn’t read it again. I don’t understand that. I think I will there is more to be learned. Mr. Bugliosi is an excellent writer, he tells not just what happened, but details his search to find out the motive behind it. He explains what Manson believed “Helter Skelter” was. The influence the Beatles had on him (one of the things I didn’t know). In an afterward written 25 years after the case, he writes his beliefs about why “the nation continues to be fascinated with the Manson murder case. The five year anniversaries of the murders, are marked by articles, news reports, and television specials internationally.” He also talks about how other mass murderers and serial killers, the mention of their names does not have the profound effect that the name “Charles Manson”. Even today, his crime stands out.
The book is written in eight parts (I think, I can’t check because Tigger has absconded with my copy, he wants to read it and couldn’t wait for me to write this). It logically progresses from the murders, to the investigation, then the killers, then gives background on Charles Manson and his ‘family’, his ‘girls’ as he called them. We read about his opinion of the establishment(no surprises there), other races and women. His total control over the people who followed him, who believed he was JC(Jesus Christ) to the extent of who was their lawyers, what they did and said in court. The book has tons of pictures, drawings, maps and about 10 pictures of Manson, each different from the other, including the most famous one, the one that caused his family to say, “Charlie made the cover of Life!”.
Before I read this, someone told me, any fan of True Crime books should read Helter Skelter, and I agree with that statement. I recommend this book.