Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

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Synopsis of Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

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.”

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My review

Helter Skelter – Vincent Bugliosi review

A very good book. The lead author was the prosecutor in the trial against Manson and three of his girls: Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten. That is, he knows the trial firsthand.

I really didn’t know of the existence of this book until I started reading “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties” by Tom O’Neill. Since in the prologue he devotes himself to criticizing Bugliosi, calling him a liar and accusing him of distorting the story, I decided to read this one first to find out what O’Neill was talking about. You’ll read the result in my review of it.

Helter Skelter is really good. It begins with the murders and narrates everything neatly: the murders, the first investigations, the mistakes of the police, the fruitless lines of inquiry, the discovery of the killers, his own investigations with the taking of statements, and, finally, the development of the trial. The backgrounds of the protagonists and of himself are brief but detailed.

Necessarily, due to the limitations of a publication, many things are discussed as briefly as possible but very clearly. And I guess there’s a lot of other things that don’t appear in the book. I imagine that if he’d recorded absolutely everything, we’d be looking at a work of the scale of an encyclopedia.

In short: it’s very interesting, it hooks you and it’s very clear. Ideal for those who have no idea of the case because they will know it perfectly by the end.

Highly recommended.

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Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Year published: 2001
ISBN 9780393072365

Language: English
Format: Ebook


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