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9 Best Books About the Charles Manson and the Family Murders

9 Books | by Rolling Stone

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry

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." Some images in this ebook are not displayed due to permissions issues.

Manson

Manson

Jeff Guinn

The New York Times bestselling, authoritative account of the life of Charles Manson, filled with surprising new information and previously unpublished photographs: “A riveting, almost Dickensian narrative…four stars” (People).More than forty years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson’s childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson family have provided new information about Manson’s life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person near the scene of the crime was spared. Manson puts the killer in the context of the turbulent late sixties, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how Manson created and refined his message to fit the times, persuading confused young women (and a few men) that he had the solutions to their problems. At the same time he used them to pursue his long-standing musical ambitions. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences. Guinn’s book is a “tour de force of a biography…Manson stands as a definitive work: important for students of criminology, human behavior, popular culture, music, psychopathology, and sociopathology…and compulsively readable” (Ann Rule, The New York Times Book Review).

The Family

The Family

Ed Sanders

"The first complete, authoritative account of the career of Charles Manson. A terrifying book."--New York Times Book ReviewIn August of 1969, during two bloody evenings of paranoid, psychedelic savagery, Charles Manson and his dystopic communal family helped to wreck the dreams of the Love Generation. At least nine people were murdered, among them Sharon Tate, the young, beautiful, pregnant, actress and wife of Roman Polanski. Ed Sanders's unnerving and detailed look at the horror dealt by Manson and his followers is a classic of the true-crime genre. The Family was originally published in 1971 and remains the most meticulously researched account of the most notorious murders of the 1960s. Using firsthand accounts from some of the family's infamous members, including the wizard himself, Sanders examines not only the origins and legacy of Manson and his family, but also the mysteries that persist. Completely revised and updated, this edition features 25 harrowing black-and-white photos from the investigation. "One of the best-researched, best-written, thoroughly-constructed, and eminently significant books of our times. . . . A masterpiece."--Boston Phoenix

The Manson Women and Me

The Manson Women and Me

Nikki Meredith

In a series of prison interviews, a journalist probes the minds of the women who killed for Charles Manson in this “fascinating study of human behavior” (Kirkus).In the summer of 1969, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel carried out horrific acts of butchery on the orders of the charismatic cult leader Charles Manson. But to anyone who knew them growing up, they were bright, promising girls, seemingly incapable of such an unfathomable crime.Award-winning journalist Nikki Meredith began visiting Van Houten and Krenwinkel in prison to discover how they had changed during their incarceration. The more Meredith got to know them, the more she was lured into a deeper dilemma: What compels “normal” people to do unspeakable things?The author's relationship with her subjects provides a chilling lens through which we gain insight into a particular kind of woman capable of a particular kind of brutality. Through their stories, Nikki Meredith takes readers on a dark journey into the very heart of evil.

Restless Souls

Restless Souls

Alisa Statman, Brie Tate

Restless Souls is the true, bone-chilling chronicle of the Manson Family murders and its aftermath, from the point of view of the victims’ families.When actress Sharon Tate and four others were brutally murdered by Charles Manson and his followers, the world was shocked. More than forty years later, the gruesome barbarity of the “Manson Family” still fascinates and horrifies.This true crime memoir by Alisa Statman, a 20-year Tate family friend, and Brie Tate, the daughter of Sharon Tate’s niece, includes interviews with the Tate family, accounts from personal letters, tape recordings, home movies, and private diaries.Complete with color photographs and personal insights, Restless Souls is the most revealing, riveting, and emotionally raw account of the gruesome slayings, the hunt and capture of the killers, and the behind-the-scenes drama of their trials, as well as a touching view of the torment that the victims families’ have endured for years after such tragedy.

Chaos

Chaos

Tom O'Neill

A journalist's twenty-year fascination with the Manson murders leads to shocking new revelations about the FBI's involvement in this riveting reassessment of an infamous case in American history.Over two grim nights in Los Angeles, the young followers of Charles Manson murdered seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate, then eight months pregnant. With no mercy and seemingly no motive, the Manson Family followed their leader's every order -- their crimes lit a flame of paranoia across the nation, spelling the end of the sixties. Manson became one of history's most infamous criminals, his name forever attached to an era when charlatans mixed with prodigies, free love was as possible as brainwashing, and utopia -- or dystopia -- was just an acid trip away.Twenty years ago, when journalist Tom O'Neill was reporting a magazine piece about the murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Then he unearthed shocking evidence of a cover-up behind the "official" story, including police carelessness, legal misconduct, and potential surveillance by intelligence agents. When a tense interview with Vincent Bugliosi -- prosecutor of the Manson Family and author of Helter Skelter -- turned a friendly source into a nemesis, O'Neill knew he was onto something. But every discovery brought more questions:Who were Manson's real friends in Hollywood, and how far would they go to hide their ties?Why didn't law enforcement, including Manson's own parole officer, act on their many chances to stop him?And how did Manson -- an illiterate ex-con -- turn a group of peaceful hippies into remorseless killers?O'Neill's quest for the truth led him from reclusive celebrities to seasoned spies, from San Francisco's summer of love to the shadowy sites of the CIA's mind-control experiments, on a trail rife with shady cover-ups and suspicious coincidences. The product of two decades of reporting, hundreds of new interviews, and dozens of never-before-seen documents from the LAPD, the FBI, and the CIA, Chaos mounts an argument that could be, according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven Kay, strong enough to overturn the verdicts on the Manson murders. This is a book that overturns our understanding of a pivotal time in American history.

Member of the Family

Member of the Family

Dianne Lake, Deborah Herman

In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his "girls."At age fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of "Charlie’s girls," a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.Though she never participated in any of the group’s gruesome crimes and was purposely insulated from them, Dianne was arrested with the rest of the Manson Family, and eventually learned enough to join the prosecution’s case against them. With the help of good Samaritans, including the cop who first arrested her and later adopted her, the courageous young woman eventually found redemption and grew up to lead an ordinary life.While much has been written about Charles Manson, this riveting account from an actual Family member is a chilling portrait that recreates in vivid detail one of the most horrifying and fascinating chapters in modern American history.Member of the Family includes 16 pages of photographs.

Manson in His Own Words

Manson in His Own Words

Nuel Emmons, Charles Manson

“Gives us a portrait close to the truth” of the man responsible for the Tate-LaBianca murders that changed Hollywood and ended the sixties (The New York Times Book Review). This astonishing book lays bare the life and the mind of a man whose acts have left us horrified. His story provides an enormous amount of new information about his life and how it led to the Tate-LaBianca murders and reminds us of the complexity of the human condition.   Born in the middle of the Depression to an unmarried fifteen-year-old, Manson lived through a bewildering succession of changing homes and substitute parents, until his mother finally asked the state authorities to assume his care when he was twelve. Regimented and often brutalized in juvenile homes, Manson became immersed in a life of petty theft, pimping, jail terms, and court appearances that culminated in seven years of prison. Released in 1967, he suddenly found himself in the world of hippies and flower children, a world that not only accepted him, but even glorified his anti-establishment values. It was a combination that led, for reasons only Charles Manson can fully explain, to tragedy. Manson’s story, distilled from seven years of interviews and examinations of his correspondence, provides sobering insight into the making of a criminal mind, and a fascinating picture of the last years of the sixties.   “A glimpse of part of the American experience that is rarely described from the inside . . . It compels both interest and horror.”—The Washington Post “Provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a truly dangerous human being.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner

The Girls

The Girls

Emma Cline

THE INSTANT BESTSELLER • An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • NPR • The Guardian • Entertainment Weekly • San Francisco Chronicle • Financial Times • Esquire • Newsweek • Vogue • Glamour • People • The Huffington Post • Elle • Harper’s Bazaar • Time Out • BookPage • Publishers Weekly • Slate Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize • Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award • Shortlisted for The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize • The New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • Emma Cline—One of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists Praise for The Girls “Spellbinding . . . a seductive and arresting coming-of-age story.”—The New York Times Book Review “Extraordinary . . . Debut novels like this are rare, indeed.”—The Washington Post “Hypnotic.”—The Wall Street Journal “Gorgeous.”—Los Angeles Times “Savage.”—The Guardian “Astonishing.”—The Boston Globe “Superbly written.”—James Wood, The New Yorker “Intensely consuming.”—Richard Ford “A spectacular achievement.”—Lucy Atkins, The Times “Thrilling.”—Jennifer Egan “Compelling and startling.”—The Economist

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