Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders” as Want to Read:
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  73,161 ratings  ·  1,782 reviews
A national bestseller—7 million copies sold.

Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victim
...more
Paperback, 689 pages
Published December 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1974)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Helter Skelter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Helter Skelter

American Psycho by Bret Easton EllisLord of the Flies by William Golding1984 by George OrwellA Child Called "It" by Dave PelzerA Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Most Disturbing Book Ever Written
25th out of 1,584 books — 5,669 voters
The Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonFreakonomics by Steven D. LevittIn Cold Blood by Truman CapoteA Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill BrysonGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Best Non-Fiction (non biography)
27th out of 3,211 books — 5,140 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Steve Sckenda
I was a 13-year-old paperboy when I read this true-crime story of the Charlie Manson family of killers, who terrorized Southern California in the 1970's. I had to get up every morning at 4:00 a.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to deliver 200 newspapers before dawn to my neighbors in a working-class neighborhood.

During the summer, I would sometimes stay up all night reading because I had to get up so early. If it is 1:00 a.m., why go to bed if you just have to get up in 3 hours? One sleepless
...more
Paul Bryant
Exciting news - we're joining the Manson Family!

Today is a very big day for all of us at P Bryant Reviews Inc. As you may have seen on our blog, we are joining the Manson family.

I wanted to take this opportunity to say that we always appreciate your feedback here at P Bryant Reviews. Thank you for caring enough about us to tell us what you think!

Also, I wanted to assure you that P Bryant Reviews Inc and the team behind it are not going away. We have no plans to change the P Bryant Review exper
...more
Suzanna
This is one of the scariest things I have ever read--it kept me up a few nights, to be sure. However, it was really cool (and oddly reassuring) reading how the prosecuting attorney helped the LAPD close in on these people and bring them to justice. After reading this I understand why people often say that the Manson killings for them represented the death of the hippie era of peace and love. Despite the fact that the Manson Family was not comprised of hippies, people were much more fearful and s ...more
l
One of the most fascinating things about Jesus, if you ask me, isn't how he could have walked on water or was born of a virgin. Whether I believe that those thing happened or not is a different story. What is amazing (and completely proven) is that thousands of years ago Jesus was able to attract the attention of Jews and convince them that he was their savior -- and today, thousands of years later, that legend has survived. The question is, what exactly did Jesus do to make such an impact? The ...more
marki jones
Jul 30, 2007 marki jones added it
Recommends it for: rebellious teenagers on family trips who aren't actually psychopaths
My friend is obsessed with Charles Manson, so much so that I decided I needed to understand what the hell was going on. I got this book for my trip to New Hampshire with my family to stimulate myself while sitting in a condo wishing I had nine dollars to go see Harry Potter alone due to my sorta sick crush on the character who plays Ron Weasley.
I am learning about my new interest in terrible but insanely interrelated crimes committed by and against high-profile persons. I don't know what I am re
...more
Vanessa
I have always had an interest in Charles Manson and, more specifically, the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders. Although that might seem odd and possibly a bit unsavoury, I believe my morbid interest in serial killers and things of that ilk are a result of my complete and utter amazement and horror that people could commit such acts. I want to know more about them, try to understand what goes through their minds and their motives. The Manson trial in particular was one of the strangest, and most hig ...more
Estelle
This one goes straight to my "all time favorite" shelf. Phenomenal! I couldn't stop listening to it.
Matt
"Truth is stranger than fiction" is a truism made so frequently it verges on becoming a platitude. Yet, there is a logic behind the maxim - fiction, by the very nature of it's unreality, must make a certain claim to believability. This rules out certain levels of absurdity, which would cause the fiction to be written off as fantasy. The real world, on the other hand, has no such restrictions.

Nothing illustrates this better than Helter Skelter, an account of the investigation of the Tate-LeBianca
...more
Laurel
So, here's my weird connection to Charles Manson: my mom very briefly knew Linda Kasabian. Linda was the key witness for the prosecution. She moved to my small hometown after the trial and that's how my mom got to know her a bit. She even came to our house once. Apparently, I met her too, though I was just a baby. My mom did not realize who she was until some time later - Linda had changed her last name to hide/protect her identity. She only lived in our town a short time before moving out of st ...more
Susan
This true crime classic was published in 1974. The author, Victor Bugliosi, was Deputy District Attorney in L.A. and responsible for prosecuting the Tate-LaBianca murders. As this book was published a fairly short time after the actual events, it has a real immediacy, and Bugliosi’s insider knowledge makes the reading experience extremely interesting.

The book opens with the murders, which are difficult to read about even after so long. On Saturday 9th August, 1969, screams and gunshots were hea
...more
Christopher
I liked it, but I still wanted more. I really wanted the author to get inside the head of Charles Manson, to try to find out what makes this crazy guy tick. There's something in me, and I think in a lot of people, that is fascinated by really evil people. There's a section at the end of the book that deals with this; what is it that makes Manson so intriguing? Verily, he is even more intriguing than your run-of-the-mill nutso cult leader, as evidenced by the amount of literature and legend and T ...more
Lisa
Helter Skelter is a truly astonishing book, and one that deservedly ranks amongst the best True Crime books I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a fair few). Co-written by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, it laid to rest more than a few misconceptions I’d held about Charles Manson (I was labouring under the belief that the five murders committed at 10050 Cielo Drive were the only deaths that he and his followers stood accused of, when actually these were just the horrific tip of the iceberg) and, through t ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
It was so quiet, one of the killers would later say, you could almost hear the sound of ice rattling in cocktail shakers in the homes way down the canyon.

Those are the opening lines of Helter Skelter. Decades after I had first read it, I could recall that first sentence almost word for word. The book has that kind of haunting quality. A lot of that may be due to the less well-known co-author, Curt Gentry, because in contrast Bugliosi's other book about a murder case he was involved in, And the S
...more
Robert
Apr 28, 2012 Robert added it
I cannot believe Bugliosi is still cashing in on this terribly misunderstood and unjust case. I have researched this case for many years ( this book being the first I read) and can safely say that his book is far removed from the truth .
A true investigator will research all available materials and unfortunately it has taken many years for the real story to spill out. Bugliosi was given far too much credence with his ridiculous theory by a greedy media seeking to sell sex/murder and mayhem to the
...more
Stephen
A too young divorced recent groom, I was still living alone in a log cabin on an East Tennessee ridgeline, when I chose to read two disturbing books back-to-back. “In Cold Blood” was the first, this one the second.

“Helter Skelter,” the story of the Manson family murders, is unbelievably disturbing. Unconsciously mad. Thinking about it today, so many years later, it is still so. Author Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecutor for the case and lays out the story as any good DA lays out his murder case.
...more
Rebecca McNutt
O_o ...my god.

It surprised me at just how creepy this true crime book was, it reminded me of the 2012 found footage horror film Sinister. What's most shocking is that it actually happened! A gang of hippie teenagers crept up on an unsuspecting group of people, one of them a pregnant woman, and stabbed them all repeatedly to death in the night.

Why?

Because of this psychotic old wiener, apparently:
description

Yup, Charlie Manson here allegedly brainwashed a cult of hippies, junkies, eco-freaks and runaways int
...more
Talulah Mankiller
This one’s not for the faint of heart, y’all: it’s exactly 8 million pages long in teeny, tiny little font. Ahem. Anyway, it is, as the title says, the true story of the Manson Murders. I vaguely remember seeing this book on my parents’ shelves when I was a kid, which wouldn’t be surprising: my mom is from California, and she would have been a young woman during the Manson trial, if not the murders. So I grew up with this book, and I grew up with the whole idea of “Charles Manson” as this evil m ...more
E.J.
Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry’s HELTER SKELTER is one of the most recognizable true crime titles in American history alongside Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD and Anne Rule’s THE STRANGER BESIDE ME. It’s also one of the most in-depth because it’s written by the chief prosecutor who put the mercurial madman, Charles Mason away. Because he began writing this book just after the conclusion of the case, the details were not only fresh in his mind, but he had access to every ounce of evidence surrou ...more
Dierdra Byrd
The Charlies Manson case has always been a huge interest to me but I have never read a True Crime book about him and I am really glad I didn't until now! This is the best True Crime book I have ever read and this makes me happy and sad. LOL. I do not see how any other true crime book could compare to this or live up to this book. Maybe because of who the author was? I am not sure but I could not put it down!
Charles Manson is one of the "best" known serial killers to this date and I guess like Bu
...more
Sarah
I am a recent convert to the true-crime genre but I found this book to be fascinating. I didn't know much about the Manson case, so I was completely surprised and disgusted by the crimes. Granted, I had to sleep with the lights on for a few nights, but I couldn't put this book down. It's probably rare to have access to the lead prosecutor of such a high-profile investigations but I loved the way that Bugliosi explained all the strange coincidences that plagued this case. I preferred the investig ...more
Elizabeth
I just can't give this any more then 2 stars. I've always heard that Helter Skelter was a fantastic read but I found it really dry and dull.

I guess growing up with a mom that loved those Sunday afternoon murder shows on A&E, I already knew everything I needed to know about the Manson Family.

Wow that last sentence really sums up my childhood.
AmberBug *shelfnotes.com*
3.5 Stars
www.shelfnotes.com review
Dear Reader,

I don't know what I was expecting with this book. Half of me felt like I was pleased but the other half kept thinking how long winded and unnecessary it was for Attorney Bugliosi to tell us EVERY tiny detail of the crime. Maybe this would appeal to those who like to watch "who-dun-it" shows to try and guess what happened... but doesn't EVERYONE know what happened? I guess if you were into criminology or this was taught as a class... but even then, th
...more
Guy Portman
In one of the most infamous mass murders in history, Sharon Tate, the Hollywood actress and pregnant wife of film director Roman Polanski, is brutally slain in her home, along with coffee heiress Abigail Folger, her boyfriend Voytek Frykowski, hair stylist to the stars Jay Sebring, and teenager Steven Parent, an acquaintance of the property’s caretaker. The victims, with the exception of Parent, have been stabbed multiple times, and the word ‘PIG’ has been scrawled on a door in Tate’s own blood. ...more
Wil
The first thing I want to mention here is that I find it incredibly irksome that (albeit a small proportion of) people have given this book a rating of one or two, accompanied by remarks like ‘Ahhh, SO scary! Couldn’t finish it!!’

...Really? What did you expect!? Surely anybody with even a loose grasp on their senses would note that a) murder is generally not a soft & cuddly topic for a bit of light bedtime reading and b) the cover clearly includes the words ‘true crime’ & ‘shocking story
...more
N
This book is bad. Well, not just slightly bad, but TERRIBLY bad. How anyone can believe this tripe is truly beyond all realms of imagination. Get Marlin Marynick's 'Charles Manson Now' and Schrecks new and updated 2011 book 'The Manson File: Myth and Reality of an Outlaw Shaman' from his website.

This book is terribly bad. So much nonsense it's almost embarrassing. I suggest getting 'Charles Manson Now' by Marlin Marynick (read the Star review on the Amazon page for it) and Nikolas Schrecks' new
...more
Kristofer Lambert
One of the top 5 best books I've ever read. I read this book everywhere: toilet, in class, at red lights...just couldn't put it down. I never knew or cared anything about Charles Manson, but from the first paragraph I got a chill up my spine and couldn't put it down. The book is a true story filled with murder, hippies, drugs, sex, police, serial killers, presidents, conspiracies...essentially, everything good you need in a good story, PLUS it is told be an ingenious lawyer who solved a ridiculo ...more
Alan Geday
I knew I was going to get a feel as to just how Charles Manson committed his murders. However, I did not expect an insight quite like this one. I was always interested in Charles Manson and as to why there is such a big cult surrounding him. Vincent Bugliosi writes a passionate, detailed, description of the murders and what lead Manson and his cult to kill their victims. What I liked about the book was how Bugliosi gives an emotionally attached vibe, almost as if he took part of the murders, and ...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
I finished this ages ago. Man, I hate Manson. I don't know why these people followed him and worshiped him. He was also abusive too, smacking these girls around and treating them like steaming dog crap.

Fathers, be good to your daughters or else they'll end up worshiping people like Manson and they'll kill people and have no minds of their own.

Also he had KIDS. Imagine being the son of Manson. Plus he had such an affliction of a name too. It would haunt me if this guy was my father.

This book is w
...more
Erin
Jul 02, 2008 Erin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: most people, actually
Recommended to Erin by: my mom
scary and amazing story. true crime isn't generally one of my interests, but this had been recommended to me numerous times. it was well-written, and managed to make almost all of the murderers far more sympathetic characters than i would have imagined possible. the part that frightens me the most, i think, is that manson's philosophy was based on such simple and easily accessible things as the bible and the white album. i mean, who hasn't heard a song that felt like it was written specifically ...more
Hinch
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders is quite possibly the definitive work of true crime literature. At over 700 pages, and written by Vincent Bugliosi, who served as the prosecution attorney, the book not only provides an exceptionally detailed account of the now infamous Tate/La Bianca murders, and the subsequent investigation and trial, but also a deep insight into the mind and philosophy of Charles Manson.

Motivated by diverse influences including Scientology, the Book of Reve
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Why the draw? 15 187 Mar 18, 2015 06:37PM  
Was it really scary? 130 390 Dec 30, 2014 09:11PM  
Helter Skelter 24 72 Nov 23, 2014 09:35PM  
Bookworm Buddies: Helter skelter anyone? 12 28 Oct 25, 2013 07:08PM  
From George Vreeland Hill 1 45 Apr 25, 2012 10:28PM  
  • Zodiac
  • Fatal Vision
  • Deviant: The Shocking True Story of Ed Gein, the Original "Psycho"
  • Killer Clown: The John Wayne Gacy Murders
  • The Boston Strangler
  • The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy The Shocking Inside Story
  • The Family
  • The Night Stalker
  • The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy
  • Murder in Greenwich
  • The Onion Field
  • The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: An American Nightmare
  • Deadly Innocence
  • Burning Bed: The True Story of an Abused Wife
  • Manson in His Own Words
  • Cries Unheard: Why Children Kill: The Story of Mary Bell
  • The Complete History of Jack the Ripper
  • The Road Out of Hell: Sanford Clark and the True Story of the Wineville Murders
28828
American attorney and author, best known for prosecuting Charles Manson and his followers for the murder of Sharon Tate and others.

In his books he claimed that O.J Simpson and Lee Harvey Oswald were guilty of the crimes they were accused of.

In his latest book he states that George W. Bush should be prosecuted for murder.

Bugliosi lives in Pasadena, CA.
More about Vincent Bugliosi...
And the Sea Will Tell Till Death Us Do Part: A True Murder Mystery Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away with Murder Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder

Share This Book

“I may have implied on several occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven't decided yet what I am or who I am.” 12 likes
“For a lawyer to do less than his utmost is, I strongly feel, a betrayal of his client. Though in criminal trials one tends to focus on the defense attorney and his client the accused, the prosecutor is also a lawyer, and he too has a client: the People. And the People are equally entitled to their day in court, to a fair and impartial trial, and to justice.” 10 likes
More quotes…