John's Reviews > The Family

The Family by Ed Sanders
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's review
Jan 10, 08

Read in February, 2008

Ed Sanders (ex-Fug, leader of the counterculture, circa '67, according to Life magazine) should be commended for the kitchen sink approach he takes to his subject. He includes every unanswered question, rumor and crackpot conspiracy theory related to Manson, his accomplices and their crimes. He ties both Manson and the Tate-LaBianca victims to a celebrity studded "sado-maso club run out of Mama Cass's house," infamous for ritually torturing a drug dealer who ripped them off. He does his best to illuminate shadowy satanic cults supposedly wandering the California coast at the time. He even includes a hand written note from Manson accusing the author of being a long-time CIA agent.
This material is more fascinating and "out there" than typical true crime fare. Unfortunately, Sanders stumbles beneath the weight of organizing it all. He frequently repeats incidents and anecdotes at multiple points in the book, obscuring any linear narrative. His excessive alliteration and cutesy catch-phrases (he actually writes out "oo-ee-oo" at the end of every paragraph containing suitably "creepy" details) also get grating at times. At 500 plus pages, The Family reads more like a jumbled police file than a well edited piece of investigative journalism.
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