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Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  109,482 ratings  ·  3,176 reviews
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 victims, and what was his hold over the young women ...more
Paperback, 689 pages
Published December 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1974)
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JBP I borrowed this from my local library for free. I highly recommend seeing if your library carries it. At least that way its free. :)
Emy It does tell a little bit about his childhood, though it also claims that Charles' account of it does not agree with his own mother's account. It is…moreIt does tell a little bit about his childhood, though it also claims that Charles' account of it does not agree with his own mother's account. It is not a large description of how he grew up, other than the fact that he spent 17 years of his life in some type of prison by the time he was 31. Hope this helps.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.02  · 
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 ·  109,482 ratings  ·  3,176 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
***DISCLAIMER: I READ THIS BOOK UNDER THE CONSTANT INFLUENCE OF THE WHITE ALBUM BY THE BEATLES.***

 photo Charlie20Manson_zpsntlxkxxl.jpg
Hello Charlie! You crazy F (expletive has been deleted because for some crazy reason I’ve got a bunch of kids following my reviews) R!!!

”’How are you going to get the establishment? You can’t sing to them. I tried that. I tried to save them, but they wouldn’t listen. Now we got to destroy them.”’
---Charlie Manson to a friend in the summer of 1969


The number of people killed by the Manson family in t
...more
Ana O
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
On the afternoon of Friday, August 8, 1969, Manson told the Family: “Now is the time for Helter Skelter.”

 photo tumblr_static_xqou20fho40ckscswgo8wwc4_zpskv815eiq.gif


{This is probably the darkest review I've ever written. Beware, ye of little courage.}


Gaze upon this gif. So innocent, so sweet. There is nothing sinister about it. Right?

 photo tumblr_nk6xokWDMe1u2roero1_500_zpsec41delr.gif

Well, guess again. The carefree girls in this gif are members of the Manson family singing and laughing as they entered the courtroom.

Who knew a murder trial could make someone so happy?

But let’s go back a bit.

Crazy
...more
Matthew
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hardcore True Crime Fans
1969 was the end of an era, and the beginning of another. Post-WWII America up against Vietnam America as society rolls over from clean cut, white picket fences to long hair and free love. While every decade ends differently than it began, the 60s might be even more so than others when it comes to society, pop culture, and government. While 1969 stands out in my mind as one of the most important years of our time, it wasn’t until I read Helter Skelter that I realized how much happened at the end ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
So the simple fact is: this man is crazier than a sh•t house rat!



He's disturbing and sick.



And is his 80 + year old nasty self still married to some 20 something year old? I'm not showing pictures. I don't even want to do a review thinking some freaks are still out there and will come for us all!

And don't get me started on those crazy girls of his, well the whole crew, but still!

We are off to be charged with murder, and we don't care at all. <--- like my little jingle.



The book is filled w
...more
Arah-Lynda
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 in the canyon.
The canyons above Hollywood and Beverly Hills play tricks with sounds.  A noise clearly audible a mile away may be indistinguishable at a few hundred feet.
It was hot that night.


Before the sun rose on August 9, 1969 in Bel Air at 10050 Cielo Drive five people lay horrifically and brutally slain.  Some would say that since one of the victims w
...more
Matt
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
“My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system…I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you.”
- Testimony of Charles Manson, November 20, 1970 (given outside the presence of the jury)

When I started Helter Skelter, it did not have an ending; by the time I finished, by an odd quirk of timing, it did. On November 19, 2017, with about a hundred pages left in my paperback chronicle of his infamous deeds, Charles Manson – cult leader, convicted murderer, synonym of charismatic depra
...more
Mackey
My high school US history class textbook was Bloodletters and Badmen: A Narrative Encyclopedia of American Criminals from the Pilgrims to the Present. It was an interesting, yet very enlightening, way to study the development of the US. Think about it. I also attribute this one course for my insatiable desire to read crime novels - fiction or non. For our final grade we had to read Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi. It's banned in many high schools now but ...more
Amalia Gavea
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, non-fiction
The Book of Books about one of the most shocking crimes ever committed. Written in simple, clear, almost surgical language, it demands the reader's full attention and leads us right into the hell of one of the most evil minds to have walked this Earth, the mind of Charles Manson.

Although everyone knows the particulars of the massacres committed by the Family, the lack of remorse, the sheer power of all the brain-washing done to the Girls of Manson's sect never fails to shock me and amaze me. How
...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: true-crime
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
Ginger
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, buddy-read
Good grief! Helter Skelter shocked me in many ways! I had no idea that so many people were murdered or how batshit crazy and evil the Family was.



Charles Manson was not only an evil, little man but was extremely manipulative and cunning. He was a con man, a racist and a misogynist. He had the ability to read others from being in the prison system for years before he started the Family at Spahn Ranch which is located in the South Los Angeles area.

He would figure out the weaknesses and issues with
...more
Erin
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness! This is perhaps the king of true crime novels in one sense. Yet in another, it was hard to listen to the horrifying details of the crimes and the twisted philosophy of Charles Manson.

Meticulous. I don't think there is a better way to describe this book written from the viewpoint of D.A Vincent Bugliosi who headed up the legal team during the trial. This book encompassed most of my walks for August/September. Yes, as I am wishing other walkers a great morning/evening, I listened
...more
Carol
Charles Manson and "his family" reigned terror throughout an affluent LA community back in 1969 after the brutal mass murder of more than seven people....an unforgettable time if you grew up in the sixties. Prosecuting Attorney, Vincent Bugliosi gives the reader a technically detailed and vividly descriptive account of the true-crime murder trial, and the motivation (view spoiler) behind the mind of a killer.

And while all

...more
Diane
Jun 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
A classic in the true crime genre, this is a fascinating account of the Charles Manson family and the murders they committed in the summer of 1969.

Written by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, the reader learns the details as the police detectives do. We watch them investigate the murders, interview witnesses and follow up on leads. Bugliosi also shares his perspective on the case, which was interesting. I listened to this on audio and was riveted throughout.

But when it came time to write this revie
...more
Suzanna
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
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
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recent
I don’t understand the continued appeal of Charles Manson or his family, but I do understand the appeal of this book. It leads through the events as they are placed back together by the prosecution during the trial of Manson and his accomplices, and does so in an interesting way. Helter Skelter reads fast and kept my attention until the defendants are sentenced. At that point, I felt I knew everything I needed to know about Manson — he was a delusional racist who preyed on weak and needy souls a ...more
Laura Noggle
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: true crime fans
Solid 5 Shiver-inducing Stars

The Tate-LaBianca murders occurred during the summer of '69, when Charles Manson's "family" snuck into two houses by the cover of night and gruesomely slaughtered everyone there.

This is the best true crime book I've read so far. Better than In Cold Blood and more exciting than The Devil in the White City (in my opinion).

It's hard not to find references to Charles Manson in popular culture, especially on screen (hello American Horror Story: Cult), so I had a general
...more
lp
Feb 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017, faves, nonfiction, ebook
If you're interested in the Manson family or True Crime you need to read this. It is so well done and just very comprehensive and very interesting. I'm not sure when I first heard about the Manson family and the murders but once I did learn about them, I was fascinated. I'm very interested in cults, true crime stories and deeply disturbed killers but I rarely read books on those subjects because it's very hard to find a good book.

Reading this was an amazing reading experience and I'll explain w
...more
Vanessa
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
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
*~Lan Lan~*
I actually finished my genre challenge on the very last day!!!! OMFG!!!!!!!

Saying this book was insane is understatement.

I usually stay far away from True Crime for a reason. It scares the shit out of me. Unlike Horror, where you can distance yourself since you know the story is not real, True Crime forces the reader to face real monsters with no safety net or ejection button.

The Manson murders took place back in the late 1960s, during height of the hippy lifestyle. Free love, acceptance, break
...more
SAM
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m aware there’s many books in circulation about the Manson Family Saga but I’m willing to say, in ignorance of the others, this is the most definitive. As horrific as the killings were, the primary appeal of Helter Skelter is Charles Manson. If anyone other than Manson had organised the murder of Sharon Tate et al. then I’d have to doubt the infamy of this case.

The book opens with the murder of a heavily pregnant Sharon Tate as well as celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring, friends Abigail Folger
...more
Horace Derwent
May 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
there're times, are times keep on going...think you love me, babe...you know that it is true

a folk singer, a racist. a junkie, another self-negotiating loser







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with Afton Elaine Burton



marki jones
Jul 30, 2007 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
Vikki
So have you ever read a book where there is all this hype and everyone seems to like/have on their reading list and you read it and are like "It was okay, I guess?" That was this book to me. How the author made an interesting story and topic so boring is beyond me... The author was the persecutor for this case and I guess all the reading and writing of boring legal documents bled into his writing style for this book. He was repetitive at times which made it confusing and hard to follow at times. ...more
Estelle
This one goes straight to my "all time favorite" shelf. Phenomenal! I couldn't stop listening to it.
Susan
Jan 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Cecily Kyle
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting account of the Manson case but a bit outdated now. A lot more has happened since Manson's incarceration and most of the info in this book I have learned over time so I didn't feel like I really learned much. Well written though.
Bettie☯
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vicki
Feb 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book has stayed with me since I read it in 1976. I was a teenager and do not know what I was thinking even reading it. It has haunted me with the details that filled every page. To know that such evil was out there actively terrorizing innocent people.

The writing was vivid and graphic and it painted pictures that I would just as soon forget. the fear in that time of the Manson family was real and on the news. The writing by Vincent Bugliosi was gripping. The tension of the police and the c
...more
Maede
اگر داستان تخیلی زیر رو می خوندین رهاش می کردید، چون بیش از حد غیر ممکن بود. اما این داستان واقعیه

نهم آگوست ۱۹۶۹. جنازه خونین شارون تیت بازیگر زیبای هالیوودی که ۸ماهه حامله بود غرق در خون با ضربه های متعدد چاقو همراه با ۴ نفر دیگه که به همین هولناکی به قتل رسیدند در خانه سیلو درایو لس آنجلس پیدا می شه. روی در ورودی کلمه "خوک" با خون شارون تیت نوشته شده. درست شب بعد قتل بعدی اتفاق میوفته و لابیانکاها با دست و پای بسته و ضربات بسیار چاقو به قتل می رسند. کلمات"مرگ بر خوک ها" روی دیوار نوشته شده

چارل
...more
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377 followers
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 lived in Pasadena, CA.
“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.” 20 likes
“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.” 15 likes
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