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Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  138,460 ratings  ·  4,758 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 n…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)

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Jeffrey Keeten
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime

 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 i
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 with
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
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"We're not in Wonderland anymore Alice." - Charles Manson

Wasn't that the truth. Vincent Bugliosi (btw, isn't that the best name?) is not only a gifted author he was also the Prosecuting attorney in the Mason trail. What better person to write this book! Plus, he put Manson away for good.

“These children that come at you with knives--they are your children. You taught them. I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up.” -Charles Manson

How could someone who preached love, said he was J
Jan 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, owned
WOW, what a way to start 2021 lol. First read of the year and a 5 star read at that! Also based on the...mess, let's say...that was 2020—what better way to start this year than to read about the Manson Murders??

But in all seriousness, this book is excellent. It's iconic, at this point, and honestly a historical document. Vincent Bugliosi details the murders, the investigation, the trial and the societal impact that these terrible Murders inflicted on America in the late 60's/early 70's.

So who is
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
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
Why I chose to listen to this audiobook:
1. although I have heard about Charles Manson and his "Family" (who hasn't?) as well as the movie Helter Skelter, I don't remember if I've ever watched it, so when I read GR friend Joey's review, I was very interested in refreshing my memory about this horrific event by adding it to my WTR list;
2. the abridged audiobook (5 hr. 34 min.) was readily available via Overdrive; and,
3. August is my self-declared "As the Spirit Moves Me Month".

1. written
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
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
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
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

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 listene
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
This true crime classic has been on my to read list for awhile and I am glad that I finally got around to reading it. I had seen television documentaries of Manson and his family years ago. It was interesting to say the least, but watching them gave me worst nightmares than a horror fiction book. With that being said, I had some weird dreams reading this true crime novel and I would try not to read it at night as somehow or other the evil that I was reading went with me into my subconscious. Tha ...more
Edgarr Alien Pooh
This book has risen instantly to equal first of my favourite, all-time, true crime books. It shares the number one spot with Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Whereas Capote's work is more like the literary telling of a horrendous crime, Bugliosi is all about facts, no matter how gruesome. It is worth noting before I go further that the author, Vincent Bugliosi, was the public prosecutor in the case against the Manson family so this is all straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak.

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
Jay Schutt
Sep 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, true-crime
A book that only Bugliosi could write. Excellent.
Brittany McCann
Reading this book made me want to yell at SOOOOO many people for their complete ineptitude and lack of communication. The utter lack of situational awareness and actually following through with the protocols of duty were so frustrating to read.

There were so many missed opportunities to capture the Manson cult. They even openly confessed to murders multiple times before anyone took real notice.

Other than the frustration, Vincent Bugliosi did a superb job of compiling the facts and first-hand ac
Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The murders committed by the Manson Family at the Tate and LaBianca residences in 1969 are so horrific they make you want to weep. Vincent Bugliosi's true crime classic makes you feel such sorrow for the victims, more than any documentary or dramatization could.

At 650+ pages, embarking on this reading experience can be daunting. Obviously the topic is unpleasant, yet the story is so compelling that you never lose interest. Bugliosi has his critics, but I'm of the opinion that there was no one b
Krystin | TheF**kingTwist
Book Blog | Bookstagram

“You can convince anybody of anything if you just push it at them all of the time. They may not believe it 100 percent, but they will still draw opinions from it, especially if they have no other information to draw their opinions from.”

Everyone knows the story of Charles Manson. The highlights of the wildest and most horrific moments - the bloody writing on the wall, the murder of a pregnant celebrity, the three happy girls singing on their way to their murder trial.
Laura Noggle
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I may never recover from. A true life horror story worse than any fictional horror movie/book I’ve ever seen or read. The story of the Manson murders is the most bizarre, baffling story that literally left me speechless, a senseless and brutal killing spree that terrorised a city and the whole world and continues to haunt people today.

I can’t explain the affect this book had on me, I was completely transfixed and couldn’t think of much else while reading it but I also had many mo
Johann (jobis89)
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"These children that come at you with knives--they are your children. You taught them. I didn't teach them. I just tried to help them stand up." - Charles Manson.

On 9 August 1969, seven people were found shot, stabbed and bludgeoned to death in Los Angeles. America watched in fascinated horror as the killers were tried and convicted. This book details the crimes and murders of the Manson Family, as well as the trial that followed.

This book was written by District Attorney for the Manson case, Vi
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew Sharon Tate, Manson's most sensational victim, in high school. She was a beautiful girl. My good friend Dougie and I had a double date--Dougie asked Sharon, and, as I remember it, I blind-dated one of her cousins from Louisiana. We went to the local drive-in theater in Pasadena, Texas. Sharon was a lot of fun, witty and interesting as was my date that night.

Much later, my wife and I had just settled into a new assignment deep in the bush of Zambia when I got news of Sharon's death at th
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
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
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, faves, nonfiction, z2017
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
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
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Play Book Tag: Helter Skelter / Vincent Bugliosi. 3.5 stars (abridged audio) 7 15 Feb 09, 2021 04:10PM  
Play Book Tag: Helter Skelter - Vincent Bugliosi - 5 Stars 12 22 Aug 10, 2020 01:42PM  
Amazin Brain Booster 1 5 Feb 08, 2020 12:10AM  
2022 SQHS Your Li...: Helter Skelter 2 9 Jan 30, 2020 12:29PM  
Scariest True Story I have ever read. 3 41 Apr 24, 2019 11:43AM  
Was it really scary? 139 516 Apr 06, 2019 06:35PM  

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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.

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