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"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."
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."
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, this case is so UNIQUE! I find great fascination in the Manson murders and trial, mostly due to the brutality and crazy mindedness of it all. Manson was truly bonkers and after listening to this audiobook, I know that more than ever. I also learned that he wasn't the craziest of them all, he had an entire gang of looney toons following him. How terrifying is that. I honestly had trouble sleeping a few nights during the intricately detailed sections that dealt with the murders.
Some might ask me, why didn't you like this that much if you found it to be so scary? Yes, you might be right because this was one of the most terrifying books I've read BUT also one of the most boring. It all comes down to Bugliosi, I mean look at this way, the guy is a LAWYER, not a writer... so how can we hope that he will write this without a little dull lawyer speak? Okay, let me give him a little credit because he was the lawyer for the case, so he was the most informed and likely candidate to write a book about the case... I'll give him that.
I guess I might have been expecting something else, maybe they could have chopped out half of this book and I would have rated it higher. Sure, Helter Skelter is an important piece of work, but the scary thought is this; what if the importance behind it, doesn't have anything to do with the Author. Stay with me here, we could even say that MANSON made a notch in history "important" because he ordered all these people murdered and brainwashed a bunch of teen hippies. I'm not quite sure I'd like to give him that credit... but the ratings of this book and the famousness of the case are like a flashing neon sign that says "look at me!" What do you think? Do you think Manson had fame in mind or was he just a crazy senseless killer? Oh, and for your terror, I have posted a few pictures below of the culprits and the case.