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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling, authoritative account of the life of Charles Manson, filled with surprising new information: “A riveting, almost Dickensian narrative…four stars” (People). 

More than 40 years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson’s childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson family have provided new information about Manson’s life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person near the scene of the crime was spared. 

Manson puts the killer in the context of the turbulent late 60s, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how Manson created and refined his message to fit the times, persuading confused young women (and a few men) that he had the solutions to their problems. At the same time he used them to pursue his long-standing musical ambitions. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences. 

Guinn’s book is a “tour de force of a biography…Manson stands as a definitive work: important for students of criminology, human behavior, popular culture, music, psychopathology, and sociopathology…and compulsively readable” (Ann Rule, The New York Times Book Review). 

©2013 24Words LLC. All rights reserved. (P)2019 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about Manson

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thought It would like every other Manson book I own....

I have a half a dozen books on Charles Manson and The Family. The classic Helter Skelter, Charles Manson Coming Down Fast: A Chilling Biography, Hunting Charles Manson: The Quest for Justice in the Days of Helter Skelte,r, Creepy Crawling and Diane Lakes Memoir.

So naturally I thought it would be a yawn given all the info and accounts I have already heard. However, this was absolutely fascinating. The Author did a really good job keeping this book full of interesting and new facts and details that even though the crime mirrors the way the murders went down as in the other books, the delivery and little known facts keep in from being redundant.

I listened to it in one setting. Bravo to the author for pulling that off and writing such a great book.

16 people found this helpful

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better than others

This book was much better than others I have read about Charles Manson. The information is presented in a timeline which makes it all come together and make sense. I recommend!

7 people found this helpful

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Loved it.

I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea how connected Manson was with the rich and famous. And he is just NUTS. It was a great story. Very well written. I enjoyed it from beginning to end.

4 people found this helpful

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Not "Bug"-liosi

Very distracting that the author continually mispronounced Bugliosi, even after initially acknowledging the silent "G"

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

AMAZING

I absolutely loved this book. I have listened to quite a few Charles Manson books, and this one has been my favorite 100% Even over Helter Skelter (which is also amazing) I loved the real in-depth dive into the life of Charles Manson and what could've made such an evil man.

1 person found this helpful

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Too much Times, not enough Life

It's OK. There are a few lengthy chapters about the music industry and about hippies you can skip without any effect on Mansons story. It's also a bit dated, since Manson and some of his accomplices are dead now.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent !

Well written, informative and overall kept my attention THE ENTIRE TIME.

Best book I’ve read or listened to so far on the subject.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent!

Awesome well written book! Great narrator! Learned a lot! Thanks you for writing such a great book!

1 person found this helpful

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Cult Figureheads.

In the years following the Manson killings society has witnessed a string of cults led by charismatic figures. Jim Jones and David Koresh spring to mind although there have been 10 or more suicidal, dynamic personalities who have created a following of gullible groups of unhinged, crazy people willing to throw all reason and logic aside to "enjoy" a life bereft of personal truth. We've seen Scientology, Heaven's Gate cult. The Satanic Panic of the 80's lead to the current QAnon and many of today's Republicans hold strongly believing they are surrounded by pedophile Satanists. This sort of mass hysteria has been a feature of Tea Party advocates leading to the most dangerous cult of all: Trumpism and the complete willingness to accept anything as truth whenever one of these bromides are spoken by Trump. Manson reminds me that he was only one person in the continuum leading to the Fox News attack on truth. As the rock group Procol Harum sang: “Still There’ll Be More”.

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Why Does Manson Attract Us?

Why does Charles Manson still draw attention all these years later? He’s been dead now several years yet he is still an enigma. I suppose it’s because we view Charlie as a poster child of the 60’s? Perhaps it’s our own sinfulness that we detect?

Having read Helter Skelter twice, I’m familiar with the Manson story. Guinn didn’t add too much but a few surprises are here. I enjoyed the pace of the book and found the story engaging as always.