TAMING THE BEAST by Edward George


Charles Manson's Life Behind Bars
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The latest entry in the canon of a true madman. George, a retired corrections officer who met Manson in 1975 at San Quentin, says up front that his Jesuit training led him to believe that the beast could indeed be tamed. His years of knowing Manson—whom he frequently describes as —devilish— or —demonic,— —a wicked troll——led him to believe otherwise, and as both George’s narrative and the parole board hearing transcripts cited here make clear, Manson is as monstrously sick as ever; he builds cockroach cages and voodoo dolls and rants about himself as a Christ-like figure. This volume (coauthored by true-crime writer Matera) gives us an ugly, ugly look at a man whose entire life has been a study in sickness. George advances a few theories about Manson’s childhood and relationship with his father, then admits he doesn’t know if Manson actually knew his father. George also has little to offer about Manson’s motivations, though he does provide a chilling glimpse of Family members like Lynette —Squeaky— Fromme, who showed up at the prison regularly in her red cape, begging to be allowed to see Manson. George saw her just days before she attempted to assassinate then-president Gerald Ford. George also gives updates on the women who still follow Manson—and there are quite a few of them—and it’s scary how active the Family still is, nearly 30 years after they rose to infamy. While it’s tough to see the rationale behind yet another book about this particular psycho—Manson himself counts 58 books on the topic—George has some items of interest to those who want to know all the details of Manson’s prison life.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-18085-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998


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