HELTER SKELTER by Vincent Bugliosi


The True Story Of The Manson Murders
Featured vintage review selection (week of August 5, 2013)
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Note from Kirkus' Vintage Review Editor:

This week, a new biography of Charles Manson with previously unknown material is being published. Time to brush up on your Charles Manson facts! Vincent Bugliosi's major best-seller Helter Skelter, about the Manson case, is worth revisiting (Bugliosi was the prosecutor in the trial).


ANATOMY OF A MASS MURDER IN COLD BLOOD—or exsanguination (bleeding to death)—only one of the particulars you will pick up in this account of the Tate-LaBianca trials as told by the prosecuting Deputy D.A. and professor of criminal law who is also a TV consultant. There's none of the insubstantiality and "sleazo input" of Ed Sanders' The Family and no one will miss his cheap head prose. This is above all responsible and exhaustive, as slowly and almost in spite of the LAPD (Channel 7 and a ten-year-old boy brought in more evidence) the case against Manson and his groupies was compiled. Partly with the help of Family member Susan Atkins ("Wow, what a trip")—more with the quieter testimony of Linda—an indictment against Charles M. Manson, a.k.a. Jesus Christ, God, was achieved. For those who never knew or forgot, helter skelter was his favorite term (from the Beatles song) of the black-white revolution coming down—with his help—much is made of it here, less of that Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land paradigm, lt's all there down to the last forensic specifics—the whole truth and the monstrous consequences of the dark messiah who totted up 35 to 40 killings. Book-of-the-Month Club selection for December and who's to doubt the popular potential or continuing torsion—like a leather thong vise.
Pub Date: Nov. 11th, 1974
ISBN: 0393322238
Page count: 698pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1974


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