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Helter Skelter: The True Story Of The Manson Murder Paperback – Dec 4 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: WW Norton; Reprint edition (Dec 4 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393322238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393322231
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.6 x 21.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 143 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #10,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


One of the best crime stories ever written. — Chicago Sun-Times Showcase

[A] social document of rare importance. — The New Republic

About the Author

Curt Gentry (1931-2014), an Edgar winner, was the author of J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets, Frame-Up: The Incredible Case of Tom Mooney and Warren Billings, and co-author of Helter Skelter with Vincent Bugliosi.

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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. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This page is already filled with superlatives for Mr. Bugliosi's brilliant chronicle of an unprecedented crime that signaled the end of an era. For me, what adds to the endless fascination of this unsettling tale (as shocking now as it was then) is that, unlike in our present era of cowardice, Bugliosi dares to take the high ground and actually incorporate his moral disgust and indignation into the narrative without sacrificing fairness or diluting the facts. Really, the only people who escape some sort of blame are the victims--and that is just as it should be.
I lived in the city of Granada Hills in 1969, about a 15-minute drive from the Spahn ranch and I still vividly recall those excruciatingly hot days after the Tate murders when the whole Los Angeles area seemed to freeze in its tracks, paralyzed by fear and shock. It wasn't an easy feeling to live with then--and it sticks with you. Whenever I revisit Mr Bugliosi's classic work, or the respectable miniseries it produced, those feelings come rushing back in waves. As horrific as the crimes were, the pall it cast over the entire era is almost as criminal. The sixties were much more than the sum of its parts and I, for one, am grateful to Mr. Bugliosi and others who defended our rights. This hardcover edition is most welcome--all classics deserve to be rescued from paperback as well as Norton has rescued this one.
Another great action thriller to read is by Giorgio Kostantinos- The Quest.
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Format: Paperback
If what you want is an avalanche of factual detail about the Tate/LaBianca/Hinman murders, the investigation surrounding those murders, and the trials of Manson and some of his Family members, this is the book for you. It's clear that Bugliosi is a gifted prosecutor with a keen eye for detail and organizational abilities worthy of an Army quartermaster on campaign. The guy didn't miss a trick, and his version of events is compelling.
The book, however, would be more compelling by far if Bugliosi understood the meaning of the word "humble." In every facet of the investigation, in every recorded moment of the trial, he is right, and anyone who didn't have his ability with details and organization is wrong. I suppose the problem with exceptionally gifted people is that they often have little patience for those who operate at lesser levels.
Bugliosi's descriptions of the trial and the Everest-like proportions of evidence that needed to be sifted through, make it clear that it all he could do--with the help of LAPD, LASO, and other jurisdictions' police departments--to get his fact investigation taken care of. Certainly, had he not had different police detectives working for him, he never would have been able to present the case as he did. Yet he seems to think that the Manson Family defense attorneys should have been able to keep up with him and realize the significance of everything just as he did. He gives barely a nod to the fact that it was one's first trial, another had never won a trial before, all of them were working hard in a situation where they were probably under threat of their lives, and *none* of them were getting paid much if anything for their work.
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Format: Hardcover
I first read "Helter Skelter" the same summer I read "In Cold Blood." Both books left indelible images in my psyche and ensured I would never look at the world of crime and investigation the same again.
I've never read a book quite like HS since. Bugliosi and Gentry have written a taught and gripping blow-by-blow account of the two seemingly unconnected streams of events, the Tate/La Bianca murders and Manson's cult, how they horribly intersected and the breathtaking resolution.
Bugliosi's reminiscences provide both the personal anguish that the investigation caused him and his family and the urgent immediacy that gripped him and the community to see that justice was finally done.
Unforgettable and unflinching, "Helter Skelter" forces us to look into the eyes of evil and learn more about ourselves.
See also my reviews of the "Helter Skelter" TV movie and the audio book version.
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Format: Paperback
If you 'think' you know the whole story, think again.
I decided to read Mr. Bugliosi's book--from beginning to end. And yes, as the first page says, "The story you are about to read will scare the hell out of you..." absolutely did.
The most fascinating was the trial. What happend 'during' that trial and 'afterwards' left my blood running cold.
This is a horror-filled, factual-account of what happend in human history, and it should be taken seriously. The fact that ONE man, Charles Manson, could have SO many people under his 'influence'--of their OWN accord--is mind boggling. What's worse, they 'killed' FOR him! The body count still climbed to over 40 AFTER he was put in prison...from the 'Family'.
In MY opinion, if it weren't for Vincent Bugliosi, Manson, and the 'girls' would have been found 'not guilty'. Mr. Bugliosi was at the right place at the right time....and he ABSOLUTELY was THE SOLE reason 'why' Manson went to prison.
Thank you Vincent Bugliosi! Well done!
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