Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry

My edition: Audio
Time: 26 hours and 29 minutes
Stand alone
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime
Published: Sept. 13, 2011
Rating: 3 stars


Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider’s position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the 20th century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Now available for the first time in unabridged audio, the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime is brought to life by acclaimed narrator Scott Brick.


I always knew Charles Manson was insane, but I had no idea the full extent of it.

Helter Skelter took me into a deeper look into the murders and the motive behind Manson. I learned quite an abundance about him and the family. For one thing I didn’t know before this was that Manson tried to start a race war with the murders. I knew he was a racist but I didn’t know about that part of the motive behind the murders.

Now on the book itself I was kept interested until halfway through part six. That is when I started to loose interest. Twenty-six hours is quite a long time and while listening to this while working when I wasn’t with customers, I really found it quite hard to follow along once the trial was finished and they were going for the death penalty. Which ended up being a waste of time because the State of California did away with the death penalty. Now they are all doing life expect Susan Atkins who died in 2009 and Charlie Manson who died in 2017. Epilogue made this feel like it was longer than it was. I just wanted it to end by then. I wasn’t fully invested at that point let alone half.

I can see why some people would want to know about the Manson Family and about the murders, but I don’t quite understand the full gravitational pull Manson had on people. Quite frankly the man gives me the willies along with the girls. It is quite sad that none felt remorse (Whether now if they are remorseful I don’t know.) for what they had done and how easily they turned on one another once found that other members, who were trying to get out, was going to testify.

I may read a few more books but I don’t know if I will ever get into the hype of learning all there is to know about the Manson Family or about Charlie. While I do like reading about cults and cult leaders, after this Manson is not as exciting as he sounded. Instead of just charisma alone to control his members he actually used drugs to help his control. Not normally the kind of cult leaders I like to learn about.

Now I can officially cross this off my ever growing TBR list. Any recommendations on books to read about cults?