Review: Helter Skelter; The True Story of The Manson Murders

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson MurdersHelter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vincent Bugliosi said it best, “… The singularity of Manson’s evil and the particular brand of demonic murders he authored have not again been inflicted upon our nation. We can only hope that the ensuing years will be the same.” He wrote those words in June 1994. It appears in the afterword of the currently available version of “Helter Skelter”.

We continue as a society to be fascinated by the actions of Charles Manson and his followers, who are collectively known as ‘The Family’. And who better to tell that story than prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi himself? Although Vincent himself has passed away, his story lives on. In my humble opinion, works like “helter-skelter” are absolutely important to the future of society as a whole. As my mother would say, those who failed to observe the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Although, I’m sure she took that quote from someone else.

Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor in the Manson trial, does an excellent job laying out for the reader all of the important elements of the crime, the prosecution, and the defense’s actions during that famous trial. You cannot separate an understanding of Charles Manson and an understanding of the trial. The two are inseparable. The vivid descriptions of the witnesses, crime scenes, evidence, and the courtroom drama served to encapsulate one of the longest and most expensive trials to ever take place in US history.

I would argue that without Mr. Bugliosi’s book, a gaping hole in the recollections and recounting of the Manson trial would exist. We would also lose a haunting look at the mind of a madman and those who would unquestioningly follow him.

Truth in advertising, I’m an author who writes about serial killers. Because of this, the studies of the most infamous killers of the world is an important aspect of what I do. No serious study of violent crime in the US would be complete without looking at Charles Manson and The Family.

They say that time heals all wounds. However, I don’t think the nation ever completely recovered from the wounds inflicted by Charles Manson and his followers. We still seem to be just as fascinated today with what happened on those two days back in 1969 as the nation was during the time of the trial. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to our love of the macabre or fascination with courtroom drama.

For anyone interested in Charles Manson and the events surrounding the Tate and LaBianca murders, “Helter Skelter” is a must-read. I found it to be well-written and chock full of detail that no movie could ever quite cover as well is Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry did.

-Your Humble Servant


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