Award-winning journalist Jeff Guinn's highly acclaimed Manson has won rave reviews and is a top-pick on must-read lists everywhere. This superb biography answers lingering questions about the Manson Family murders, while delivering stunning revelations about the life of America's most notorious psychopath.
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Tell us about yourself!
This book is in the top 5 of all the books I've listened to and the #1 biography.
The author put Manson's life in context with a view to the current events of the eras. It integrated social movements like the rock and roll scene, the Chicago Convention of 1968, Kent State and the Vietnam war as the background to Manson's story line.
The opening scene where the Golden Penetrators, Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and his entourage, go to the Whiskey a GoGo with Charlie Manson. It establishes the Rock and Roll hierarchy and Charlie's place in it in a nutshell.
I don't know what the tag line would be but I nominate Colin Farrell to play Charlie Manson.
I would have liked to see the photos that came with the book. My only complaint about Audible is that they don't include photo downloads with all of their books that include photos. It would be easy enough, especially with the Audible app. I don't need "Listening Badges" or the graphs that chart how much or how often I listen. I need the photos that are in the actual books that I purchased.
Say something about yourself!
Years ago I read Helter Skelter. It was interesting but sketchy of believable information. Because it was authored by the Manson prosecutor, it seemed to have a narrow perspective with obvious exaggeration so as to boast about himself. I am a fan of Jeff Guinn. (I read "Going Down Together" Bonnie & Clyde which hooked me on Guinn.) His research is very thorough. This audiobook has a lot of Mason's background, unknown to me before reading it. Guinn puts the story in the right place for history and culture. Most of all, Guinn did not attempt to make Mason a god, devil, or magician. He stayed with the facts. Mason's history was plenty colorful without need for exaggeration. I will read it again.
It was factual, not sensationalized, and was supported by research.
The story is a human tragedy. Manson victimized many people. He also was a victim. While it is hard to balance the different victims and types of victimizations, I clearly saw Manson's manipulations and his sociopath.
I hate that Manson feels rewarded and glorified by continuing publicity. However, it is important this story be told.
I knew Manson was sick, but this painted him sicker than I ever IMAGINED. I tend to read fiction and only sprinkling in non-fiction occasionally. This is defintely worth the non-fiction selection. Very captivating and uterly entertaining, in a VERY sick way...
I have read pretty much every Manson book written and found this to be primarily a rehash of previously published info.
Definitely, the info about Manson's early life was the highlight of the book. I liked the stories of his childhood and how he developed into the man he became. The history lessons about the sixties took up way too much time. I guess for younger readers it would have set the scene, but for me, it slowed down the pace of the book.
I thought he was a boring narrator, kind of like he was just reading words with no emotion. His mispronounciation of names was annoying, especially Bugliosi.
I thought the book was very long, but I am glad I got through it.
The back stories about Dennis Wilson, Terry Melcher and Greg Jacobson were a much appreciated addition.
Just when I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Mnson, there's more to learn. I enjoyed the bok very much and would recommend it to true crime lovers. The stories, although chilling, were gripping and interesting.
Well read X
Yes, if they're interested in the Manson phenomenon and haven't read much about it.
The story was interesting, fascinating, instructive... not too "enjoyable." One can't go back and change the gruesome facts.
The reader has an annoying habit - I almost hate to mention it, because once you're aware of it, you can't NOT be aware of it. For emphasis he tends to elongate the vowels in words: They smoked weeeeed. They gaaaazed into the distance. They careeeened through the winding streets etc.The reader also reads the Chet & Bernie light mystery series, with the same annoying quirk. (Sidenote, the Chet & Bernie series is written in first person, or first canine, by Chet the detective dog, partner to P.I. Bernie. Kind of funny to hear the Manson saga told to me by the voice I've come to think of as that of a crime-fighting dog.)
IMO, the best has already been made: The original TV movie "Helter Skelter."
Well written. I particularly enjoyed the trip back in time to the late 1960s and the well-painted portrait of the California lifestyle in the Haight and Los Angeles.
This book is well written, the narration is superb.I was a young teenager when the Tate/LaBianca murders occurred. The author writes in great detail, describing the climate of the time~ The drugs, the music, the scene at Haight Ashbury.The author writes of Manson's life from the time he was an infant~ Charlie's first foray into prison life around the age of ten, and all of the subsequent time spent in prison. He was a career criminal. His magnetic hold on his followers is both fascinating and scary. The book does not spare the gruesome details of the murders. A read NOT for the squeamish but nonetheless a fascinating and gripping account.
I often pass on books if the content is insufficient or if the narrator is too boring. I LOVED this book because the content was absolutely fascinating and the narration was SOLID (no boring fluff here).
As a big Beach Boys fan, I found the material relating to Dennis Wilson, Terry Melcher, etc, VERY fascinating.
VERY gripping narration.
The whole book moved me.
Buy it. It's worth the read.
Any attention to new evidence and commentary that has come forth in the past 40 odd years would at least have improved Mr. Guinn's credibility with those of us who actually follow this case. When you start a book that states Charles Manson never did a good thing in his life, you know you are about to read a very single dimensional view on a subject. How good a writer or researcher does one have to be to demonize Charles Manson after all?
What annoyed me a lot was Guinn's persistent reference to Manson being a talentless singer and song writer. We HAVE songs and performances by Manson as handy as YouTube. He was a good singer and an interesting song writer. He was certainly as good or better than many professionals making a fortune in the recording industry at that time. All you have to do is listen to these recordings to see that what Bugliosi claimed and Guinn now reiterates lacks foundation in fact.
Mark Lindsay (singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders and Melcher's business partner in 1969) told Ugly Thing magazine in the winter issue 2011 that he and Terry Melcher firmly intended to produce Manson's records and that Manson had every reason to know this. Manson and "the family" were at Melcher's beach house on August 6, 1969 at a large party. They all knew perfectly well where Melcher lived and that he had moved from the 10050 Cielo Drive address.
I didn't go out of my way to find this information. Why didn't Guinn come across it in his research? My conclusion is that it did not fit into his agenda for his book. Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson is not a real biography. It is an editorial to sell a mythology that has been eroding every year since Bugliosi made his case.
I'm not claiming that Charles Manson is a great guy. I'm saying that this case was wrongly prosecuted. Many facts were withheld to protect the guilty. The Tate/Labianca murders were murders for hire and Charles Manson himself was no more the ringleader of these crimes than Richard Nixon was.
Anyone researching the Tate and Labinaca murders today CANNOT avoid the statements and testimonies that bear these possibilities. To write a book like this and ignore their existence tells every reader that this author's agenda is not to take a modern look at the case but to sell the same implausible story that was sold to a jury 44 years ago.
The Autobiography of Mark Twain vol. 2
No. I have never to my knowledge heard Mr. Frangione's narration before. I thought he did as good a job as he could have with the material.
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson did clear up the Bugliosi myth of "No Name" Manson. Manson's mother was married at the time of his birth and he was born conventionally and named: Charles Milles Manson, after his grandfather Charles Milles, on his birth certificate.
The book also identified Colonel Scott as Manson's biological father. Unfortunately no interviews with surviving Scott family were included here. The memoirs of Manson's family members, who certainly have much to be bitter about, showed only that side of the story. The idea that Manson was a spoiled child when in fact his mother and uncle were in prison for robbery and his grandparents were unrealistically religious needs further explanation and collaboration than Mr. Guinn offers here.
The so-called Manson Family was a loose knit group of kids who came and went. Guinn, with no verification at all, tries to make "The Family" appear to be a card-carrying organization in which members were selected and rejected according to their usefulness to Manson. Perhaps there were people who did not fit in for whom it seemed that way. Guinn uses only their testimony.
I'm not apologizing for a murderer. I'm questioning whether the man actually did the crimes for which he has been serving time for nearly half a century. There IS evidence that something else was going on which the State of California did not choose to bring forward at trial.
BETTER books on this subject are: Charles Manson Now by Marlin Marynick, The Manson File by Nikolas Shreck and The Myth of Helter Skelter by Susan Atkins Whitehouse. There is also much new information in the film Six Degrees of Helter Skelter which apparently Mr. Guinn has not seen and completely ignores. Anyone who believes his book under discussion is "well-researched" apparently doesn't know what research requires. Talking to a couple of old ladies does not cover it.
The idea that Charles "Tex" Watson, whom even Mr. Guinn identifies as an intermittent "family" acquaintance, was taking order from Charles Manson would be funny if the myth had not been perpetuated for so many years.
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