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.
©1974 Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi, Afterword 1994 by Vincent Bugliosi (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
“One of the best crime stories ever written.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
I first read Helter Skekter in 1976. It was just as fascinating and disturbing 40 years later. A must read for any fan of the true crime genre.
The Manson Murders are unbelievable shocking, a small cult back in the 60's that committed horrific crimes. It was global news for months.
This book takes you there & explains it all in wonderful, but never dull, detail. The author is in fact the head prosecution lawyer. This shows on two accounts. Firstly he has all the facts & secondly being a prosecution lawyer he knows how to lay out the facts without loosing the attention of the reader, or in his day job the interest of a jury. So is beautiful told, very suspenseful & not too gruesome. A true story that proves fact is stranger than fiction.
this book is a must-read if you enjoy true murder stories I really enjoyed it. I'm looking to read more books about Charlie Manson and his family. they are extremely interesting and it is so bizarre that these human beings did what I did. I hope that you enjoy this book just as much as I did.
Glad I made the choice. Very interesting true crime account of the Manson era and the girls that followed him. The real life stories are fascinating, the writing fast paced and clear. Well worth the 26hrs
Didn't realize I was signing up for such a long listen. But the presentation was so comprehensive and interesting. The author was thorough and detailed both in execution of his job and his writing. Was fair in not throwing folks under the bus or did so in an understated way.
Life is short - this book is too long!
Although very interesting, this book needs a good editor!! The facts were repeated twice or sometimes three times. And then again in the epilogue!
My 2nd Audio book and I am now a huge fan of the medium. This book is fascinating and really lets you see how Manson and his followers thought as well as details the investigation and trial. I found it interesting and entertaining. Made my commute tolerable.
Having been born in the early 60's, I was too young to fully understand what Manson and the murders were all about. I remember hearing or seeing Manson on tv, but I didn't get it. I had since forgotten all about it. Then going through the vast catalog of audio books to listen to, I see Helter Skelter. I'm intrigued, so I bought it. I was not prepared for this unbelievable chilling literary ride of the horrific depravity of these cast of characters. Only they are real and this really happened. I started listening and i couldn't stop. I would sit outside at night with my tobacco pipe and totally transport myself right there into the late sixties and early seventies and I could visualize it as if I were an unseen spectator following the " family" on their journey to Hell. My thanks to Mr Brick for his superb narration of these events. I whole heartedly recommend this audio book to anyone who is interested in learning about the most monstrous "family" in history. Don't wait, buy this book now.
"Evil: Step by Step"
In both print and on audio the book becomes more and more engrossing as it develops. It's length makes the audio version preferable for a second reading. There is so much detail only an unabridged version is acceptable.
The detail of the story, what might be described as the boring work of detection that a fiction thriller would leave out is the most compelling aspect of the story. Detectives, as they say, 'work the case' and in Helter Skelter it's clear what this really means. There's also a sense of people reacting to a murder in different ways,creating their own version of events when they don't know the truth, being unable to see the truth, because they have created their own narrative of the crime. What comes through step by step is the sense of evil: of people being able to decide and plan and want to murder, and to believe they have the right to murder. The facts of the case are famous, but the detail is what makes an engrosssing and morally insightful story.
I recognize the name Scott Brick, but don't track my audio books by performance. Brick's reading is slow and steady and clear. Some might say that this is not dramatic enough, but it would be a betrayal of the book to give it an over-dramatic reading. Brick also avoids any sort of accents or performance for the dialogue, which is also the right approach.
I read the book in print many years ago and decided to revisit it in audio. At 26 hours its not a book for a single sitting. Its a book I will listen to for an hour and then leave for some time, treating it more like a serial than single story. 26 parts is a long tale. Also there are a lot of people and events. Its more involving to mull over events, rather than consume them at one gulp. The book is structured to move slowly towards the killers, chronologically, this does work as a dramatic device. The public history means that you know who will be convicted, but the book recreates this process, giving you a sense that how things turned out were not always inevitable and clear.
A book like Donna Tartt's The Secret History, a fictional crime story, is lauded as a literary work, and this is justified. There's always some sense that a true crime story is more sensationalist and morally tawdry compared to true literature. There is badly written true crime, but Helter Skelter is written with the detail and diligence that makes it a great book. It's a social novel, about people who lived and worked in Hollywood in the sixties and a study of a 'cult'. Both these topics are often treated superficially, but in working from the facts, using the development as the investigation as an insight into the people, their motives and personality become understood.
have to agree with previous reviewer, a great book well read and detailed, well it would be it was written by the prosecuting attourny 'vincent bugliosi' i enjoyed every minite of the almost 27 hours and will deffinatly be giving it another listen, would recomend this book to anyone curious of how/why sheep follow loonies and see them as gods.
"Absolutely fascinating study of evil"
Really brilliant book and very well narrated. I was sad to see it come to an end. For such heavy and horrific subject matter it is written in a way that gives an amazing insight into the 'mind' of evil and the power of cults...a really good buy, wouldn't hesitate to recommend to those who like true crime.
"Forensically detailed - but worth it"
The book starts where the whole investigation would have begun - the discovery of the horrific crime scene of the Sharon Tate murders at 10050 Cielo Drive, Berkeley, LA. From there we are taken - via grisly descriptions - to the identification and subsequent clearing of early suspects, through to the growing signs pointing towards the Manson 'Family', the spreading investigation, and then arrests, trial and convictions of the killers.
Along the way we learn - as prosecutor and author Bugliosi would have learned - the backgrounds and psychology of everyone involved, from Manson himself through a whole cast of characters, some killers, some ordinary Family members, contacts, victims, people who 'just passed through' or - like Susan Atkins' cellmates - who were simply unwilling recipients of her crazed confession/boasts about the crimes.
The book is very long and full of forensic detail right from the very start. It is at times very repetitive as we hear the same things from different witnesses, and then repeated again in Bugliosi's and others' reports, and brought out yet again at the trial. Although the Tate and LaBianca murders are the central crimes, there is also much attention paid to other victims thought to have been killed by Manson Family members.
You might think that all this fine detail and repetition would make for a boring account... but no, it grips relentlessly and won't let you go. Compelling, hypnotic, revolting, but never boring. It's only towards the end that you realise it was written in 1974, but there is a lengthy 'Afterword' by Bugliosi which brings the story up to 1994, tells of the unexpected public obsession with Manson, and the subsequent fate of everyone involved in the matter including judge, attorneys, and prosecutors.
Scott Brick's reading is steady, authoritative yet undramatic, and suits the subject matter perfectly.
I loved this audio book. Being a novice crime buff, I'd heard of Charles Manson, but never really knew what had happened. This book opened up to me what he was accused of and how it was purported that he committed the murders.
Well read and we'll written, I was never bored whilst listening.
This is a great opus from Vincent Bugliosi, the man who got this dreadful band of maniacs convicted against the odds. It's dense, so strictly for those who like their detail; it's not sensationalist, either, so go elsewhere for that. The grim detail is delivered factually and without relish. This man got right inside the workings of the family and the human insights and explanations as to the hurdles facing the prosecution in trying to convince a jury on highly circumstantial evidence are fascinating. Bugliosi tells the whole thing in an expert, professional and ultimately compassionate way. The narration was great: never once distracted from the story and he saw no need to put in voices for the characters as some do with tie curling results. A tour de force.
"Overly long history that lacks analysis"
I was very interested in finding out more about these infamous murders linked to the cult figure Charles Manson but I have been disappointed by this book. Firstly it seems I knew more than I thought, so for the first half of the book which detailed the murders and those involved, I didn't learn anything new. When it switched to cover the trial of those accused, I just found it frustrating. The whole book was told from a law enforcement perspective with no analysis of other viewpoints or attempts to get inside the reason for the behaviour and action of the young people that night. I think it was probably written several years ago and as a one dimensional history it is okay, although overly long at 26 hours (I'm not quite finished yet). The narrator made a good job of reporting events in a serious tone which suited the subject matter, although if listening for a long period it did become somewhat tedious. If you know nothing about the case it may be of interest but it is not gripping or engaging at all.
Meticulous in its detail - without being gratuitous. That's a difficult line to walk. A very interesting book that goes into life in 'the family', the crimes, police bungling of parts of the investigations, the trial etc. There's also a where-are-they-now afterword, written 25 years after the murders. A long, well-written book. People who watch crime documentaries, enjoy learning about new age 'religions' and the destructive influence of such groups, will gain the most from reading it.
A fabulously compelling audiobook, well read and so skilfully written that I've listened to it 4 times over so far
"Too much unnecessary detail, Hardwork!"
This is a very detailed account, not that it is explicit with violence, but it's rather difficult to follow, it is 51 chapters, I had to buy the e-book in order to keep track.Each victim is described chronologically and the same with the court,, so you feel like you are back at the beginning all the time, you will notice this by chapter 5, by chapter 12 it will be annoying as the narrator is fairly monotomous. If you are studying this for a thesis, you will find every explicit unemotional deatil here. but If you are interested in the event, and it's repercussions on those left behind, I would highly recommend Restless Souls by Brie Tate, it's better written, well narrated and uses source material direct from the Tates journals
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