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Helter Skelter Audiobook

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders

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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“One of the best crime stories ever written.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (3376 )
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4.5 (3009 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Trenton 05-23-16
    Trenton 05-23-16
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    "GREAT!"

    couldn't stop listening just a great book should read over and over again loved it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-19-16 Member Since 2015
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    6
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    "Interesting and Morbid"

    I was warned that the court scenes felt laggy and dragged on, and they did. However, the case itself was the same way so it's no fault of the narrator or author. A very interesting novel. The detail with which the story is told is disturbing and intriguing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tabatha 05-19-16
    Tabatha 05-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "Omg"

    It was so detailed. it helped me learn about Manson, it was so crazy, it's hard to believe it's real.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Sharwarko 05-09-16 Member Since 2016
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    9
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    "W O W"

    I've read the physical copy of this book several times. I did my eighth grade history report on this. I felt I knew the material well, but Scott Brick's brilliant narration made me feel as if I've never heard of the Manson family before.
    I would recommend this title to anyone and I will be sure to purchase more audiobooks that are narrated by Scott Brick.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy MOM Exeter NH 04-27-16
    Happy MOM Exeter NH 04-27-16
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    "Best audio book I've heard"

    This was by far the most well written prosecution story I've ever heard. All things I thought I'd known about this story were either completely wrong or only a small scratch on the surface. At times I does become mundane as far as listening for long periods. The words and volume of characters may seem a bit over whelming. Don't be ashamed to rewind/back track. Every little story is so fascinating. Enjoy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debra 04-24-16
    Debra 04-24-16 Member Since 2016
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    3
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    "great"

    best book on tape I have read in a v e r y l o n g t I m e

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne Haught 03-31-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Long But Not Tedious"

    Great book, fantastic narrator! 26 hours is a lot of time to invest in a book, (and it set me back a few months on my audiobook schedule) but it was well worth it. I feel that I accomplished a lot having finished it simply because it is the longest book I have read to-date. Great story, (very detailed but not overly detailed) and a must-read for anyone interested in the murders or criminology.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. JSH 03-10-16
    Dr. JSH 03-10-16

    Audible + iPod = :-)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fascinating"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, if the person could handle listening to the sections that describe the gore inflicted by Manson and his family.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Charles Manson's power over his family members, mostly young women, some even girls. Even after he was jailed awaiting his trial, he continued to dictate the actions of his faithful followers. Manson's story is also the story of the late '60s and early '70s entertainment industry and of the rich and famous. He told his family members the Beatles were communicating with him, particularly through their "White Album," which includes the song "Helter Skelter," this book's title. He and/or his family members crossed paths with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, producers Phil Kaufman and Gary Stromberg, Doris Day's son Terry Melcher, Angela Lansbury's daughter Deirdre Shaw, actress Sharon Tate (and, sadly, her unborn son ... Tate's husband director Roman Polanski was the father), heiress Abigail Folger, celebrity hair stylist and actor Jay Sebring, among others. Years after the trials, one of Manson's few remaining faithful followers even engaged with President Gerald Ford in a bungled assassination attempt to renew the world's recognition of Manson's plight as a prisoner (and to protect the environment).


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Despite the cruel acts of Manson and his family members, parts of the book -- particularly the courtroom antics of Manson, the other defendants, and family members who were not prosecuted -- were quite humorous, in hindsight, of course. I'm sure the judge and the revolving-door attorneys thought otherwise at the time.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but doing so would require too much time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meg Hamilton 03-09-16

    Do people know every book can't be a 5-star book or the ratings are meaningless? On any site! Same goes for Goodreads.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Disgusting but Like a Time Capsule"

    The devil is in the details. It's a long haul but "hard to put down" in literal book sense. Fathers, don't leave your daughters. That's a big thing I learned from this episode. And now there's Aquarius on NBC and many confused viewers since this all was before their time and way out of context.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evan 03-09-16
    Evan 03-09-16 Member Since 2014
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    "A well told true story of the Manson Family beginning, murders, trial, and afterword."

    Well written and easy to follow and understand. However, I do recommend obtaining the physical copy to help with names and places (which can only be expected with nonfiction). Other than that, I was very satisfied with the way Bugliosi and Gentry told the horrific story of the Manson Family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • john
    liverpool, United Kingdom
    3/28/12
    Overall
    "great book"

    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.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs Tebay
    Devon, United Kingdom
    12/10/11
    Overall
    "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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Sara
    Portsmouth
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Rich and detailed writing style"

    An intensely detailed examination of one of the most shocking and culturally defining murders in American history. The rich and detailed writing style doesn't hamper the readers progress like in so many other books of this type. An intriguing story well narrated by Scott Brick.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Eugene
    12/18/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Evil: Step by Step"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Helter Skelter to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    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.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kindle Customer
    Bristol, UK
    9/6/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Silver Fox
    9/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Don't think this works as an audiobook"

    This felt very dry, and difficult to stick with. I think it might work in a written book, but did joy enjoy it as an audiobook. I managed about 4 hours then gave up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    Dunstable, United Kingdom
    8/30/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A detailed and fairly harrowing account"
    Would you listen to Helter Skelter again? Why?

    I don't think it would survive a repeat listen, it kept me interested throughout - but now I know the story I'm not sure i'd want to repeat the experience


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I plowed through this quickly and kept finding ways to continue listening as it is an enthralling story.


    Any additional comments?

    I hadn't really known much about the Manson case, so it was good to get such a detailed history and analysis of the events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Carrie
    uk
    8/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    Excellent and well read. Really very depressing though. Such a horrendous thing to have happened.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Goldfrapper
    Devon, United Kingdom
    8/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    7/1/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Totally gripping from start to finish"

    Every step in the bizarre story explained in minute and fascinating detail. Beautifully narrated by Scott Brick.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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