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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2013 24Words LLC (P)2013 Recorded Books

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Charles Manson: Even worse than you imagined

Where does Manson rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This book is in the top 5 of all the books I've listened to and the #1 biography.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

I don't know what the tag line would be but I nominate Colin Farrell to play Charlie Manson.

Any additional comments?

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.

35 of 36 people found this review helpful

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Finally. What Really Happened -- And How It Happe

What made the experience of listening to Manson the most enjoyable?

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.

What did you like best about this story?

It was factual, not sensationalized, and was supported by research.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

I hate that Manson feels rewarded and glorified by continuing publicity. However, it is important this story be told.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating, Bone Chilling Bio

What made the experience of listening to Manson the most enjoyable?

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • christy
  • Plano, TX, United States
  • 08-01-14

So sick, I couldn't look away...

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...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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EXCELLENT READ AND TERRIFIC NARRATION.

What did you love best about Manson?

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).

What was one of the most memorable moments of Manson?

As a big Beach Boys fan, I found the material relating to Dennis Wilson, Terry Melcher, etc, VERY fascinating.

What about Jim Frangione’s performance did you like?

VERY gripping narration.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The whole book moved me.

Any additional comments?

Buy it. It's worth the read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Not Much New Here

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, if they're interested in the Manson phenomenon and haven't read much about it.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The story was interesting, fascinating, instructive... not too "enjoyable." One can't go back and change the gruesome facts.

How could the performance have been better?

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.)

Could you see Manson being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

IMO, the best has already been made: The original TV movie "Helter Skelter."

Any additional comments?

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I Thought I Knew It All

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Terrific info for the information seeker!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I was only 1 yr old when this went down, so have known very little about it other than the fact that Charles Manson was insane. Now I have learned enuf to solidify that statement! I had heard about the "Manson Family" in the past, but didn't realize this man actually had a cult environment. Holy Smoke! I also didn't realize he had such a "tie" to the LA scene and well-known names. Pretty sure I will listen to another book or two regarding this creature of his own creation!

What other book might you compare Manson to and why?

None - first I have listened to that has this type of insanity to it. But very interesting!!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Extreme reaction of disbelief regarding the killings and the "matter of fact" way they were programmed that it was the right thing to do. It was as if there was no remorse in most of them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An Essential Read For The Genre

Another triumph for Jeff Guinn. So good that it makes me wonder " Were you there in Charlie's pocket Mr. Guinn'?" !

I have not, to date read another book even close to as thorough as this text. Although it covers one of the most gruesome cults in our history it is so very easy to read. I have found many in the genre can be overwhelming and heavy with unnecessary interjections and opinions from the author. This is definitely not the case here. There is also a really decent follow up bringing us up to 2013.

Manson starts at the very beginning. We see a neglected child. However it is apparent from day one that this child is neither ordinary or extraordinary. This child is destined to be different. Charles Manson certainly lived up to that. No detail is left out concerning his childhood or his many years of incarceration. I learned quite a lot of new information about ‘the family’ and of course for those who can stand it, and I must admit that I wept through this part, we are not spared about the dreadful murders that will live on in infamy.

The court case is intriguing and I lost a lot of sleep as I could not stop listening to what happened to the Manson Family members during the years that followed.

Although the detailed accounts of the murders were heart wrenching they were made easier to ‘swallow’ due to the brilliant talent of Jim Fangione.

A total winner. FIVE stars all the way.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Story, Okay Book

Ready made great story, just okay book. The character presentation is a bit weak. The narration is awful with a nerdy voice presenting a gruesome tale and is completely monotone.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful