Regular price: $39.95

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,987
  • 4 Stars
    1,170
  • 3 Stars
    307
  • 2 Stars
    66
  • 1 Stars
    60

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,867
  • 4 Stars
    892
  • 3 Stars
    267
  • 2 Stars
    55
  • 1 Stars
    35

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    2,798
  • 4 Stars
    958
  • 3 Stars
    275
  • 2 Stars
    53
  • 1 Stars
    36
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Neil
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • 10-24-11

Excellent ***LEGAL*** story...

I was unsure, from the reviews, if I would like this book. I really did. But I wanted to write a small review to clear up a few things:

- This is *not* a horror book, nor is it likely to scare you if you can watch an average episode of CSI. Don't come here to be *scared*

- This book *is* a (mostly) subjective insight into one of the biggest cases of the prior century, and makes some interesting observations about human nature -- from the level of violence, culture, counter-culture, media, and law -enforcement. This is why I put the word "legal" in block capitals surrounded by multiple asterix in my headline. This is a fairly technical book about the crime, investigation and trial. It manages to be quite detailed without being at all dry or uninteresting.

- It's also not a sensational book. It feels mostly quite fair and impartial, with a few exceptions. If you're a Manson "fan" or a serial-killer junkie -- you'll probably not get too much out of this. This book deals with facts, and in my mind that's a lot more interesting.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Brock
  • DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain
  • 12-19-13

Wow, what a story!

The late 60's and early 70's is such a fascinating period to me. I was born in the midst of that time, but don't have much recollection of it. Maybe it's because I don't understand that era, but it seems absolutely inconceivable that a little (5'2"), crazy guy who just got out of prison could "recruit" so many nice-looking young women to do ANYTHING he wanted them to. After the book ended I have spent a lot of time pondering how this could have happened. It is a truly amazing story.

If you like learning about history, and crime stories you've got to listen to this book. Since finishing it I've spent a lot more time Googling the different characters in an effort to learn more about them, and what made them act the way they did.

I highly recommend this book. It's a big plus that the story is written by the prosecuting attorney in the case. He has lots of inside information he shares throughout the book that helps you feel like you are getting the whole story.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Flavius
  • Morro Bay, CA, United States
  • 10-07-11

Still Relevant

I've wanted to read/listen to this book since I first saw it almost thirty years ago. Thanks to Audible, I finally got the chance. To my delight, the book remained readable, interesting, and even relevant almost 40 years later (and over 40 years from most of the events described in the book).

Scott Brick is a terrific narrator, and helps to keep a very long book interesting.

There is a new(er) afterword, written in 1994. Bugliosi spends a good deal of time on the "Where Are They Now?" aspect for most of the many players in this drama, which adds to the overall listening experience.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ed
  • Saint Augustine, FL, United States
  • 12-12-13

Great non-fiction

As someone who usually listens to mystery/thriller books, it was interesting to enter into the non-fiction world of the genre. I was alive at the time of the Manson murders but had forgotten much of the details. Bugliosi does an excellent job of recreating the events that took place on the horrible night 44 years ago. If I had one complaint it would be he did too thorough a job of telling the story. I didn't keep count but the cast of characters had to exceed 100 in the 26.5-hour narration. The main characters were easy enough to keep track of, but some of the minor ones got gobbled up in the incredibly detailed recounting. I would recommend this book to both those who were alive at the time of the murders and to those for whom the story is truly history to them.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

exceptional detail

Well written and narrated. vast detail and character development. professionally and maturely delivered with an appropriate balance of impartial and factual deliverance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Riveting!!

Positively riveting from beginning to end! Bugluiosi has got to be up there now with Jim Garrison among the ranks of my legal heros.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fascinating

I'm left wondering if I enjoyed this book to such a high degree because it was so well written, or if I am simply fascinated by the true crime genre. Whatever the case, and however guilty I may feel entertaining myself with the misfortune of others, the highly objective and untheatrical portrayal of the events described was so riveting I could scarcely put my headphones down. Highly recommended!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The Most Suspenseful Book I've ever listened too!

What did you love best about Helter Skelter?

As the owner of over 900 audiobooks, this book was the most suspenseful book I've ever had the pleasure of listening too. It was much more interesting than I originally thought it would be but truth be told it was the narrator Scott Brick who brought the book to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

So much I had forgotten

Would you consider the audio edition of Helter Skelter to be better than the print version?

I had read the book when it was released in the 70s, but there was so much that I had forgotten. It's still so hard to believe and hard to stomach. The audio version made it a bit creepier, I think, because there's no turning away from things that you might not want to hear.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Helter Skelter?

Because I'm listening to this practically on the heals of the release of Leslie Van Houten from prison, it's particularly interesting to hear her story (vs what she's now saying).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lotus54
  • New England, USA
  • 05-24-14

It Was Only Okay For Me

It's almost as if I listened to a different audiobook, based on all the rave reviews. I found this to be extremely self-indulgent, and Bugliosi (the Author and Prosecutor) comes off to me at least as big headed and having a massive superiority complex. I'm sure this was the biggest thing that's ever happened to him, I get it. And he clearly put a lot of effort into presenting a full story, I will say that. But he incessantly puts down and belittles nearly everyone else involved in this case; the LA Police Dept appear to be ignorant bumbling idiots, the defense attorneys are portrayed as childish unprofessional morons, he over-clarifies to "help the jury understand" concepts that aren't difficult to begin with, even the presiding judge is portrayed as well meaning but naive and apparently needed Bugliosi to help him understand why certain things were relevant, etc. Almost everyone around him is portrayed as grossly incompetent while he portrays himself as astute, quick-thinking and the only one with his head in the game. I grew sick of his bragging and boasting and find it difficult to believe that he was the only competent person involved in this case which is how he portrays himself from beginning to end although he never states this directly.

I'm usually a big fan of detail and almost never buy abridged versions of anything, so it's rare for me to say this, but: there's just WAY too much detail. DULL detail. Unnecessary detail. I'm baffled by the other reviews that call this "exciting", "engrossing", "thrilling", etc. I honestly believe there may be an hour or two MAX of anything remotely considering "engrossing", and I'm being generous with that estimate. It was hours and hours of repetitive details that didn't add to the story in my opinion. It's as if someone asked him for "every possible detail" and he took it far too literally. He stopped just short of describing everyone's ties and suits.

There were more people in the Manson "family" than I realized, but this got confusing because each member had their own full real name plus a full aka name used by the Manson clan. For example, Susan Atkins, aka Sadie May Glutz. Bugliosi uses the names interchangeably, which gets confusing when you realize there's like 30 members throughout the story; that's a lot of names and fake names to keep track of. Half the time I couldn't remember 'which one did what', or which one he was following up with 20 hours into the story, etc. because of him switching between their real and fake names so often.

There were some tidbits of things I didn't know (interesting things that is), but I wouldn't really say there was anything spectacular in the "behind the scenes" stuff. In fact, the full story took away much of the fascination for me. Before listening to this I wondered what the appeal was, were the women truly brainwashed by him, what their lives were like before and then with the Manson family, etc. After listening I find myself shrugging and deciding they were just a bunch of run of the mill petty criminals with mediocre childhoods who went on a couple horrendous crime sprees. They turned out not to be worth the back story in my opinion.

Interestingly, Bugliosi spends a large portion of time late in the story condemning all the attention that was later given to Manson via letters, books, movies, T-shirts, etc. He seems to forget that he's contributing to this very attention with his own book.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Miss. S. Main
  • 06-10-17

Great

This was a very informative audio book. Going into this knowing very little, the book covered many aspects and was very thorough.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Keith
  • 06-01-17

Searing Story

A truly intense story told with masterclass precision by the lead prosecutor of the case. It sticks not only to the case evidence but traces the period around which Manson rose up. It's written in '74 a few years after the case but also as a '94 afterward to provide a conclusion against the intervening years. Excellent.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Comanche
  • 05-29-17

Very interesting.

Battled near the end as it is very long but over all a very interesting read. Easy to follow

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Aaron G.
  • 05-27-17

Very surprising

I did not expect this one to enthrall me as much as it did. From the start I was caught by the great narration and interesting exposition of the facts. I didn't think this would read out well but I was wrong. Very good if sometimes a little graphic.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • H. Callaghan
  • 05-19-17

Exhaustive, demanding and utterly absorbing

Incredibly detailed and extensive account of the Manson Family minders by Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted them. Lengthy but never dull and filled with chilling insights on how cults of personality like Manson's work.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • mandy
  • 05-19-17

interesting

i found out loads i didnt know in this book, it reads like a fictional story which keeps you engaged i loved it

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rhiannon
  • 05-19-17

Amazing!!

i was daunted by the lenght of this book but the time flew by ,very interesting and unputdownable.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Graeme Alderson
  • 05-05-17

still the greatest real life crime book

incredible story from a man at the centre of the case. one to listen to more than once

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • mr
  • 05-04-17

amazing book ,loved it

Scott Brick keeps you wanting more what an amazing narrator,enjoyed every minute of this book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul c
  • 04-27-17

Great read

In depth account of the Manson family activities and court proceedings. Very good read to anyone interested in true crimes or criminal behaviour. Insight to how easy innocent people can be manipulated into becoming murderous criminals.