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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 (4361 )
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4.6 (3907 )
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Performance
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  •  
    cramaz21 04-08-17
    cramaz21 04-08-17
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    "comments from crr"

    I thought that the narrator's pronounciation of certain common phrases were awkward - 'you know'.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh 03-31-17
    Josh 03-31-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Mostly good narrator, except for when he whispers"
    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did a good job, but when he tried to whisper he sounded awful, like some sort of Kiefer Sutherland imitator. Most of that was in Part 1, and it got a lot better for most of the rest of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    S. Christie Wisconsin 03-30-17
    S. Christie Wisconsin 03-30-17 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent narration of a well written book"

    I have read this book several times but this audio was outstanding. At the end it tells what everyone is doing at this time, from The Family.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catharina Rees South afica 02-16-17
    Catharina Rees South afica 02-16-17 Member Since 2016

    Cathy

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    "Spellbinding"

    I really enjoyed this book. It was factual without being over dramatic. The narration was also very good. I would definitely recommend this book.
    Cathy

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katherine Bamford 01-25-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Not to be missed for true crime fans!"

    One of the most thorough True crime books I've ever encountered. The depth of research and what went into prosecuting the Manson family is exceptional.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Geoff 01-21-17
    Geoff 01-21-17 Member Since 2016

    Owner of Geoffrey's Rare Books. Latinist. Most of my professional life has been spent in music. I Crazy avid reader. Reclusive but friendly.

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    "The inside story of the Manon trial"

    Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney for the Charles Manson trial. The book is a terrific and suspensfull. I learned a lot about the inside workings of a major criminal trial. I found the book to be fascinating. I also like this reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Chilling"

    This book is an exceptional nonfiction true crime book. It was powerful and chilling. Fantastic read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen McGrath Vietnam 12-28-16
    Stephen McGrath Vietnam 12-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Incredibly detailed"

    Way too long for me, given I only have a passing interest in the case. Fans of minutiae will probably love it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Louise 12-18-16
    Louise 12-18-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Still Shocking, Still Fascinating"

    Absolutely the most compelling and important book about criminal law, the justice system, and of course heinous crimes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Kimmm 12-18-16
    Kimmm 12-18-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Engaging!"

    Thoroughly engaging throughout the entirety of this book. Recommended for someone wanting to feel like you're right there with the characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • 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.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Goldfrapper
    Devon, United Kingdom
    8/8/16
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    "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.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • 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.

    13 of 14 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.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • KimberleyG
    2/19/17
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    "Very interesting"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • AnnieJuly
    Surrey
    12/13/16
    Overall
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    "Amazing"

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Flink
    10/25/16
    Overall
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    "Very detailed"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Louise
    11/15/16
    Overall
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    "Sensational"

    A fabulously compelling audiobook, well read and so skilfully written that I've listened to it 4 times over so far

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Frankimunk
    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

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Suzy
    1/26/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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