Publisher and Publication Date: W. W. Norton and Company. Reprint 2001. Original publication 1974.
Genre: Nonfiction. True Crime.
Pages: Kindle edition 698.
Source: Library copy through the app OverDrive.
Audience: A must read for true crime readers.
The prosecutor of Charles Manson was Vincent Bugliosi. He was an attorney and author living in Los Angeles, California. He’s the author of several nonfiction books. Bugliosi was born in 1934 and died in 2015.
Curt Gentry, also a nonfiction author, lived in San Francisco, California. He was born in 1931 and died in 2014.
This is the second time I’ve read Helter Skelter. It’s been many years ago that I read this book for the first time. I decided to re-read the book after becoming hooked on true crime stories. I didn’t know until after finishing the book three new films have been made about the Manson family and murders.
The first film is “Charlie Says.” The focus is on the women who were in Manson’s Family. The film opens May 10 but limited. The DVD release date is May 17.
The second is a Quentin Tarantino film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The cast holds big names: Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, Margot Robbie, and Dakota Fanning. The film is set for release July 26. From what I can tell, the film is about Hollywood in 1969. The Manson murders were committed in August of that year. I don’t know how much of the film centers around the murders.
The third film is “The Haunting of Sharon Tate.” This film was released a month ago. It is available to rent on Prime Video.
August 9 will be the 50th anniversary of Sharon Tate’s death. She was 26. Pregnant.
It’s difficult to read the book Helter Skelter and not feel strongly against the people who murdered several innocent people, including a baby in utero.
Helter Skelter is a detailed report on the crimes committed in mid August 1969. It is a chronological time frame of events. Even past the murders, the investigation and trials, are in a comprehensive time frame.
What I’m glad was included in the book is bio information on the deceased. Yes, Sharon Tate’s bio information is included, but Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Steven Earl Parent; and, Leno and Rosemary LaBianca who were murdered on August 10.
•How the victims were found and by whom.
•The autopsy reports.
•The police interview of Roman Polanski.
•The Manson Family arrests and charges.
•The name of Sharon Tate’s baby boy.
•The three young women who were sentenced for taking part in the murders. Their brief biographies, history in Manson’s Family, and the interviews they gave to detectives.
•Tex Watson. He was the lone male murderer.
•The impressions made about Charles Manson by the women in his Family and the prosecutor. Manson’s bio is included. Manson’s ability to con and manipulate the Family is studied. An interesting point is how he acted in court during the trial.
•The pseudo religious stuff Manson preached.
•The building of the court cases.
•A lengthy epilogue of the people involved.