Most Authoritative Books on The Manson Crimes… (Includes accounts by the Prosecutor, Jeff Guinn, former award-winning investigative journalist, and autobiographies of those convicted.)
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (1974) – The #1 True Crime Bestseller of All Time – 7 Million Copies Sold. In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A famous actress (and her unborn child), an heiress to a coffee fortune, a supermarket owner and his wife were among the seven victims. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his “family” of devoted young women and men. What was his hold over them? And what was the motivation behind such savagery? In the public imagination, over time, the case assumed the proportions of myth.
Member of the Family: My Story of Charles Manson, Life Inside His Cult, and the Darkness That Ended the Sixties (2017) At age 14, I became one of Charles Manson’s Girls. At 17 I helped put him in prison. This is my story. At fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of “Charlie’s girls,” a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his “girls.” Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn (2014) – The New York Times bestselling, authoritative account of the life of Charles Manson, filled with surprising new information and previously unpublished photographs: “A riveting, almost Dickensian narrative… four stars” (People). More than forty years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson’s childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson family have provided new information about Manson’s life.
Goodbye Helter Skelter by George Stimson (2014) – Goodbye Helter Skelter is the first realistic and reasonable examination of the Tate-LaBianca murders and the true reasons behind them. Based on years of research and exclusive information from Charles Manson and many of his former and present friends, Goodbye Helter Skelter presents the conclusions of a long-time Manson associate (Sandra Good) — conclusions that will likely change what you think about Charles Manson, his so-called Family, and some of the most infamous murders in the history of American crime. Goodbye Helter Skelter includes material taken from hundreds of hours of tape-recorded conversations with Charles Manson. Never before has Manson’s point of view been presented in such a complete and coherent format.
The Family (2002) – In August of 1969, during two bloody evenings of paranoid, psychedelic savagery, Charles Manson and his dystopic communal family helped to wreck the dreams of the Love Generation. At least nine people were murdered, among them Sharon Tate, the young, beautiful, pregnant, actress and wife of Roman Polanski. Ed Sanders’ unnerving and detailed look at the horror dealt by Manson and his followers is a classic of the true-crime genre. The Family was originally published in 1971 and remains the most meticulously researched account of the most notorious murders of the 1960s. Using firsthand accounts from some of the family’s infamous members, including the wizard himself, Sanders examines not only the origins and legacy of Manson and his family, but also the mysteries that persist. Completely revised and updated, this edition features 25 harrowing black and white photos from the investigation. “One of the best-researched, best-written, thoroughly-constructed, and eminently significant books of our times…. A masterpiece.”—Boston Phoenix
The Long Prison Journey of Leslie van Houten by Karlene Faith (2001) – Leslie Van Houten was sentenced to death, along with Charles Manson and his other disciples, for the infamous murder rampage spanning two nights in August 1969. Leslie, who was present at the Rosemary and Leno LaBianca stabbings, serenely accepted her sentence, wishing only that she had better served Manson in carrying out his apocalyptic vision of “Helter Skelter.” This work presents the first in-depth look at how this “girl-next-door” became one of Manson’s “girls.” It also tells about Karlene Faith’s thirty-year friendship with Leslie, whom she met while teaching in prison. Filled with accounts of political injustices, this powerful book moves the reader to rethink the meanings and limits of guilt and punishment.
Manson in His Own Words: The Shocking Confessions of ‘The Most Dangerous Man Alive’ by Charles Manson (1988) – We have called him a devil and quarantined him behind such labels as “the most dangerous man alive.” But Charles Manson remains a shocking reminder of our own humanity gone awry. This astonishing book lays bare the life and the mind of a man whose acts have left us horrified. His story provides an enormous amount of new information about his life and how it led to the Tate-LaBianca murders, and reminds us of the complexity of the human condition. Born in the middle of the Depression to an unmarried fifteen-year-old, Manson lived through a bewildering succession of changing homes and substitute parents, until his mother finally asked the state authorities to assume his care when he was twelve.
My Life with Charles Manson by Paul Watkins (1979) – Once, Charles Manson’s #2 man, Paul Watkins, believed in the Family and trusted Manson with his life. That was before the Tate-LaBianca murders, before the bizarre warning signals that Helter Skelter was coming down. Now in MY LIFE WITH CHARLES MANSON, he recalls with chilling, hour-by-hour detail how he came to join the Family and how, from the beginning, they were programmed-by sex, drugs and music-to kill and die for a man who would as easily have cut their throats. He describes the creepy crawly nights which were rehearsals for murder… and Manson’s richly embroidered ceremonial vest which depicted scenes of Family life and was woven partly in human hair… MY LIFE WITH CHARLES MANSON is a story of violence against body, mind and soul-perhaps the most shocking story ever told.
Will You Die For Me? The Man Who Killed For Charles Manson by Charles Tex Watson (1978) – Tex Watson (aka Charles “Tex” Watson) was once ready to die for Charles Mason. He had felt nothing but the desire to please Charlie – even if it meant murdering seven people. Will You Die For Me provides and inside view of the Manson madness through the executioner. But Watson’s story does not even there. His story does beyond “Helter Skelter” and death to a new life in Christ. Tex Watson’s final release from his terrigying past stands as a universal source of hope, pointing the way to a new life of joy and peace.
Child of Satan, Child of God by Susan Atkins (1977) – This is Susan Aktins autobiography. Millions met Susan Atkins in Helter Skelter. She was young and attractive, but desperate to find happiness. Alcohol, drugs, and promiscuity didn’t satisfy her… She was looking for more. When she met Charles Manson, she felt she had met the world’s savior. In this book is Susan’s personal account of life and death with the murderous Manson “family.” Condemned to die, rejected by society, she found life on death row – a miraculous rebirth as real as a resurrection.” What this book represents is less of insight into the mind of a killer and more of an effort to demonstrate that Susan had, at the time she wrote this, separated herself from Manson’s lethal ideology and recognized that she had made an error “allowing” herself to be controlled by Manson.
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders and millions of other books are available for Amazon