AWRW Way Back Wednesday: Helter Skelter, The True Story of The Manson Murders

Way Back Wednesday is a Book Meme created by A Well Read Woman with the aim to write mini book reviews on books read in the past, that left a lasting impression.

You know what kind of books I am talking about… The ones that you have read multiple times, and they still bring you nostalgia. Books like these are the reason you enjoy reading.

So grab that old-dusty-yet-loved-book off the shelf, glance it over, write a mini review, and join in with me on Wednesdays! EVERYONE is welcome to participate.


1.) Discuss a book you read in the past that left an impression on you. You can write a condensed review if you prefer.

2.) Tag your post as “Way Back Wednesday” and include this button: waybackwednesday

3.) Link back to my blog, and this page.

4.) Include instructions, (copy & paste everything above), for others to participate. 🙂


Today’s Way Back Wednesday post is dedicated to the non-fiction book, Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders, by Vincent Bugliosi, and Curt Gentry.


A national bestseller—7 million copies sold.

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 twentieth 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? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime. 50 pages of b/w photographs.

Both Helter Skelter and Vincent Bugliosi’s subsequent Till Death Us Do Part won Edgar Allan Poe Awards for best true-crime book of the year. Bugliosi is also the author of Outrage: The Five Reasons Why O. J. Simpson Got Away with Murder (Norton, 1996) and other books. Curt Gentry, an Edgar winner, is the author of J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets (available in Norton paperback) and Frame-Up: The Incredible Case of Tom Mooney and Warren Billings.


Paperback, 689 pages
Published December 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1974)
Genre: Non-Fiction, True Crime, Psychology

“I may have implied on several occasions to several different people that I may have been Jesus Christ, but I haven’t decided yet what I am or who I am.”

Sharon Tate

This book was written by one of the prosecuting attorneys, and therefore gives you an inside view of the Charles Manson murders. It includes 50 brutal crime scene photos, mid-book. I haven’t read this book since I was a teenager, so my review is limited to what I remember.

From what I can recall, Manson was a deranged hippie, who convinced runaways and drug addicts that he was the messiah, and he was gonna lead the world into a race war. In Manson’s mind, Sharon Tate’s murder would have been blamed on a black person, and from there, a war against the races would break out.

What a loon!

Helter Skelter attempts to make sense of the senseless.  It explores the complete trial, theories on why anyone would’ve listened to Manson, and his cult following (that continues today). A fascinating, horrific read of one of the most talked about true crimes to date.

“For a lawyer to do less than his utmost is, I strongly feel, a betrayal of his client. Though in criminal trials one tends to focus on the defense attorney and his client the accused, the prosecutor is also a lawyer, and he too has a client: the People. And the People are equally entitled to their day in court, to a fair and impartial trial, and to justice.”


Interested? Purchase Helter Skelter, here.



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