Book Review: "Manson"

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles MansonManson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having read the same author's "Go Down Together", about the lives of Bonnie & Clyde, I knew that Jeff Guinn can write, and he doesn't disappoint here, either.

This book goes all the way back, and reveals the truth about Manson's childhood, which was bad, but not nearly as bad as he would claim later that it was. He seems to have been a bad seed from the start. By taking the reader step by step and year by year, Guinn shows how Manson's patterns start early and only continue to get worse and more destructive through his lifetime.

I think everybody must wonder how he managed to exert such total control over his "Family" that they would kill for him. Guinn shows, follower by follower, how this happened, and what the horrifying results were. Searching out young people, mostly women, who were "bent, but not broken", he used a combination of pop psychology, LSD, and sex to break them down and then rebuild them as true believers.

As someone observes near the end of the book, nobody who came close to Charlie--including such disparate people as Dennis Wilson, Gerald Ford and Manson's own mother--came out undamaged. Recommended. 

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  1. I will be searching this one out as well. As a 7th grader I was so fascinated with the Family, that I read Helter Skelter and had multiple nightmares about them coming to get me. Warped me, I'm sure.

  2. Now this would be a tough read for me.

    I was in high school when the Manson murders happened and they were shocking and scary.

    The look in Manson's eyes....oh, it gave me nightmares. While I'm sure there more shocking murders, this one stood out for me.

    I think mainly because of the girls Most of them weren't much older than I was. It made it all the more real and horrible.

    While this may not be a book I would read, your review was very well done, especially the last paragraph, which reminds that true evil has many victims.


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