The most authoritative account ever written of how an ordinary juvenile delinquent named Charles Manson became the notorious murderer whose crimes still shock and horrify us today.
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. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person on the property where the murders occurred was spared.
Manson puts the killer in the context of his times, the turbulent late sixties, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how Manson created and refined his message to fit the times, persuading confused young women (and a few men) that he had the solutions to their problems. At the same time he used them to pursue his long-standing musical ambitions, relocating to Los Angeles in search of a recording contract. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences as he convinced his followers to commit heinous murders on successive nights.
In addition to stunning revelations about Charles Manson, the book contains family photographs never before published.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2013: For more than 40 years, Charles Manson has cast an awful shadow over the Age of Aquarius: an unrepentant murderer synonymous with psychopath in the American lexicon, impossible to ignore or forget. Accordingly, there’s no measuring the volume of ink and celluloid committed to the man, his “family,” and their deeds. So what’s left to be said about Charles Manson? Quite a bit, it turns out. With Manson, Jeff Guinn delves deep into Manson’s “origin story” to reconstruct the wicked combination of events and circumstance that helped make the monster. In prose that’s both economical and compelling--almost hard-boiled--Guinn recounts a troubled upbringing of neglectful, criminal parents and juvenile delinquency, compelling the narrative into the increasingly bizarre landscapes of late-1960s Southern California--a context that turned out to be the perfect accelerant to Manson’s narcissistic delusions. By the time of Helter Skelter and the infamous Manson Family killings, Guinn has aligned the tumblers of Manson’s story and opened a vault of secrets regarding one of the most violent and strange episodes of modern American history. --Jon Foro