Charles Manson's Creepy Crawl: The Many Lives of America's Most Infamous Family

Charles Manson's Creepy Crawl: The Many Lives of America's Most Infamous Family

by Jeffrey Melnick


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50 years after the notorious Tate-LaBianca murders, Charles Manson and the Manson Family continue to haunt and fascinate America. No crime or criminal has touched the social, political, or cultural life of America in the same way.

"Creepy crawling" was the Manson Family's practice of secretly entering someone's home, and without harming anyone, leaving only a trace of evidence that they had been there, some reminder that the sanctity of the private home had been breached.

Now, author Jeffrey Melnick reveals just how much the Family creepy crawled their way through Los Angeles in the sixties and then on through American social, political, and cultural life for fifty years, firmly lodging themselves in our minds. Even now, it is almost impossible to discuss the sixties, teenage runaways, sexuality, drugs, music, California, or even the concept of family without referencing Manson and his "girls."

Not another Charles Manson history, Charles Manson's Creepy Crawl explores how the Family weren't so much outsiders as emblematic of the Los Angeles counterculture freak scene, and how Manson worked to connect himself to the mainstream of the time. Ever since they spent two nights killing seven residents of Los Angeles—what we now know as the "Tate-LaBianca murders"—the Manson family has rarely slipped from the American radar for long.

From Emma Cline's The Girls to the TV show Aquarius, as well as two major films in 2019, including Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the family continues to rivet America. What is it about Charles Manson and his family that captivates us still?

Author Jeffrey Melnick sets out to answer this question in this fascinating and compulsively readable cultural history of the Family and their influence from 1969 to the present. Previously published in hardcover under the title Creepy Crawling this paperback edition has a new epilogue.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781948924764
Publisher: Arcade
Publication date: 07/23/2019
Pages: 456
Sales rank: 319,769
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Jeffrey Melnick has been thinking about the Manson Family since first encountering the book and miniseries Helter Skelter in the 1970s. Melnick is a professor at University of Massachusetts Boston and the author of 9/11 Culture: America Under Construction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), Black-Jewish Relations on Trial (University Press of Mississippi, 2000), and A Right to Sing the Blues (Harvard University Press, 1999). He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Creepy Crawling through the Sixties: Charles Manson and History vii

Part I Creepy Crawling Family: Charles Manson in Our Homes 1

Mother Father Sister Brother 3

The Family That Slays Together 23

Ranch, Hill, Farm 32

Hush Little Dropout 49

The History of Consciousness 80

Part II Creepy Crawling Los Angeles: Charles Manson on Our Maps 93

High Rollers 95

Hippies with Power 113

Hungry Freaks 125

The Bad Fathers of the Feast 144

Family Affairs 163

Part III Creepy Crawling Truth: Charles Manson and Our Crime Tales 175

The Bug vs. the Fug 177

A Legion of Charlies 207

Hippie Ugly! Hippie Shit! Toothpaste Good! 221

A Newcomer, an Intruder 233

Not Just the Facts, Ma'am 243

Part IV Creepy Crawling Art: Charles Manson in Our Minds 259

Blood in a Swimming Pool 261

They Are Still among Us 278

He's a Magic Man 295

Waves of Mutilation 301

Desperados under the Eaves 325

Zeroville 335

Wrecking Crews 346

Epilogue 357

Endnotes 371

Works Consulted 396

Acknowledgments 415

Index 419

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