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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bestselling, authoritative account of the life of Charles Manson, filled with surprising new information and previously unpublished photographs: “A riveting, almost Dickensian narrative...four stars” (People).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. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person near the scene of the crime was spared.
Manson puts the killer in the context of 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. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences.
Guinn’s book is a “tour de force of a biography…Manson stands as a definitive work: important for students of criminology, human behavior, popular culture, music, psychopathology, and sociopathology…and compulsively readable” (Ann Rule, The New York Times Book Review).
Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Go Down Together, The Last Gunfight, Manson, The Road to Jonestown, War on the Border, and Waco. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.
Table of Contents
Author's Note on Names xi
Prologue: Charlie at the Whisky 1
Chapter 1 Nancy and Kathleen 9
Chapter 2 Moundsville and McMechen 23
Chapter 3 Kathleen and Charlie 33
Chapter 4 McMechen Again 47
Chapter 5 Prison 57
Chapter 6 Berkeley and the Haight 77
Chapter 7 Charlie in the Summer of Love 94
Chapter 8 L.A. 113
Chapter 9 Charlie and Dennis 148
Chapter 10 The Ranches 172
Chapter 11 The Bible and the Beatles 194
Chapter 12 Thwarted Dreams 220
Chapter 13 Tate 241
Chapter 14 LaBianca and Shea 260
Chapter 15 Death Valley 285
Chapter 16 Unraveling 308
Chapter 17 Charlie Is Famous 333
Chapter 18 The Trial 357
Chapter 19 The Wrong Man in the Right Place at the Right Time 385