Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi Review

Helter Skelter True Crime Book
Helter Skelter 1974 Cover

The 1974 book came out far before I was born, but it’s one hell of a book to read in 2016. Oh, it’s 2017? Well I finished this book in December of last year, and I haven’t been able to write about it until now. What you’re going to find with this book is that we haven’t seen anything in the last decade to compare with the psychopaths that came through the past. Charles Manson isn’t a killer in the way that you may expect. In fact, he’s one of the most confident weirdos in the world. This is touted as the best-selling true crime book in the history of print, and it is one of the more fascinating reads that I’ve read in a long time. “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi is a 500-page mammoth, but it doesn’t read like you would expect.

A Court House Retelling

What caught me off guard about some of the book’s more interesting elements is that it is written like a court document. What you’re going to be reading is a lot like an episode of Matlock or something like that. It’s really played up quite well. I’ve recently been watching film from the O.J. Simpson case, and this book reminds me of that. Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry together work through some of the finer details of what happened with the Manson Murders. This book is told in first person at times, and third person at others. It describes every element that you want to know about Charles Manson, and the murders that the family committed.

Gruesome It Is Not

If you’re trying to read “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi so that you can get some stellar gore, turn away. This book is not a gorey, horror movie. It’s a good book, no doubt, but it’s not gorey. It’s a classic example of literary work that pulls punches. You expect this to get really graphic, really fast, but it’s not. It’s a slow-moving book that uses a lot of big words. Ok, that’s odd, but still, the language used is like a lawyer’s guide at times, because it really focuses on the trials of Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and the members of the Manson Family. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I expected something else. I really didn’t expect the treatment of the whole story as a documentary film written out in a book. But then again, your imagination is going to run wild with some of the descriptions. The facts are there, the story is straight forward, and it’s impressive how Manson was able to yield so much power, even though he wasn’t a big man.

Still Worth Checking Out

I read the 25th anniversary edition and it was good. Are you missing out? Not really. This is a classic story of how a confident, good looking man, can command a lot of power. Manson is truly an interesting character, and this book details just how powerful someone could become if they truly gave no crap. “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi is an incredible read, if you’re a fan of true crime. I went through a stream of true crime books, and this was on my list, although it’s not my favorite. It’s a good one, but great? Na. You’ll like if you’re a fan of true crime and haven’t read about The Manson Family or the crimes they committed.

You can purchase “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi for under a buck used, or you can purchase a new one HERE.

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