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Spara som favorit. Skickas inom vardagar. The guru of killing was an enemy of society, a guerrilla on the fringes of civilized life, who discovered, as many have before and since, the fragile vulnerability of individuals in community. Manson was clever and glib, a stir-wise and sophisticated confidence man who exploited the human material and social climate in order to achieve his ends.

And his ends included killing. It took considerable courage for some of his witnesses to testify, for ordinary people to resist the threat of death and come forward, for officials to do their jobs, for society itself to achieve not retribution but justice. In the sensation of the moment, the advice was not heeded. The very enormity of the crimes, the ineptitude of some investigators, the cultural climate of malaise and fear, produced terror and confusion.

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Globuss

Some of it still persists; it is painful, even now, to read the details of the crimes, astonishing to see how otherwise sensible and decent people tended to imbue the Mason Family with attributes they never really possessed. But the overriding obligation of society is to see that the victims did not die in vain. To blinker our view of this bestiality, to gloss over it with vague implications that somehow society itself is to blame, is to abandon the imperative of clear and rational thinking at a time when it is most sorely needed.

This, for me, is the greatest value of the book.

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To see the law at work in the reality it must cope with — groping, subject to limitations, to the rules of evidence, to the personalities of advocates and judges — is a challenging experience. Occasionally, weaknesses are revealed.


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The lack of liaison between and within investigative agencies demands scrutiny. So, too, do the methods of investigation, the reports of pathologists, the taking of physical evidence, the policies that permit the release of sociopaths into the general community, the roles of psychiatry and psychology, the procedures of the courts. Bugliosi raises questions that deserve the most careful attention.

Charles Manson Before The Murders

If Bugliosi is critical, he does not hesitate to give credit where he believes it due. For Manson decided who stayed. Obviously he did not want anyone who he felt would challenge his authority, cause dissension in the group or question his dogma.

Vincent Bugliosi Helter Skelter The True Story of the Manson Murders Part 01 Audiobook

They chose, and Manson chose, and the result was the Family. Drugs were a tool, but the evidence is that Manson used them sparingly, and that on the nights of the murders the assassins were not under the influence of drugs at all. Sex was another instrument.

From the Archives: The famous Manson true crime book, ‘Helter Skelter,’ reviewed in 1974

Both heightened suggestibility. The use of repetition and ceremonials systematically erased inhibitions. Manson created a climate of isolation. There were no newspapers at Spahn Ranch, no clocks.