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Desert Shadows: A True Story of the Charles Manson Family in Death Valley Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0930704292 ISBN-10: 0930704290

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Sagebrush Pr (July 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930704290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930704292
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By brian@brianparkin.com on January 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This short but informative book tells the story from the point of view of the author, a former superintendant of Death Valley National Monument (now DVNP), who was involved in the investigation of the Manson family in the park and its environs during late 1969 and 1970. Descriptions of the land and accounts of drives along backroads are quite thrilling, especially the trip through Goler Wash, which is always something of a challenge even to experienced 4-wheelers. My own visit to the Barker Ranch, where the gang holed up, was memorable because of the still-maintained bizarre shrine to Charlie and his followers; the ranch has a creepy feel to it and I am in no hurry to go back. The Manson story has probably done more to enhance the desert's reputation as a haven for those on the margins of conventional society than any other single event in the last fifty years; of course this bad reputation is undeserved and everyone I do run into in DVNP is pleasant and there for recreation. If you have a suitably equipped vehicle you can travel many of the roads and visit the places mentioned but I don't recommend the book for reading by flashlight in your tent; I think you would have a sleepless night.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Chris K. Wilson on July 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Anyone who peruses the 1993 book "Desert Shadows-A True Story of the Charles Manson Family in Death Valley" most likely has quite a bit of knowledge in reference to this famous criminal case. Certainly there's an interesting story to tell about the Manson family's brief period in Death Valley, including their eventual capture by park superintendents and police officers. Author Bob Murphy, a former Death Valley National Monument Superintendent personally involved in the raid on the Barker/Myers ranches where the Manson crew was holed up, has done an adequate job at stating many of the facts.
Where "Desert Shadows" truly comes alive is in relaying details of what the officers found during their raids in October of 1969, when the Manson family was finally put behind bars. Lists of supplies, guns and stolen automobiles provide rare insight into the inner workings of this evil group. Murphy has done an excellent job in giving a blow-by-blow account of these uncomfortable days when park rangers slowly closed in on the Manson family. Perhaps where this book trips up is in detailing far too much the criminal history of the Manson family prior to their arrival in Death Valley. Most readers will already be familiar with this knowledge, which has been documented in "Helter Skelter" and "The Family."
I would have liked to have seen more first-hand accounts from multiple parties involved in these raids. A description of the struggles of two park rangers who stumbled upon nine partially-clothed hippies hiding in a ravine is fascinating stuff. But the reference to a man hiding nearby with a shotgun is never adequately explained. It's obvious this man was the one and only Charles Manson, though author Bob Murphy seems uncomfortable in stating this fact.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Well written from historical accounts, and a bit more balanced than Bugliosi's book. Good follow up as to the present status of "family" members.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By blackturtle on May 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
I found this book about Charles Manson especially interesting since it focused on his activities in the Goler Wash area. I live about ten or fifteen miles from this location and have visited or passed by the location of his capture several times and it's interesting to realize that some pretty messed up stuff happened in and around Goler Wash. The author was the superintendent of Death Valley NP at the time of the capture of Charles Manson and so he offers a perspective quite different from many of the authors who have dealt with the activities of Charles Manson and his followers. I think that this book would be of special interest to anyone who lives near or spends any time in the part of Death Valley near Goler Wash. Another book, "These Canyons Are Full of Ghosts" by Emmett C. Harder also deals with this area (and mentions the Manson Family).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sunbaked on March 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the "Rest of the Story." This book is a must. It tells how they were captured and more.
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