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90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Bird singing in the dead of night......
I'm not sure how anyone could ever dismiss Ed Sanders' "The Family," a detailed account of Charles Manson and the murders his Family committed during the summer of Woodstock, 1969. A superb companion book to Vincent Bugliosi's "Helter Skelter," Sanders' "The Family" is an alternative trip through the madness that defines one of the most infamous and horrifying crimes in...
Published on April 26, 2003 by Chris K. Wilson

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Family
The Family is more of a book that tells you about the life of Charles and his family. It really doesn't tell about the murders that he had commited. It tells about his childhood and why he was in jail all of the times. The book tells about why he had started a clan and what kind of people had to be in it. If you like to read about Charles Manson then this is a good...
Published on October 12, 2000 by George


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90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Bird singing in the dead of night......, April 26, 2003
By 
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
I'm not sure how anyone could ever dismiss Ed Sanders' "The Family," a detailed account of Charles Manson and the murders his Family committed during the summer of Woodstock, 1969. A superb companion book to Vincent Bugliosi's "Helter Skelter," Sanders' "The Family" is an alternative trip through the madness that defines one of the most infamous and horrifying crimes in American history.
While "Helter Skelter" is a factual, by-the-numbers recount, "The Family" is an attempt to get beneath the surface of these unimaginable crimes. Sanders, a pseudo hippie himself, well-versed in the howling of beatnik eras and the twang of Bob Dylan travels, had unparalleled leeway into the lives of Manson's followers before and during the criminal trials of 1970. He hung with the waifs at Spahn ranch before it burned to the ground. He camped with these very weird kids in Death Valley. And he caught wind of the numerous crazy rumors that floated around like so much LA smog while writing alongside the army of TV/print reporters covering the trial. His work is valid, and his opinions cut through much of the myth and legend of this case. It is also the first true book ever released on this case, having been published in 1971.
Sanders' flippant disregard for Manson's con, and the con of his worshipers, is refreshing. His style reminds me of the extraordinary ruminations of Evan S. Connell in "Son of the Morning Star" - a fantastic work dealing with another rather bloody historical event (Custer and Little Big Horn). Sanders refuses to accept the myth or the legend, and reveals the dirty, flea-bitten truth. His is an unconventional, creative approach, told from the eyes of a most intelligent mind.
But I still find much of Sanders' work to be extremely irresponsible. He recounts many of the urban myths surrounding this crime, including Manson's supposed alliances with Satanic cults, weird mysterious videotapes existing (yet disappearing) that reportedly show eventual victims with the Family, filmed sacrifices, CIA involvement, political connections stretching all the way to Washington D.C., and so on add nausea give me a break.
The Manson trial was a circus, and the conspiracy theories that spewed forth rivaled the theories surrounding yet another 1960s crime known as the JFK assassination. These were horrible times in American history, California Dreaming or not, and the simple fact of the matter is that Charles Manson and his family lived a counterculture lifestyle that was hip with middle class and upper-middle class culture during this era. They hung, ever-so-briefly, with the young in-crowd of Hollywood. But when the constant use of psychedelic drugs, combined with the unique isolation of Spahn ranch, began to take hold, Manson and his family entered a deadly alternative world having no touch with reality. The in-crowd slams the door in their face, the hope for rock and roll superstardom disappears, Manson becomes God, it's time to strike back at the rich and powerful piggies. It's such a sad and ugly story.
Sanders perhaps gets closer to the truth than any writer ever truly has with these crimes. It's all here, urban myths, unsolved crimes in the same neighborhood, animal bones, dirty laundry, uneducated white trash motivation spawned by years of institutionalization. It's Group Think at its worst formed by the hangover of one endless lost summer weekend.
"The Family" is my third book to read on Manson's pathetic crimes. I find it telling that after reading Sanders' influential work, I realize I now know all I ever really want to know.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars RE-Print it! Please!, February 10, 2000
This review is from: The Family (Mass Market Paperback)
While no Manson book will ever tell the true story, due to variations of 'truth' amongst those involved, this book as a facinating look into a certain era in American history that is too easily glossed over with tye-dye and lava lamps. A must for Manson 'fans'. PS- Blue and Red have both denounced it, so there must be a kernal of truth in here somewhere.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, June 8, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Family (Mass Market Paperback)
Anyone who has just finished Helter Skelter should graduate to this book.Sanders lived with the remaining family members while gathering info on the book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Kill Kill, But You Should Read This, April 29, 2008
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
A perfect companion to Vincent Bugliosi's "Helter Skelter", "The Family" was written by Ed Sanders, one time member of the "counter culture" 60's act The Fugs. Like Bugliosi, Sanders had first hand contact with The Manson Family in the late 60's/early 70's, however unlike Bugliosi he was not a straight prosecutor but (admittedly) a member of "the underground press" and a dyed in the wool hippie. Sanders occasionally deviates through some wacky borderline conspiracy theories, though always leaving you to draw your own conclusions. The fact that he took numerous trips out to the desert to mix with the Family while writing this book is akin to frontline tours of duty as a war correspondent and adds to the realism as he breaks bread with Manson's murder zombies. I've read this book five times over the past three years and each time its as chilling as the first when you realize that an ex-con hijacked the peace and love generation by collecting damaged youth and utilizing his control skills learned as a former pimp which combined with liberal doses of hallucinogenic drugs helped him create his morbid dream world of racial unrest, murder and mayhem, that was quite possibly just a mask for a personal, money and drug fueled related agenda.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, July 25, 2005
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
Is it possible to present facts in an enteraining manner? Sanders style of writing is great and keeps your interest. If you want court testimony, legal documents, and legal jargon, read Helter Skelter or visit [...] If you want to read something about these horrific events in a way that isn't boring and over your head, read this. This is one of my favorites on this subject!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good addition to Helter Skelter., September 11, 2006
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
A must have for any Manson collection. The writing was not always perfect but the story seems true from a different perspective, not just legal mumbo jumbo. It is a classic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars oo-wee-oo, October 11, 2011
This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
Fugs figurehead ed sanders does not disappoint with his incredibly researched/first-hand account of the Manson trial and mystery. curious enough, i found everything leading up to the murders the most interesting period covered in the book. Sanders acts as your personal guide through the morass of Manson's ritual/hate killings, sex/terror/mind control cult, and the rather colorful characters and locations that floated/hovered around the man. Don't expect a cut and dry 540 pg written version of an episode of 'unsolved mysteries'. the reader definitely must appreciate Sanders' sense of humor and rhythm of verse to fully engage in the tale he weaves. highly recommended as a first read into the love and terror cult.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sanders Disects the Manson Cult, April 27, 2009
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
If you want to get down to the nitty gritty of what made the Manson Family tick, this is the best source to date. Sanders was able to speak with many people who would never have been so open with Bugliosi or his associates. Read this book for more of an inside perspective than can be had from Helter Skelter.

One caveat is it helps to already have at least a passing familiarity with the hipster lingo and historical background of the time during which the book was written. L7 folks might want to read up on the history of hippie era first as background.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best Manson book, December 23, 2012
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
This is the best book on Manson, the whole Helter Skleter story, period.. Not sure if it's all factual or not. I have read many different things saying it is, it isn't. It's a great book. And incredible story and my favorite on the subject of Manson. I have a top 5 Manson book list that I think gives you a better picture of the whole story if you read them all. This is may favorite. A must read if you're a fan of this subject and story. This subject has so many twists, turns and side stories happening. It's just an incredible story. My picks in order on this subject are - 1) The Family, 2) Shadow Over Santasusana, 3) Manson: In His Own Words, 4) Will You Die For Me?, 5) Helter Skelter.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, great investigative read., December 15, 2009
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This review is from: The Family (Paperback)
when i saw that he had consulted with famed investigator Maury Terry of the master work "The ultimate evil" I instantly knew this book had tremendous value. And I was correct. The back ground and following the tentacles of this case that reach around the country, and having the courage to follow up the satanic cult angle was well as the scientology and mind control aspect gave me so much more than i hope for. This is a must read with the book "the ultimate evil" so much is contained in Maury's book that sheds much light on the significance of the satanic cult aspect. This case is far from closed. It is obvious to me that behind the scenes it is still being investigated.

On his writing style. I believe it was perfect for this. I "get" him and much of the code language he uses to hint at things only insiders know. I do believe has has much more information on this subject than he can disclose, and he even admits it if you read closely.

How some could rate this book so below an all star is beyond my understanding.

Highly recommended book.

Thanks Ed. I appreciate the effort and hope you continue to follow up and put out new editions as more information becomes available to publish publicly.
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The Family
The Family by Ed Sanders (Paperback - November 8, 2002)
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