- Publisher: Sagebrush Pr; First Paperback Edition edition (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: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Desert Shadows: A True Story of the Charles Manson Family in Death Valley First Paperback Edition Edition
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An insider law enforcement account of the fugitive days of the Manson Family in the California Desert.
Top customer reviews
With regards the Manson philosophy/history it was straight out of Bugliosi so I was not surprised to see the DA mentioned with special thanks in the acknowledgements section.
By and large. a different angle though, and as such, worth a read.
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. He does relay the danger these isolated rangers were in. But once again, better detail would have fleshed out this creepy confrontation.
Much of "Desert Shadows" reads like a police report, which lends itself well to documenting the facts of these confrontations and raids. But additional eyewitness accounts could have better served Murphy's novella. An additional note must be made about the rare photos included in the book. Taken by officers during the Manson family's capture, they include shots of handcuffed members, abandoned dune buggies and the infamous bus at Barker Ranch. These photographs are fascinating. So much so, one wonders why the author did not include more.
"Desert Shadows" provides a rare glimpse into the eerie days when the Manson family took refuge in Death Valley. Anyone who has ever visited Barker Ranch/Death Valley knows full well that the chore of rounding up this criminal group must have been an extraordinarily difficult job. These rangers are heroes, but Bob Murphy is just humble enough to where he does not trumpet that in satisfying fashion. Too bad.
"Desert Shadows" would have been better served to focus exclusively on the Death Valley chapter of this case. The most illuminating line in the entire book is telling - "Had Charlie and his Family stayed in the populous urban areas, they may have lived more securely. They were not part of the desert and were naked in its environment. (They) had no rapport with the harsh reality of the desert." When operating within his element (the desert), author Bob Murphy brings to light some fascinating details on the Manson case. It's just outside of Death Valley where the book bogs down.