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The Family: The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion Hardcover – 1971

4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; 1st edition (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525103007
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525103004
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be very informative, and often a bit tongue-in-cheek....unusual, considering the subject matter.
Ed Sanders is able to convey the incredulity of these crimes through his descriptions ("Susan Atkins walked by the bedroom and waved at Abigail Folger. Folger waved back. 'Hi, death.'")
His descriptions of the murder scenarios are terse and almost callous at times ("all was chop"), but are somehow suitable.
Some of the information is incorrect; for example, he gets some of the Family nicknames mismatched with their real names, but overall, an incisive, thought-provoking look at the Tate-LaBianca murders, with a lot of detail left out of other published accounts.
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Format: Hardcover
If you prefer Bugliosi's detached and arch-conservative, ex-cop look at the Manson affair ("Helter Skelter"), that's your prerogative.

For my money, I'd rather read Sanders' insider perspective. As a founding member of post-beatnik, New York art weirdo musical/performance troupe The Fugs, Sanders has had one foot (or both) firmly planted in the underground far longer than most reviewers on this site have been alive. Speaking anthropologically, his recounting of the social milieu within which the Manson Family was born is unparalleled, going into great detail about the cultic dangers faced by the young hippie in the days just after the Summer of Love - Manson being just one of them.

As such, I found 'The Family' to be the superior, borderline definitive work on the Mansonites. Far more engrossing, and thus more real - as well as far, far more frightening for all its reality.

Slang used in the book, of which I've read numerous criticisms, is neither forced nor artificial - it's the result of a freak writing primarily for other freaks. It is accurate and of the period. The world was different then, in a great many ways. Get over it.

Is it a perfect book? No. I'd rather give it four stars but, as said in this review's title, this is written largely as a reaction to the rather less than useful one-star review posted earlier this year. Still, highly recommended - and that VW/Pop Art dust jacket is amazing!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book from a man who was in the scene during this era and played in The Fugs. Some great first hand accounts of those imnvolved in the Manson myths / lies. Gives some insight into the stange connections those in Laurel Canyon and LA had that were hidden during the trials. Also delves into the strange religious organizations that were influencing the scene. If you want more, reliable info on the Manson era, this is the book. But, get this version, as a few chapters had to be taken out for later versions and it is worth it for those 2 chapters.
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Format: Hardcover
Of the several books addressing these horrible events, this is probably the best as to details and massive amounts of information. It is quite readable and well done. I must admit to not being a big fan of this particular genre of book, i.e. true crime, etc. but this event was so a part of our cultural make up at that time (and still is to a certain extent), I thought I would give it a try. I am glad I did...I learned much that I did not know before. Recommend this one highly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A lot of research was done to write a book like this. Ties up a lot of loose ends from Helter Skelter. Very informative backdrop of the inner workings of Hollywood. Against this backdrop, Mr. Sanders manages to highlight the Manson "family" and how this has forever changed American society. With such serious and often repulsive subject matter, he manages to somehow lighten up the atmosphere with his tongue-in-cheek comments. Well worth a read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ed Sanders researched and wrote this immediately after the Tate/Labianca murders. It is a straightforward, specifically-detailed, chronologically-arranged account of how Charles Manson formed and controlled his cult of hippie killers. The book is based on hundreds of interviews and first-hand research and contains numerous details not explored in the far less insightful Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. In particular, Sanders explores the connections between the Manson family and other cult groups, especially the Process Church of the Final Judgment, and also the connections between Manson and organized crime. I was fortunate enough to get hold of the unexpurgated hardcover edition of the book--as a result of a lawsuit, the paperback had all mention of the Process Church omitted and is thus far less valuable as a resource. Sanders' writing style, which is tinged with 60s slang, takes a little while to get used to, but ultimately grows on the reader as a reflection of the author's personal voice. This book is a foundational requirement for anyone interested in the reality behind the Manson myth.
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Format: Hardcover
if you're intersested in the real true crime novel this is the book. while helter sketer was entertaining, it didn't provide the background this book does. sanders deals with this subject with a sence of ironic humor that makes this book easier to enjoy(the subject matter is of course brutal) but this is historically an important part of the 60s. sanders leaves nothing out. you get a real sence of manson as a man, not the urban legend/monster other books turned him into. that's what makes this book terrifying, the fact it makes him a real person. from a litteral,historical, and phycological point of view, this is a most for any true crime fan. this book will "creepy crawl" into your subconcience
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