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Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson Kindle Edition
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|Length: 526 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Furthermore, if you're looking for an unbiased account of Manson you'll need to look elsewhere. The author's blatantly obvious dislike of his subject is all too evident from the word go and grinds on throughout the entire book.
Well written as one would expect but same old same old.
On the upside, there's lots of early-days original reporting. The new material on his childhood is illuminating, and so is the stuff from Gregg Jacobson dealing with Manson in L.A. And I really admire the way Guinn has woven the cultural times into the narrative. It does provide some much needed context for the Manson saga, even if it does seem like a good bit of it is by-the-numbers window dressing.
Also, there's a lot of guessing. On pages 28 and 29 alone, we get "perhaps," "but more likely," "surely," "it is unlikely," "probably," and "may have been" -- all of them code words for, gee, I really don't know but I'm going to look at this situation this way, because it well serves my overall thesis.
Also, the PR machine makes a big noise about the interviews with Krenwinkle and Van Houten but quotes from the pair are far and few between. Maybe they just didn't have much to say.
I am no Manson apologist, but, sadly, as readable as this book is, it is not the last word on the subject (sigh; one wishes it were), nor is it very good journalism. The 45th anniversary of the T/LB slayings comes next year; maybe we'll get the final word then, and I for one certainly hope so. It about time we're done with this creep, once and for all.
Manson as the prototype of the psychopath grew up with an eye to mining the social unrest for his own advancement. Grandiose, he longed to be a part of the new ruling class in LA, the famous. "We're us, there are no rules, we get to do this." Confident in his own superiority, he simultaneously worked his wealthy, celebrity friends and cultivated a "family" of the disaffected to do his bidding. Although in the end, his pretensions as the return of Jesus passed reality; Charlie was, and is, an uncanny observer of the currents of the times. He used this knowledge to manipulate his world, and he was successful for some time. His gory murders among the elite and the upper middle class of Hollywood resonated deeply with the fearful conservatives of America.
To this day, one can find young people who find his actions attractive. One can still buy Manson tshirts, and his regular parole hearings are still accorded news coverage. It has always been a fascinated puzzle how such a scrawny man was able to command the actions of so many people, especially the daughters of the nation. This book uses careful scholarship and meticulous recreation to attempt an answer. The prose moves smoothly, and engages the reader. The character development leaves us with the fully formed Manson before our eyes. The reporting of the events of those times is done seamlessly with the story. In fact, one is lulled at times in the knitting of the two phenomena. Discussing the more lurid material carefully, the discourse never stoops to sensationalism. This is a book for those who remember and those who never knew.