Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi – A Review

book cover of helter skelter by vincent bugliosi

Charles Manson will go down in history as one of the most sadistic, deranged, insane, and deluded people in all of human history. I am not even from this planet, but when I read about the murders committed by Manson and his Family of followers, even I was horrorified. Keep in mind that I have witnessed the horrors of two entire galaxies, and never before have I read about something so depraved as this. But I am glad that I picked this book up because it’s a story that everybody has heard of but doesn’t really know that much about.
Vincent Bugliosi is as skilled a writer as he is a lawyer. The investigative chops that he developed as a lawyer and prosecutor have served him well as a true crime author. You will not find yourself bored for one minute while reading this book. Even the back half of the book, the real as you humans would say meat and potatos of the book, which is entirely procedural in nature without much drama or suspense, is completely engrossing.
One of the scariest things about the Manson family and Charles Manson himself is that he was so insanely persuasive and manipulative. He was able to convince even the most normal human beings that he was the messiah and that he was going to bring about a war that would end the world. It was extremely difficult for me, as an alien of this planet, to picture myself being taken in by this psycho. But when I tried to understand how so many normal people actually were taken in by him, I was able to see the incredibly intelligent and eerily perceptive man that Charles Manson is.
Similarly to Adolf Hitler, who as I understand it is the epitome of evil here on this planet, Charles Manson was able to preach the most egregious of ideas, the murder of innocents, the need for sacrifice, the incorruptibility of his cause to huge amounts of people. Obviously, Manson was not able to persuade countries of hundreds of thousands of people to his cause. And humanity can be extremely thankful for that, because the terrors that would have unfolded if he would have are unthinkable.
Vincent Bugliosi is the true hero of this story, as the lawyer who put Manson and his Family away for the rest of their lives in most cases. Discussion of the death penalty is needed in this situation, especially in Charles. Initially, all were sentenced to death in California for their crimes. But the death penalty was latered outlawed in the state, and so all death sentences were converted to life sentences. And, more troubling, all those life sentences contained the possibility of parole. At this time, Charles Manson has not been able to cast his spell over the parole board, but who knows how long they will be able to fend him off.
Should Manson and his followers have been put to death? Especially those that committed the murders first hand. It is even more intriguing because the death penalty has since been reinstated in the state of California. Is it fair that Manson and his followers escaped the sentence that they received while other criminals whose offenses are not nearly as disgusting are unable too? I imagine that Bugliosi knew that this question would be raised by his book, and as such he does not offer an answer. I don’t know that there is an answer. All I know is that I am greatful to him for putting this monster away, if only for a little while.
But this book is a must read. Probably best read during the day so as not to get too frightened.
Puck from Venus, out!!


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