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Helter Skelter (book)

Helter Skelter: The True Story of The Manson Murders
First edition of W. W. Norton & Co., 1974
Author Vincent Bugliosi with Curt Gentry
Country United States
Language English
Subject Charles Manson and the "Manson Family"
Genre True crime
Publisher W. W. Norton & Company
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 502 pp
OCLC 15164618

Helter Skelter (1974) is a true crime book by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. Bugliosi had served as the prosecutor in the 1970 trial of Charles Manson. The book presents his firsthand account of the cases of Manson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and other members of the self-described Manson Family. It is the best-selling true crime book in history.[1]


  • Description 1
  • Reception and legacy 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The book recounts and assesses the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of Charles Manson and his followers for the notorious 1969 murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, actress Sharon Tate, and several others.[2]

The book takes its title from the apocalyptic race war that Manson believed would occur, which in turn took its name from "Helter Skelter" by The Beatles.[2] Manson had been particularly fascinated by the Beatles' White Album, from which the song came.

Reception and legacy

Helter Skelter was first published in the United States in 1974 and became a bestseller. The book won the 1975 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime book,[3] and was the basis for two television films, released in 1976 and 2004.[4] At the time of Bugliosi's death in 2015, it had sold over seven million copies, making it the best-selling true crime book in history.[1]

The book was the main influence for the story line of the 2008 movie The Strangers.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ a b Stout, David (2015-06-10). "Vincent T. Bugliosi, Manson Prosecutor and True-Crime Author, Dies at 80".  
  2. ^ a b Rogers, Michael (November 17, 1974). "Manson Meets The Bug: Helter Skelter". The New York Times. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ Alexander, S. L. (2004). Media and American Courts: A Reference Handbook. Santa Barbara, CA:  
  4. ^ Mustazza, Leonard (2006). The Literary Filmography 1. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 235.  
  5. ^ Rotten, Ryan (August 1, 2007). "EXCL: Never Talk to Strangers". Crave Online. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ Rotten, Ryan (May 26, 2008). "Interview: The Strangers' Bryan Bertino (Pt. 2)". Crave Online. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 

External links

  • Helter SkelterExplanation of
  • Partial trial testimony regarding "Helter Skelter"
  • News article on Charles Manson's letter to N.Korean leader Kim Jong-il
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