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review 2019-11-25 21:11
Book Review: Four Days in November - The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy - Vincent Bugliosi

Book: Four Days in November - The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy


Author: Vincent Bugliosi


Genre: Non-Fiction/U.S History/Assassinations


Summary: Four Days in November is an extraordinarily exciting, precise, and definitive narrative of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald. It is drawn from Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a monumental and historic account of the event and all the conspiracy theories it spawned, by Vincent Bugliosi, legendary prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter. For general readers, the carefully documented account presented in Four Days is utterly persuasive: Oswald did it and he acted alone. -W.W. Norton, 2007.

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text 2019-07-17 00:54
PM’s Favorite/Essential History Reading List (2 of 2)
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Curt Gentry,Vincent Bugliosi
Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson - Jeff Guinn
The Man with the Candy: The Story of the Houston Mass Murders - Jack Olsen
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple - Jeff Guinn
Harry Potter: A History of Magic - J.K. Rowling,British Library,Julian Harrison,Julia Eccleshare,Roger Highfield,Anna Pavord,Lucy Mangan,Tim Peake,Owen Davies,Richard Coles,Steve Backshall,Steve Kloves

My submission for Chris's crowdsourced nonfiction history reading list, part 2. These are the more recent history (back half of 20th century) and one general world history book.


Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders (Vietnam Era)

The original account of Charles Manson and the Manson Family, written by the attorney who prosecuted the cases. I’m uncertain if this should be considered “true crime” rather than “historical crime”, as this book was written only a few years after the trials, rather than from a historian’s perspective.


Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (Vietnam Era)

A more historical account of Manson and Family, very detailed and graphic, with some perspective on the sociopolitical climate of the time. The audio format works well here.


The Man With The Candy: The Story of The Houston Mass Murders (Vietnam Era)

It’s pretty amazing that 28 teenagers could disappear within a few square miles with zero interest from local law enforcement, or even the general public. Similar to Helter Skelter, this was written very shortly after the actual events, so it may be a better fit under “true crime” than “historical crime”. I’d like to read a well-researched account from a more historical perspective.


The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple (Vietnam Era)

A thorough examination of the evolution of The Peoples Temple from its socialist ideals and Christian roots to a cult willing and able to commit the 1978 atrocity of mass suicide and murder of over 900 men, women, and children. My review here.


Harry Potter: A History of Magic (General World History)

This is the companion book to the British Library exhibition of the same name, examining historical artefacts with a connection to magic, using the Potter books for context. Truly a lot of fun.


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review 2016-09-04 02:16
Helter Skelter
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Curt Gentry,Vincent Bugliosi

What can I say? Vincent Bugliosi isn't just an amazing attorney but an amazing author as well. I've already read And the Sea Will Tell and loved it. It was so detailed, so thorough, and yet written in a voice that kept it from being stultifying or dry. Because of that experience I found myself awfully excited to get in to this one and I was not disappointed.

I am an encyclopedia of serial murder and yet this book showed me how little I actually knew about Manson, his Family, and the murders they carried out. I knew of course that a group of his murdered the Tate group and the LaBiancas, but the murder of Gary Hinman, Shorty Shea, and potentially others had eluded me before this. Linda Kasabian's involvement and her testimony shocked me. What a brave girl she was. The idea behind the Helter Skelter motive struck many as crazy as first, but the way Vincent put it together made it so clear.

I also enjoyed the description of the trials; so many antics, personalities, wild claims. Reading about defense attorney Irving Kanarek's unique way of dealing with the proceedings (essentially being as obstructionist as possible, earning him several sanctions) alone would be entertaining enough for me to recommend this book.

Ultimately the horror visited upon the victims was so much worse than I thought, and it made me hate how Manson has become almost an anti-establishment symbol to some. He was nothing of the kind. He was a serial murderer, an abuser, a virulent racist and misogynist that should be remembered for being what he is, a jumped up little psychopath who has only a kind of animal cunning at his disposal. He was not a visionary, nor did he have some strange ability to hypnotize most people. When challenged, he would shake in his shoes. He chose people he knew he could easily mold, getting them involved in drugs early on. Many of his followers were very young girls (Leslie Van Houten was only 19 at the time of trial, if I recall).

And that is what struck me throughout: the huge thread of misogyny tying it all together. Many of those girls came to Charlie because they wanted more than what their middle class upbringings had taught them to accept. Those upbringings were often talked about in glowing terms but really, it's clear they were oppressive. The nicest thing Pat Krenwinkel's father could say about her was that she was "obedient." The true tragedy on the part of these followers (other than the murders, obviously) is that they merely traded one misogynistic experience for another. At trial, Manson told Vincent that Sadie/Susan, one of his most devoted followers and killers, was "a stupid bitch" and "after she had the kid and lost her figure I didn't care about her anymore." Vincent summed it up nicely, saying that while the girls would murder and even die for him, he cared for them not at all.

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review 2015-02-09 22:02
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi, Curt Gentry
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Curt Gentry,Vincent Bugliosi



Description: Prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, Vincent Bugliosi held a unique insider's position in one of the most baffling and horrifying cases of the twentieth century: the cold-blooded Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by Charles Manson and four of his followers. What motivated Manson in his seemingly mindless selection of victims, and what was his hold over the young women who obeyed his orders? Here is the gripping story of this famous and haunting crime.

Manson 2014

I don't think this is rateable.
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text 2014-09-21 19:38
Used Book Haul
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders - Curt Gentry,Vincent Bugliosi
Scarlett - Alexandra Ripley
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America - Tony Goldwyn,Erik Larson
Paranormalcy - Kiersten White
A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
Girl, Interrupted - Susanna Kaysen
Timothy Leary: A Biography - Robert Greenfield
Paradise Lost - John Leonard,John Milton
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith

I finally found a used book store relatively close to my house and I ended up going a little crazy there.  But who can complain when you leave with 11 books and only spent $30.  No one, that's who.  I'm pretty sure that my husband is going to give the lady who owns it a hug since our bank account is no longer going to suffer through only having a Barnes & Noble for the majority of my book purchasing "problem".  So, here's a few that I picked up.  A couple of them of were books that I already had, but are severely beat up ( i.e. Harry Potter series) so I bought new ones.  The guy who checked me out hit my serial killer section first, then got to Scarlett.  He paused for a bit before he continued.  I wish he would have said what he was thinking..


A side note, my poor Mac was in the Apple store for a while.  It's back and I can finally actually use it.  So maybe I can get back to posting a little more often.  



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