Where’s the proof? He wrote an excellent book. It’s full of good sentence structure and writing, but it’s a regurgitation of the same things we’ve been hearing for years. The things that still make me wonder…..what happened? Aside from that huge question and the fact that you have to like Helter Skelter to really like this book, Guinn does a lot of good research into early histories and has some really interesting interviews.
Guinn was able to interview not only old relatives and “acquaintances” of Charlie, but Pat and Leslie too.
The relatives and acquaintances give dubious but interesting recollections of their brief time with a young Charles Manson. They speak on his troubles in school and with a mom who came and went irregularly. It would’ve been
cool to get more pictures but the ones included were new and interesting. In reading about the early years of
Charlie I had to wonder about perspective and memory.
What is Joanne’s perspective on a little boy who constantly grabbed attention and took it away from her when she too was at a young age? How good are the memories and recollections of people in their 70’s and 80’s? These were some of the many questions that passed my mind while reading. The interviews with Pat and Leslie seemed to garner a lot of info too as well as wetting my appetite for some form of full transcripts or notes. It’d be very interesting to see all of what was said in these rare interview chances. Overall, Guinn added a lot to the narrative by interviewing these people who rarely come to the surface.
The book left me with a lot of questions and feeling like I just know too much about this subject. A few of my questions included: Where’s Rostau? No word or sign of Joel at all. He was supposed to have made the
deliveries to the Tate house and is thought to be marginally involved when flushing out the drug angle. It
seems Joel was left out due to the fact that Guinn followed Helter Skelter for the most part. Another query of
mine involves the murder of Shea. Tex is nowhere to be seen though he is implicated by all involved and
even purported to be the killer by some. Once again, I feel Guinn followed Helter Skelter on this one as
well. Along with these first two questions of mine are a few, if not many, more; another being the re-invention
of Joel Pugh. I have never read anything that disagrees with the narrative that Pugh was an ex of Sandy Good who
met an untimely demise (suicide?) in England around the same time that Bruce Davis was present in that same country. Guinn has Pugh going with Davis at the order of Manson and has Pugh as a part of the family, even going so far as to infer the wedding of Sandy and Joel was condoned by Charlie. As with the first couple questions I stated, this one interested me because Pugh has always been a pretty consistent character throughout the books.
Some more interesting pieces within include Tex leaving Barker in a station wagon instead of the Power Wagon (that might be a tough drive), there being almost no food at Barker when it was raided (inventory as well as Helter
Skelter lists quite a bit of food from the raids), the family being driven down Goler after the raids ( I had the impression they had to march them down the wash), Zero is never mentioned until he dies and then it is inferred that he was
removed because he was a weak link, never explaining what he may have known or why he was all of a sudden not trusted. The final little point of interest I found was a story on how, during the trials, the remaining people at Spahn were attacked and shot at from above on more than one night (I’d never heard this before). There are a lot of interesting stories and new tid bits, whether they’re true or not is up to personal interpretation at this point, 40 years
All in all, this is a good book; it’s written well and is easy to read. It develops stories and helps the reader smoothly finish the narrative. For those that are well versed in Manson, it is what the author intended, it’s a companion piece to Helter Skelter. It follows the same hippie cult leader line and takes it all the way to the bank; number thirteen on
bestseller lists proves that much (as well as being an eerie witchy number and Charlie’s death row cell number).
If you want a good story with lots of murder and mayhem, mixed with a little history, this book is for you.
If you are seeking truth, you may never find it, this like all the others is one man’s opinion filtered through those people that he chose to speak with regarding this subject. In my opinion he missed some very knowledgeable and easy to access sources. He also gives a ton of credit to Dale Carnegie and his book (which I’m reading now so I too can take over the world or at least California). Basically, Jeff Guinn wrote the book he wanted to write and if you want to read one man’s perspective and opinion on Charles Manson, this book is as good as any.