Saturday, December 17, 2011
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vince Bugliosi
Bugliosi takes the reader on a compelling, well-organized and fantastically written journey through the Manson trial.
He does an excellent job of describing events and facts objectively, perpetually qualifying observations and suspicions unearthed during the discovery process with any associated (or lack of) circumstantial evidence. He deftly avoids getting the reader bogged down in legal minutiae or terminology, explaining necessary legal aspects without becoming overly pedantic.
In this book, we get to know not only Manson and his three female co-defendants (chilling in their dedication to Manson) through excerpts of transcripted interviews and various anecdotes of law enforcement and others' experiences with them, but Bugliosi as well. He emerges, through the steady compilation of facts, interviews and legal strategy as a fierce and dedicated prosecutor with an almost, but not quite, overzealous moral streak. Somehow he accomplishes this without climbing up on a white house or being irritatingly heroic.
Bugliosi manages to present a case fastidiously and meticulously without ever letting the narrative get boring or drag on unnecessarily. This is one of the best true crime books I have ever read.