Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family by John Gilmore and Ron Kenner

Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family

By John Gilmore and Ron Kenner

This is a revised version of The Garbage People. It’s a very readable account with loads of interviews and research behind it. The story is told with lots of direct quotes from key characters, which makes the reader feel like they’re there. Originally published in 1971, The Garbage People was one of the first good books written about these tragic events. A definite must read!

Book Description: The persona of Charles Manson and his bizarre sway over the Family remains riveting a quarter century down the line. Manson is a gripping account of one of the most chilling and fascinating crime sagas of our time, now available in a revised and updated edition containing 36 pages of previously unpublished photographs. New vectors into the kaleidoscopic tale that spins inexorably out of the slayings emerge in this updated edition with new material on killer Bobby Beusoleil and his occult alliance with experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger.

Pages: 208

Publisher: Amok Books; 2nd edition (January 28, 2000)

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One Response to Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family by John Gilmore and Ron Kenner

  1. Fred Bloggs says:

    I remember reading this back in the days when it went by the much better title of “The Garbage People.” It was the third Manson book I had read and it was pretty tough going. It was 1995 and I remember being horrified at the time that the death photos were printed. This was pre~internet and when one didn’t know of anyone else that had an interest in the case. I actually threw the book away because of those photos. I’d read about what had happened to the victims; seeing the Family handiwork was another matter.
    20 years on, I’m made of sterner stuff and I bought and reread the book. It’s of particular interest because the author John Gilmour, a seasoned acid tripper, actually spoke extensively with Charlie Manson while he was in the LA county jail at the end of 1969 and early 1970, much of which forms the direction the book goes in. It gives some great insight into Manson’s days in the Haight and because of when it came out {1971} affords us some well laid out pre~”Helter Skelter” investigation.
    Gilmour is of the opinion that Manson was behind the murders, not because of some grandiose master plan and prophecy, but because he’d been kicked about for so much of his life that he concluded that it was payback time.
    We learn more about Bobby Beausoleil in this book than in probably every one of the other books put together and for this alone, it’s a riveting read. It’s still heavy going at times though.
    There’s a lot of first hand testimony but so many people are given pseudonyms that it’s hard to work out who many people are. Mary Brunner for example is called Marie O’Brien.
    Like most of the early Tate/LaBianca books that pre~date 1974’s “Helter Skelter” there is a lack of cynicism and a freshness that makes such books invaluable today. The angles they seem to take make fascinating reading. In common with books of the period on the same subject, there are factual errors {such as a supposed eyewitness claiming Linda Kasabian joined the Family during the 1968 stay at Dennis Wilson’s house} but some of these errors are balanced out by information I’ve not seen elsewhere, such as Bobby saying that Gary Hinman was supposed to fund a recording session for Charlie but didn’t come through. I wonder sometimes if in a number of books people aren’t mixing up the participants and stories sometimes.
    However, this is a book I recommend heartily. One needs to be alert when reading it though; I twice dropped it in the bath as I snoozed off while reading it.

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