The Manson Women: A “Family” Portrait
In The Manson Women, family therapist Clara Livsey gives us her professional opinion on the Family. I think the title is a bit misleading, but regardless of what you want to called it, this book is still great. It exposes the Manson family for what they are and makes each participate own up to their actions.
Book Description: A unique and provocative study of Charles Manson’s family – especially the women – by a noted family therapist who boldly claims that no one made them commit their crimes, despite their denials…no one but themselves.
In 1969, Charles Manson’s name was so involved with the grisly Tate-LaBianca murders that one crucial fact is often overlooked: Manson himself was not present at the actual bloodbath. His picture stared out of the front pages of newspapers across the country, seldom the faces of Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkle, Leslie Van Houten or Tex Watson. Six years later Lynette Fromme, with her assassination attempt against Gerald Ford, and Sandra Good, with her violent threats against businessmen, made headlines. Yet when his family burst once more into the news, Manson had been in prison for five years.
Basing her book on lengthy prison interviews, including a rare five-hour talk with Manson himself, Dr. Livsey traces the cult’s tortured evolution from love commune to violent conclave, analyzing the relationships between Manson and his followers and debunking the myths that have obscured our perception of these criminals. Certainly Manson was involved in plotting the murders, but, more to the point, he understood the deepest yearnings and immorality of his companions. “There was,” says Dr. Livsey, “something for everyone in the commission of the crimes.”
Because of the alarming similarity of Manson’s young women – all from white, middle-class families – to thousands more, the need to unravel their criminal motives is particularly acute.
A work of rare and profound significance, this morality tale of our times yields an unusual look at the lives of a group of women criminals, thrill-seeking or power-hungry, and at the motives and passions that drove them to kill. “A major concern of mine,” says Dr. Livsey, “is today’s overemphasis on the leaders of deviant groups. I believe we ought to concentrate on investigating so-called followers and on educating parents and others so they produce fewer of them. ”
Publisher: Richard Marek Pubs (May 1980)