Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Audible Audiobook, Unabridged
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Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Chaos written by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring, read by Kevin Stillwell.
A journalist’s 20-year obsession with the Manson murders brings shocking revelations about the most infamous crimes in American history: carelessness from police, misconduct by prosecutors and even potential surveillance by intelligence agents. What really happened in 1969?
In 1999, when Tom O’Neill was assigned a magazine piece about the 30th anniversary of the Manson murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Weren’t the facts indisputable? Charles Manson had ordered his teenage followers to commit seven brutal murders and in his thrall, they’d gladly complied. But when O’Neill began reporting the story, he kept finding holes in the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s narrative, long enshrined in the best-selling Helter Skelter. Before long, O’Neill had questions about everything from the motive to the manhunt. Though he’d never considered himself a conspiracy theorist, the Manson murders swallowed the next two decades of his career. He was obsessed.
Searching but never speculative, Chaos follows O’Neill’s 20-year effort to rebut the ‘official’ story behind Manson. Who were his real friends in Hollywood and how far would they go to hide their ties? Why didn’t law enforcement act on their many chances to stop him? And how did he turn a group of peaceful hippies into remorseless killers? O’Neill’s hunt for answers leads him from reclusive celebrities to seasoned spies, from the Summer of Love to the shadowy sites of the CIA’s mind-control experiments, on a trail rife with cover-ups and coincidences.
Featuring hundreds of new interviews and dozens of never-before-seen documents from the LAPD, the FBI and the CIA, Chaos mounts an argument that could be, according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven Kay, strong enough to overturn the verdicts on the Manson murders. In those two dark nights in Los Angeles, O’Neill finds the story of California in the '60s: when charlatans mixed with prodigies, free love was as possible as brainwashing and utopia - or dystopia - was just an acid trip away.
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|Listening Length||16 hours and 14 minutes|
|Author||Tom O’Neill, Dan Piepenbring|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||27 June 2019|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 333 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
1 in 20th Century U.S. History
2 in Communication & Media Studies
2 in Murder True Crime
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Top reviews from Australia
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He's not the first author to go down this rabbit hole and come face to face with the nasty realisation that the American intelligence community more than likely has Sharon Tate and the other victims' blood on its hands. Dave McGowan, the author of Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon found the CIA's fingerprints all over the California free-love hippie movement of the 60s and implicates many of the biggest movie stars and music icons of the era as active participants or unwitting pawns in some very nasty business.
It's clear there's something deeper to the story behind Charles Manson, his followers and the horrible crimes they committed, but it's also clear that the cover up goes deep and we probably will never know the truth. Still, the author does an excellent job of taking the reader along with him as he falls down this rabbit hole and just keeps on falling, and falling, and falling. It's hard not to get angry at the deception and depth of the cover up that still goes on today and it's no wonder so many Americans don't trust their government or the agencies that are supposed to be protecting American interests. It's hard to fathom whose interest these organisations are actually protecting.
Twenty years is a long time to give your life over to researching the picked over bones of an old crime, but I'm glad the author stuck with it. I hope he keeps digging and looks into the Kennedy assassination, which for all intents and purposes appears to have undeniable links to a number of players investigated throughout this book.
The secrecy behind Manson's activities presents an opportunity to recreate of a confusing era. Confusion which was paralleled in other parts of the world also subsumed with Cold War paranoia.
The early part of the book drags a little as O'Neill gets bogged down in his investigation but Tom picks up the pace in the second half as he introduces more and more fascinating characters.
Tom loses a star only for failing to tie it all together at the end but then as he admits that would only take the focus away from all the unanswered questions...
Top reviews from other countries
Promises a lot but nothing new. Questions like why did a music producer claim to have only two meetings with Charlie when he was seen at four? The answer is either a wide ranging conspiracy involving the CIA, or the fact that nobody in their right mind wanted to admit having been associated with Charlie Manson any more than they had to when asked about him in the 70s.
MK-ULTRA and all that are dragged in to try to revive the corpse of this book but to no avail, yes Bugliosi was inaccurate in places, perhaps even self-servingly dishonest in his account, but this book is simply poor stuff and genuinely adds nothing.
It seems to have taken the author 10 years to write or something, chap could have built a 1/10 scale model of the Mayflower out of matchsticks in that time which would have been more worthwhile.
Don't waste ya hard earned shekels boys and girls.
I wasted a couple of weeks reading this book - there’s nothing of any value in it - it’s fantasy. If you want the definitive account of what happened, buy Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi.
The book is long, maybe to justify the decades of research going into it. The first half illustrates that the infamous Charles Manson, far from being an outlier, was one of many self-styled messiah characters who mingled liberally with Hollywood’s elite, including a close relationship with some of the Beach Boys.
The author’s investigative journalism uncovers more questions than answers, especially as numerous links are exposed to covert CIA operations in San Francisco during the hippy period.
Most surprising for me was the drawing out of similarities between the ‘psychedelic brainwashing’ techniques used by Manson to programmme his followers into committing the murders of Roman Polanski’s pregnant wife Sharon Tate and others, and those researched by the CIA under covert operation MK Ultra. More so when the same people crop up in the Manson investigation and that conspiracy, for which the head of the CIA was censured and sacked.
I learned so much about the political factors and forces at play during the swinging sixties from this book, and how a surface of ‘flower power’ and psychedelic music hid much darker forces at play.
A great piece of journalism which I would recommend to anyone wanting to learn more about this most interesting period of history.
In terms of proof, it gets as good as it can ever get - bar an official admission; but the age of congressional committees that managed to extract admissions seems long gone. And Manson died without revealing anything in this connection - not that I would believe he was necessarily aware what was going on with and around him.
So - great research. I could not put the book down - read it in one (long) sitting.
Chapeau bas to the author for bearing through those long 'conversations' with Bugliosi - not too surprising, there are other books revealing his less than innocent role in the case - but it must have been hard to just sit through the pompousness and diatribes.
I only regret that this book was not out by the time Peter Levenda finalized his Secret Forces -- it would have been a great contribution.