Chaos Lib/E: Charles Manson, the Cia, and the Secret History of the Sixties (Compact Disc)

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Chaos Lib/E: Charles Manson, the Cia, and the Secret History of the Sixties By Tom O'Neill, Dan Piepenbring (Contribution by), Kevin Stillwell (Read by) Cover Image
By Tom O'Neill, Dan Piepenbring (Contribution by), Kevin Stillwell (Read by)
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Staff Reviews

Tom O'Neill lost his way more than once during the writing of Chaos. What started as a small article for Premiere magazine in 1999 turned into a rabbit-hole-filled journey thourgh the seedy underworld of drug experiements, criminal gangs, sex trafficking, police corruption, and Hollywood hedonism.

No one wants to talk about it now. O'Neill couldn't get most movie stars within the Tate-Polanski circle to speak with him. Terry Melcher, son of Doris Day, and a music producer for the Beach Boys and the Byrds, is central to the story. He did speak with O'Neill, and the encounters are fascinating. Melcher knew Manson because Manson wanted a recording deal and knew a good connection when he saw one. No spoilers here.

The most compelling element of O'Neill's book is the document trail he establishes, It's a mountain, which prompted Joe Rogan, one of the most popular podcaster today to say of the book, "The juice is worth the squeeze." Throughout the book, O'Neill inadvertently at first proceeds to reduce the narrative that Vince Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter and prosecutor Manson and members of the Family. Bugliosi is one of several unusual, morally ambiguous character in Chaos.

O'Neill has performed a deconstruction of a case and a crime. What he found shook him. He questioned his sanity and feared for his life a few times. Part of the book that gives it a pulse is the author's uncertainty about where this evidence is leading him. Resistant to conspiracies, and even more so to "conspiracy theories," O'Neill bogged down several times as he missed deadline after deadline, even when he knew he was onto something.

Even revered filmmaker Errol Morris filmed a trailer for the book in O'Neill's office, with plans for a documentary. That didn't happen. Instead, Morris went on to release another CIA-MKULTRA-LSD-U.S. military series for Netflix entitled Wormwood about the death of scientist Frank Olsen.

A book with a slow burn, Chaos suggests that we don't know why those murders really happened and, even more unsettling, trying to unearth the truth unnerved the author, who becomes a character in the story, too. He's the reluctant, ambivalent hero. This is a Cold War story laced with the darkness of hippie culture and rolled into something that has mind-altering effects.

— Patricia


A journalist's twenty-year fascination with the Manson murders leads to shocking new revelations about the FBI's involvement in this riveting reassessment of an infamous case in American history.Over two grim nights in Los Angeles, the young followers of Charles Manson murdered seven people, including the actress Sharon Tate, then eight months pregnant. With no mercy and seemingly no motive, the Manson Family followed their leader's every order-their crimes lit a flame of paranoia across the nation, spelling the end of the sixties. Manson became one of history's most infamous criminals, his name forever attached to an era when charlatans mixed with prodigies, free love was as possible as brainwashing, and utopia-or dystopia-was just an acid trip away. Twenty years ago, when journalist Tom O'Neill was reporting a magazine piece about the murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Then he unearthed shocking evidence of a cover-up behind the official story, including police carelessness, legal misconduct, and potential surveillance by intelligence agents. When a tense interview with Vincent Bugliosi-prosecutor of the Manson Family, and author of Helter Skelter-turned a friendly source into a nemesis, O'Neill knew he was onto something. But every discovery brought more questions: Who were Manson's real friends in Hollywood, and how far would they go to hide their ties?Why didn't law enforcement, including Manson's own parole officer, act on their many chances to stop him?And how did Manson-an illiterate ex-con-turn a group of peaceful hippies into remorseless killers? O'Neill's quest for the truth led him from reclusive celebrities to seasoned spies, from San Francisco's summer of love to the shadowy sites of the CIA's mind-control experiments, on a trail rife with shady cover-ups and suspicious coincidences. The product of two decades of reporting, 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. This is a book that overturns our understanding of a pivotal time in American history.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781549125614
ISBN-10: 1549125613
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Publication Date: June 25th, 2019
Language: English