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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”Manson himself had a fondness for the same phrase: ‘I am the man in the mirror,’ he said. ‘Anything you see in me is in you, I am you, and when you can admit that you will be free.” Who is Charles Manson? This book began as a 5000 word piece for Premiere Magazine with the subject expected to be Manson and Hollywood. Tom O’Neill did not make that magazine deadline or even the deadline after that. His concept of the narrative and the research had grown well beyond the parameters of the original ”Manson himself had a fondness for the same phrase: ‘I am the man in the mirror,’ he said. ‘Anything you see in me is in you, I am you, and when you can admit that you will be free.” Who is Charles Manson? This book began as a 5000 word piece for Premiere Magazine with the subject expected to be Manson and Hollywood. Tom O’Neill did not make that magazine deadline or even the deadline after that. His concept of the narrative and the research had grown well beyond the parameters of the original story idea. The deeper he delved into Manson the more lines for further enquiry he discovered. What was supposed to be an assignment that would take a few weeks took two decades. It became an all consuming obsession. And here we are. Manson was famous for his ability to manipulate people into doing what he wanted. I still feel like he is doing that to us now. Every time I hear or see anything regarding Manson, my ears perk up. I know I’m not alone. A whole nation was rivetted to the events of the Tate-LaBianc murder trial. Even people who were born long after the events in 1969 are enthralled with the need to know why. Tom O’Neill became so caught up in researching Manson that he lost two decades of his life to the pursuit of the real truth. I definitely benefited from reading Helter Skelter before reading O’Neill’s book because of the time spent discussing the actual trial that is not covered as thoroughly in Chaos. O’Neill broke down what Vincent Bugliosi got right, uncovered some of what he suppressed, and dug into the vital information that Bugliosi never bothered to pursue. The truth proved elusive after so many years. Witnesses had died, memories had become faulty, and key people refused to talk about their role in what is looking like a much bigger conspiracy that goes well beyond murder. Now how could the CIA possibly be involved with Manson? I asked myself, was this on par with the conspiracy theories surrounding the Kennedy assassination? There were two secret missions one launched by the CIA, called Chaos, and the other by the FBI, called COINTELPRO. They had the same objective to infiltrate groups like the Black Panthers and actually incite violence to discredit the organization. If you remember, that was part of Manson’s supposed objective as well with the murders, to try and convince law enforcement that they were committed by the Black Panthers. There was another program launched by the CIA called MKULTRA which was exploring the effects of LSD and how it could lead to the creation of malleable assassins. They even had an operation called Midnight Climax which was bordellos set up in San Francisco for the explicit purpose of drugging johns with LSD to see how it affected them. So if you visited a brothel in San Francisco in the 1960s and had an experience unlike anything you’d ever encountered before, you very well might have been drugged by the CIA. I hope you had a good time anyway, but really, with all seriousness...what the frill? It isn’t even legal for the CIA to operate on American soil. There were a lot of government/private programs in San Francisco exploring the potential uses of LSD, and it was during that year that Manson spent in San Francisco that he became Manson the Guru, the grand manipulator. He dropped LSD for the first time and emerged from the experience a prophet. So how could he be so good at manipulating people, especially young women, into becoming mindless, murderous followers? Bugliosi notated.”It might be something he learned from others.” Could it even be conceivable that Manson was trained by the CIA as part of what should have been illegal programs? So why were Manson and many of his followers arrested many times over the months before the murder and simply turned loose? Was there a phone call? I just want to warn you that the revelations in this book are going to blow your mind without dropping LSD. There are peripheral, shadowy characters all around the events of the Manson murders. Terry Melcher, Doris Day’s son, had promised Manson a record deal and then reneged on it, or rather Doris said...hell, no. Melcher, fearing for his life, moved out of 10050 Cielo Drive rather abruptly but then visited Manson three times...wait for it...after the murders. He testified in court that he had not seen Manson after such and such a date, way before the murders. Okay, so let's just say there are holes in what we know about what really happened, large enough to drive a semi trailer through. How do we know what we know? Helter Skelter. Why are so many people still lying or unwilling to talk about what they know? Tom O’Neill dug up so many odd inconsistencies that it was only by Bugliosi keeping a firm control over what could and could not be discussed in the trial that all or some of the clandestine operations surrounding the murders did not come to light. They had their boogeyman, and he was a legitimate menace to society, and now all they needed to do was put him behind bars. All of America was now terrified of the hippy movement and of the potential for a race war. Ultimately at the end of the day no one wanted anything coming to light that would jeopardize prosecuting Manson. I don’t disagree with that being the primary objective because he was a true menace to society. It makes me nervous to think about the crimes behind the crimes. So yeah, O’Neill, with a preponderance of evidence has made me rethink everything I thought I knew about Manson, the murders, and the real motives behind everything. As if the Manson murders were not sensational enough, it was even more disturbing to discover the criminal behavior by our government that just happened to intersect with Charles Manson. It was simply unconscionable what the government was doing in the 1960s under the guise of insuring the well being of the American people. Through misinformation and misdirection, they created hate and misunderstanding that we are still dealing with today. Manson wasn’t the grand manipulator. The US government was the grand manipulator. ”’The sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969...The tension broke that day. The paranoia was fulfilled.’”---Joan Didion The White Album I want to thank Little, Brown for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at: https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    This was a wild ride. The author was assigned to write an article for Premier magazine about the effects the Manson murders had on the community for the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of the savagery. He spent the next two decades consumed by his investigations. This book is the result of his fixation. What he learned contradicted many things in Bugliosi’s bestselling Helter Skelter. On top of that, a lot of events and people were simply omitted from Helter Skelter and certainly weren’t included This was a wild ride. The author was assigned to write an article for Premier magazine about the effects the Manson murders had on the community for the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of the savagery. He spent the next two decades consumed by his investigations. This book is the result of his fixation. What he learned contradicted many things in Bugliosi’s bestselling Helter Skelter. On top of that, a lot of events and people were simply omitted from Helter Skelter and certainly weren’t included in the courtroom. So he went in search of what actually occurred. To use the vernacular of the time, what he found was mind-blowing. From judicial carelessness to CIA infiltration to FBI smear campaigns to LSD mind-control experiments; O’Neill found it all and then some. Is he a conspiracy theorist? I don’t think so but did he find out what really happened?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I wasn’t going to write a review for Chaos, but after reading some of the other negative reviews, I realized that people aren’t talking about the things that bothered me about this book, so here we are. This review is going to be long, but I don’t see how it can’t not be. If you don’t want to read the entire review and you just want my overall opinion of the book, skip to the last paragraph. Chaos had the potential to be a really good book. Helter Skelter is my favorite true crime book, and I was I wasn’t going to write a review for Chaos, but after reading some of the other negative reviews, I realized that people aren’t talking about the things that bothered me about this book, so here we are. This review is going to be long, but I don’t see how it can’t not be. If you don’t want to read the entire review and you just want my overall opinion of the book, skip to the last paragraph. Chaos had the potential to be a really good book. Helter Skelter is my favorite true crime book, and I was intrigued by the idea that the story Bugliosi presented isn’t the actual story. I was hoping that Tom O’Neill would examine the inconsistencies he found in Bugliosi’s book and present us with a solid alternative for what might have actually happened. Unfortunately, that’s not what Chaos does. Instead, Chaos is one part a research book about what might have actually happened in August 1969 and one part what happens to a person when an obsession consumes them for twenty years. Either of those stories, on their own, has the potential to be fascinating, but I think O’Neill made a mistake by trying to bring them together. I had so many problems with all the ideas O’Neill presented as alternatives to Bugliosi’s story, not because I don’t think there might be some truth so certain ideas, but because there were too many theories about what could have happened, and much of the information O’Neill gave us was based on circumstantial evidence (which he does admit to at one point in the book). Additionally, he tells us that he interviews someone who knew Manson and the Family, or who knew people who knew them, and he says they are credible sources, but he never explains what makes them credible sources. A person isn’t a credible source just because they happen to give the same story as another person who you also believe is a credible source. O’Neill should have provided us with solid reasons and credentials that made his sources credible, and he didn’t always do that. The sections about the CIA, CHAOS, COINTELPRO, etc. could have been interesting, but at times, they strayed too far away from the Manson narrative and became so convoluted that I had trouble following O’Neill’s train of thought. What I really take issue with in terms of O’Neill’s reporting, however, is this: early on in the book, he misquoted Helter Skelter. On page 116 of Chaos, O’Neill quotes this passage from Helter Skelter: “After Terry Melcher had moved out of the [Cielo Drive] residence, but before the Polanskis had moved in, Gregg Jakobson had arranged for a Dean Moorehouse to stay there for a brief period. During this time Tex Watson had visited Moorehouse at least three, and possibly as many as six, time.” O’Neill then goes on to say, “Emphasis mine. Something about that offhand phrasing—‘a Dean Moorehouse’—raised a red flag for me.” I decided to fact check the Helter Skelter passage O’Neill quoted. This passage is on page 496 of Helter Skelter, and here’s what it actually says: “Some months earlier I’d learned that after Terry Melcher had moved out of the residence, but before the Polanskis had moved in, Gregg Jackobson had arranged for Dean Moorehouse, Ruth Ann Moorehouse’s father, so stay there for a brief period. During this time Tex Watson had visited Moorehouse at least three, and possibly as many as six, times.” This time, the emphasis is mine, because I want it to be clear that not only did O’Neill add an extra word to the quote, he also left out key information about Dean Moorehouse being Ruth Ann Moorehouse’s father, which is important later on. It’s a small thing, but O’Neill adding an extra word, “a,” to the Helter Skelter passage is important because it’s the reason that phrase comes off as off-handed and raised a red flag for O’Neill—and O’Neill created that phrase, not Bugliosi. (Note: The edition of Helter Skelter that I used for fact-checking is the same edition O’Neill used.) This was the moment where I began to doubt O’Neill as a credible source. That, coupled with the lack of footnotes, was questionable for me. Yes, there are notes in the back of the book; however, there is nothing in that book that indicates what specific sentence or paragraph those notes tie back to, so readers have to do a little more work to look at the notes and figure out specifically what they reference. Additionally, I found at least one of the notes to be wrong, and this ties into O’Neill not properly quoting things. On page 369, O’Neill writes, “ ‘The most puzzling question of all,’ Bugliosi wrote, was how Manson had turned his docile followers into remorseful killers. Even with the LSD, the sex, the isolation, the sleep deprivation, the social abandonment, there had to be ‘some intangible quality. . .It may be something that he learned from others.’ Something he learned from others. Those had become the six most pivotal words in the book for me.” The notes in the back of Chaos attribute this information to page 626 of Helter Skelter, which reads, “How Manson gained control remains the most puzzling question of all.” The information that follows is the information O’Neill paraphrases about LSD, sex, isolation. etc.; however, unless I missed it despite reading this section of Helter Skelter three times, nowhere on page 626 does it say “It may have been something that he learned from others.” In fact, I read through page 628 and did not find that phrase at all, which makes me wonder: Where did O’Neill get that phrase? If he actually found it in Helter Skelter, why didn’t he cite the correct page number for it? I find it troubling that O’Neill misquotes Helter Skelter at least once (I couldn’t fact check every Helter Skelter passage that he quoted) and that he doesn’t correctly cite his sources. It makes me wonder what other sources and interviews he might have misquoted throughout his book; without access to O’Neill’s sources, O’Neill’s inability to use good footnotes, or the time, I am unable to do the fact checking this book requires. I want it be clear that I am not doubting Bugliosi might have intentionally presented misinformation in Helter Skelter, or that there is more the story than we will ever know. What I am doubting is O’Neill’s ability to be a credible, objective investigative reporter; throughout Chaos, he makes his dislike of Bugliosi abundantly clear, and it makes Chaos feel like a vendetta against Bugliosi as opposed to a careful and thoughtful investigative report of what might really have happened in 1969. TL;DR: Chaos had potential to be either a good examination of what really happened in 1969 or to be a study in what happens when someone is consumed by something for twenty years; instead, it’s a convoluted narrative that seems to be largely based on speculation and circumstantial evidence which may or may not come from credible sources, it feels like a vendetta against Bugliosi, and it is in dire need of editing (for length as well as grammatical errors and typos) as well as fact-checking, as I’m not convinced that O’Neill himself is a credible source. Only recommended for those who, like me, are fascinated with the Manson case and are willing to read anything and everything on it, but be aware that it’s a lengthy, tedious read that doesn’t deliver. Note: edited because I noticed a typo in my review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    GeneralTHC

    Stayed up all night reading this one. Without a doubt the most mind blowing book I've read in a while. I'm not sure what to believe now, but if this guy's even half sane the Charles Manson story is a much different story than we've all been led to believe. My mind is BLOWN. Stayed up all night reading this one. Without a doubt the most mind blowing book I've read in a while. I'm not sure what to believe now, but if this guy's even half sane the Charles Manson story is a much different story than we've all been led to believe. My mind is BLOWN.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    4.5 stars. This was wild. Makes me question Helter Skelter entirely!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    TERRY

    Tom O'Neill has done some serious research for his book and raises some good questions. But the book is very convoluted, full of theories and conjecture. Many of O'Neill's leads and theories were all over the place. I kept waiting for the aha moment to come as to what really happened in 1969. His dislike of Vincent Bugliosi is palpable. It was a tedious read for me. I received my copy through a Goodreads Giveaway for my honest review. Tom O'Neill has done some serious research for his book and raises some good questions. But the book is very convoluted, full of theories and conjecture. Many of O'Neill's leads and theories were all over the place. I kept waiting for the aha moment to come as to what really happened in 1969. His dislike of Vincent Bugliosi is palpable. It was a tedious read for me. I received my copy through a Goodreads Giveaway for my honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This book is nothing but bonkers conspiracy theories AND I LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Carbery

    Take a deep breath. Consider everything you think you know about the Manson Family. Breathe out. This book is one man's journey (one that absolutely consumed his life) to find the truth in the hazy pockets of the Manson trial. O'Neill takes his readers down plenty of rabbit holes based in his own suspicions and questions. Why is it that some major witnesses were not called to testify? How did a known convict slip through every possibly crack until it resulted in some of America's most famous and Take a deep breath. Consider everything you think you know about the Manson Family. Breathe out. This book is one man's journey (one that absolutely consumed his life) to find the truth in the hazy pockets of the Manson trial. O'Neill takes his readers down plenty of rabbit holes based in his own suspicions and questions. Why is it that some major witnesses were not called to testify? How did a known convict slip through every possibly crack until it resulted in some of America's most famous and graphic murders? How is it that stories that are forever changing and evolving not questioned by higher courts? Does Chaos dabble in conspiracy? A little bit. At times O'Neill walks the line between deep research and conjecture/pure speculation. That said, I don't think that he ever gives up his credibility. It is easy to read Chaos as a memoir of an obsession. O'Neill is candid about the way he lived his life while researching and the many hits he took along the way. That candor might be one of the most powerful parts of the book. In Manson we have a controlling and dangerous psychopath. In O'Neill we find someone under his spell but outside of his influence. If anything, this book is worth reading to experience the rich and often times scary lengths that O'Neill will go to find the answers he feels the world deserves.

  9. 5 out of 5

    David M

    New premise of epistemology: if the Lolita Express was real, then anything can be real. The Manson family as CIA op gone perfectly according to plan. Why not? ... Alright, so this has got to be the page-turner of the year, if not the page-turner of our still-young century... Then why not give it five stars out of five? Well, there’s also something deeply unsatisfying here. The book does a really excellent job punching holes in the official Bugliosi version of events (with certainty, we can say the New premise of epistemology: if the Lolita Express was real, then anything can be real. The Manson family as CIA op gone perfectly according to plan. Why not? ... Alright, so this has got to be the page-turner of the year, if not the page-turner of our still-young century... Then why not give it five stars out of five? Well, there’s also something deeply unsatisfying here. The book does a really excellent job punching holes in the official Bugliosi version of events (with certainty, we can say the man suborned perjury). When it comes to presenting a positive alternate theory, however, things get very very hairy... it’s not really a book about the CIA and the sixties so much as a memoir about the author’s own decades-long research and concomitant descent into paranoia/quasi-madness, but even there I can’t help thinking there’s something slightly off. I mean, why would a professional writer need a credited coauthor to write his own memoirs? ... O’Neill himself agrees that his research is inconclusive. We still don’t know nearly enough about CHAOS and MKULTRA. May this book spur further interest and research.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    In 1999 "Premier Magazine" asked free lance writer Tom O’Neill to write a 30 year commemorative article on the Tate-LaBianca murders. The article was expected to cover the murder’s impact on individuals and Hollywood in general. O’Neill takes the reader along with him on this project that wound up enveloping him for 20 years. Most people, particularly celebrities, like to see their name in print, so landing interviews was expected to be easy. O’Neill not only got a cold shoulder from friends and In 1999 "Premier Magazine" asked free lance writer Tom O’Neill to write a 30 year commemorative article on the Tate-LaBianca murders. The article was expected to cover the murder’s impact on individuals and Hollywood in general. O’Neill takes the reader along with him on this project that wound up enveloping him for 20 years. Most people, particularly celebrities, like to see their name in print, so landing interviews was expected to be easy. O’Neill not only got a cold shoulder from friends and neighbors of the victims, he also found police and judicial records sealed or missing. Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi wanted him to stop and threatened to ruin his reputation, and sue him and his publisher. The book does not dispute the guilt of Manson and his family but uncovers a trove of negligent police work, fishy cover stories, missing evidence and perjury. The back story has a cast of enablers who may or may not be criminally liable and sheds some light on "why". Here are a few of the many intriguing characters for whom O’Neill provides well documented stories. - Reeve Whitson – made the first call from the Tate house – before the news of the murders was out. Who was he? Why was he there? Why was he not interviewed? - Dr. Louis Jolly West, David Smith and Roger Smith all operated “clinics” in San Francisco where Manson and his family hung out. The clinics were actually fronts for these men who researched LSD and other drugs. O’Neill digests their applicable research and interviews them. He documents how all three were associated with COINTELPRO and/or MKULTR.A, CIA drug and mind control experiments. - Roger Smith – The drug researcher above was also Manson’s parole officer prior to the murders. He sat by as Manson violated his parole many times (drugs, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, auto theft, etc) was caught and released to the chagrin of the arresting officers (Who is Manson’s godfather?). Susan Atkins has “catch and release” experiences too. Smith approved a questionable trip to Mexico and took in Manson’s baby with Mary Brunner. If all that isn’t questionable enough, Manson was his only parolee. There are plenty of fishy side stories. These are the most curious for me: - It's not surprising that Terry Melcher and Brian Wilson would distance themselves from Manson after the murders, but O’Neill exposes the legal issues of, for instance, Melchor’s claim that he never saw Manson after the murders. - Why is Larry Schiller allowed to interview Susan Alkins and publish a pre-trial book despite the gag order? Note, Schiller was granted similar and questionable access to Jack Ruby. - Why is Vincent Bugliosi so apoplectic? I was surprised about his back-stories (the revenge on the milkman!) but his frequent harassment of the writer hints of something deeper than the gaps in the testimony O'Neill showed him. - Why was Paul Dostie's dig for more bodies curtailed? The documentation presented and the record of how difficult it was to get, even on simple matters such as Manson’s parole violations, the identity of Reeve Whitson and the “free clinics” in Haight-Ashbury, on their own are significant. While this is a research project, it does not have that feel. O’Neil’s chronological approach has you traveling alongside him as he follows leads. If you are interested in this time in history and read this, you will find yourself as engrossed in it as the author was in producing it..

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    This is less an account of the Manson murders and more an exploration of journalist, Tom O’Neill’s, obsessive hunt for the truth about the investigation and the outcome of the trial. Like many others, I have read, “Helter Skelter,” which I loved by the way, and which I thought was the definitive book on this crime. To begin with, O’Neill has no real interest in the crimes, but, when he is asked to do a piece for an anniversary of the crimes, he begins to investigate and to meet inconsistencies. I This is less an account of the Manson murders and more an exploration of journalist, Tom O’Neill’s, obsessive hunt for the truth about the investigation and the outcome of the trial. Like many others, I have read, “Helter Skelter,” which I loved by the way, and which I thought was the definitive book on this crime. To begin with, O’Neill has no real interest in the crimes, but, when he is asked to do a piece for an anniversary of the crimes, he begins to investigate and to meet inconsistencies. If you like conspiracy theories, you will love this. It has everything from CIA experiments with LSD, through links to the JFK assassination, run-ins with Vincent Bugliosi, who felt his reputation was being tarnished, the Black Panthers, FBI operations, bizarre happenings and dodgy dealings… O’Neill suggests that Bugliosi having the final word has led to much of what we accept as fact, actually being fiction and takes us back to 1968, with the stories of those involved at the time and Bugliosi on, ‘a thirty year victory lap.’ There is too much in this book to go into, but some of the more compelling parts of the narrative around the crimes, include Terry Melcher being much closer with Manson than it previously appeared; the implication being that Bugliosi had protected him. Neil Young was one of the few people around at that time who did admit to having met Manson, while many others developed selective memories around that time. There was very odd behaviour from parole officers. Indeed, Manson’s parole officer even cared for his baby at one point and both Manson, and members of the Family, seemed to end back on the street when they had broken parole regulations. So, among these shocking drug experiments, and the infiltration of subversive groups, the actual state of Sharon Tate’s marriage and behaviour of those living at Cielo Drive, O’Neill uncovers a vast array of information and lays it out. There is an exhaustive amount of evidence, and this is, at times, something of an exhausting read. It got a little bogged down in the middle, although O’Neill is compelling and persuasive. I am glad I read this, but must admit that I still have a soft spot for “Helter Skelter,” and it will be hard to replace that account as the definitive book on the crimes, even if this does make you question aspects of the true crime classic.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    Reading this book made me feel like a legit conspiracy theorist It is by nature kind of a frustrating book to read because so much of it is investigating dead leads or pieces of evidence that were ultimately destroyed? It gives you a real sense of how the 20 years of research involved made Tom O'Neill feel like he was losing it... Reading this definitely convinced me that the CIA in the 60s was WACK (as it probably is now...) but O'Neill doesn't have enough information to make any clear conclusion Reading this book made me feel like a legit conspiracy theorist It is by nature kind of a frustrating book to read because so much of it is investigating dead leads or pieces of evidence that were ultimately destroyed? It gives you a real sense of how the 20 years of research involved made Tom O'Neill feel like he was losing it... Reading this definitely convinced me that the CIA in the 60s was WACK (as it probably is now...) but O'Neill doesn't have enough information to make any clear conclusions. Which, I respect him for not exaggerating or drawing any false conclusions but it's also kind of unsatisfying to read a book whose conclusion is kind of just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess I'd really only recommend this if you're really into like the grunt work of true crime investigations and/or Charles Manson?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    Holy cow, that was a RIDE. Like any good conspiracy/hidden history book, ultimately there’s no answer and Tom O’Neill doesn’t claim to have one. But he spent twenty years uncovering a ridiculous number of threads, suppressed evidence, lies officially stamped by law enforcement, and outright prosecutorial misconduct and suborning perjury at Vincent Bugliosi’s hands. There’s a lot here to shock and delight any fan of conspiracies in history. As an aside, if you’ve read David McGowan’s Weird Scenes Holy cow, that was a RIDE. Like any good conspiracy/hidden history book, ultimately there’s no answer and Tom O’Neill doesn’t claim to have one. But he spent twenty years uncovering a ridiculous number of threads, suppressed evidence, lies officially stamped by law enforcement, and outright prosecutorial misconduct and suborning perjury at Vincent Bugliosi’s hands. There’s a lot here to shock and delight any fan of conspiracies in history. As an aside, if you’ve read David McGowan’s Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, CHAOS is a great companion piece to it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    If you've ever read Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi then, like me, you probably thought you had read the definitive account of the infamous murders. Manson intended that the murders would incite a race war and he singled out Sharon Tate's home, scene of the most infamous murders, to intimidate ex-resident Terry Melcher, who had reneged on a record deal for Manson, right? Apparently not. It turns out that Vincent Bugliosi employed a selective approach to t If you've ever read Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi then, like me, you probably thought you had read the definitive account of the infamous murders. Manson intended that the murders would incite a race war and he singled out Sharon Tate's home, scene of the most infamous murders, to intimidate ex-resident Terry Melcher, who had reneged on a record deal for Manson, right? Apparently not. It turns out that Vincent Bugliosi employed a selective approach to the evidence, ignoring those parts that didn't suit his narrative. He even deliberately hid some aspects from the defence, and convinced witnesses to perjure themselves. Later on in Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties we also discover that Vincent Bugliosi was a very nasty piece of work. At their final encounter, Bugliosi threatens to sue the impoverished O’Neill for a hundred million dollars and to smear him as a gay paedophile. Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA and the Secret History of the Sixties is an account of Tom O'Neill's 20 year obsession with the Manson case. He was originally commissioned to write a magazine article in 1999 to coincide with the 30 year anniversary of the murders. He never managed to write the article and, instead, the quest to try to get to the truth took over his life. Tom O'Neill's obsession is a hell of a ride through the fear and loathing of the era. It takes in the FBI's COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Programme) operations, the Black Panthers, the CIA's CHAOS programme, judges and probation officers repeatedly allowing parolee Manson to remain on the street, Project MKUltra, the Beach Boys, Terry Melcher (Doris Day's son), Dr. Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West (a CIA scientist who killed an elephant called Tusko by injecting it with 1,400 times the dosage of acid that produces “marked mental disturbance” in humans), a CIA funded hippy crash pad in San Francisco, and much more including, almost inevitably, the JFK assassination. The things that some US authorities were up to during this era is jaw dropping. Arguably Tom O'Neill is as obsessive as the characters he chronicles. Needless to say he is unable to offer a neat solution to the murders and, instead, we are left with lots of fascinating questions. If you like True Crime, and the darker highways and byways of America's surveillance and control of their own population, then this is highly recommended. 5/5 A journalist's twenty-year obsession with the Manson murders brings shocking revelations about one of 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 thirtieth anniversary of the Manson murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Weren't the facts indisputable? Charles Manson had ordered his young 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, 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 twenty-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, including Manson's own parole officer, 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 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. 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 sixties: when charlatans mixed with prodigies, free love was as possible as brainwashing, and utopia-or dystopia-was just an acid trip away.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Space

    A tedious read, full of speculation and discoveries that reveal not much of anything. For a book about Manson there is surprisingly little about Manson or the Manson Family. Tom O’Neil writes that he interviewed 1000 people for the book, which is a shocking number considering no one who was actually a part of the Manson Family appears in the book! I don’t know if they wouldn’t talk to him, or he couldn’t find them, but O’Neil spends a lot of time describing his search for primary sources (lawyer A tedious read, full of speculation and discoveries that reveal not much of anything. For a book about Manson there is surprisingly little about Manson or the Manson Family. Tom O’Neil writes that he interviewed 1000 people for the book, which is a shocking number considering no one who was actually a part of the Manson Family appears in the book! I don’t know if they wouldn’t talk to him, or he couldn’t find them, but O’Neil spends a lot of time describing his search for primary sources (lawyers and cops) yet he doesn’t seem interested in the Family themselves. O’Neil makes big claims based on poor evidence and seems fond of unreliable sources. As a reader it was hard I stay with his enthusiasm for his own process. I found the character assassination of the victims to be unnecessary and exploitive, and ultimately added nothing to O’Neil’s search for the truth (which he never finds).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    At the beginning of Hearts of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola at the Cannes Film Festival says "My film is not a movie. My film is not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam." Tom O'Neill's Chaos is not a true-crime thriller. His book is not about Chaos. It is Chaos. And as I loved Apocalypse Now, I loved Chaos. It is the story of every rabbit hole you've ever fallen down, every time you think you can see the truth but can't find the missing piece to prove it, every hunch you've followed, every time you've b At the beginning of Hearts of Darkness, Francis Ford Coppola at the Cannes Film Festival says "My film is not a movie. My film is not about Vietnam. It is Vietnam." Tom O'Neill's Chaos is not a true-crime thriller. His book is not about Chaos. It is Chaos. And as I loved Apocalypse Now, I loved Chaos. It is the story of every rabbit hole you've ever fallen down, every time you think you can see the truth but can't find the missing piece to prove it, every hunch you've followed, every time you've been spooked by a strange glance, thought you were being followed, and if you're me, every hour you spent scrutinizing the death of Jeffrey Epstein. As for the ostensible subject? I know more about Manson, and therefore know less about Manson. I enjoyed the path to that void.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fishface

    What can I make of this? This book goes off in so many directions and doesn't really end up anywhere, really. The author raises a lot of excellent questions, answers a handful of them, but never in a totally satisfying way because of all the long detours into other areas, some of which I can only describe as red herrings, like the trip down the rabbit hole that is the Kennedy assassination. It was interesting of course, but what does it have to do with the Manson family? He didn't even fully expl What can I make of this? This book goes off in so many directions and doesn't really end up anywhere, really. The author raises a lot of excellent questions, answers a handful of them, but never in a totally satisfying way because of all the long detours into other areas, some of which I can only describe as red herrings, like the trip down the rabbit hole that is the Kennedy assassination. It was interesting of course, but what does it have to do with the Manson family? He didn't even fully explain what Bugliosi was so mad at him about. I'm not sorry I read it, but...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christina Ellsberg

    Absolutely one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. I was up until 4 am several nights because I couldn’t put it down. Thorough, intricate, and utterly riveting. I am impressed and horrified by the work that went into this account.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gram

    The title of this book is misleading. Although Charles Manson and the reasons for the horrific murders his followers carried out on his orders is described in detail, large parts of the story are merely a regurgitation of facts already known about the 1960's, such as the CIA's "Operation CHAOS" and FBI's Cointelpro - aimed at disrupting and discrediting various protest organisations of the time, the incredible tale of Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West - a noted psychiatrist who was involved the CIA's mi The title of this book is misleading. Although Charles Manson and the reasons for the horrific murders his followers carried out on his orders is described in detail, large parts of the story are merely a regurgitation of facts already known about the 1960's, such as the CIA's "Operation CHAOS" and FBI's Cointelpro - aimed at disrupting and discrediting various protest organisations of the time, the incredible tale of Louis Jolyon "Jolly" West - a noted psychiatrist who was involved the CIA's mind control program, Project MKUltra and who may possibly have met Charles Manson because he was in San Francisco at the same time as the cult leader. O'Neill even ventures into the murky world of the multitude of conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and provides a wealth of detail about various counterculture events which shaped the latter half of the 1960's. The author's scattergun approach to reporting becomes steadily more wearing and having waded through three quarters of this book, I found myself skipping pages in a bid to finish what had become a tedious job of trying to give a comprehensive review O'Neill's work. He admits that his investigation became an obsession with 190 volumes of notes on witness interviews and thousands of legal documents he studied over a 20 year period. One the plus side, he does reveal many discrepancies surrounding the trial of Charles Manson and "The Family" as his followers were known. For example, Shahrokh Hatami, personal photographer to the murder victim, actress Sharon Tate, tells O’Neill that he learned of the murders by telephone, from an an alleged intelligence agent named Reeve Whitson, 90 minutes before the police were called to the murder scene. Hatami - an Iranian immigrant - alleges that Whitson and prosecution attorney Vincent Bugliosi then coerced his testimony by threatening him with deportation. A deputy District Attorney discloses that was ordered to ensure Manson’s name did not come up in evidence in the murder trial of Bobby Beausoleil several weeks before Manson was implicated in the Tate-La Bianca killings. Beausoleil was found guilty of the murder of his friend Gary Hinman, an associate of Manson who, Manson claimed, had stolen money from him. He also uncovers interviews with witnesses that were withheld from Manson's defence lawyers and statements from Los Angeles police detectives who insist that vital evidence in the case was destroyed. I believe this book would be a far better read if it had been properly edited to remove some of the blind alleys which O'Neill drags the reader down and many of the pointless interviews with witnesses who contradict his allegations or can't remember events from 40 or 50 years ago. The author also seems to have some sort of vendetta against prosecutor Bugliosi who wrote a book, "Helter Skelter" about the Manson Family murders which became the best selling true crime book of all time. To be fair, O'Neill does show up many glaring deficiencies in the prosecution case as well as puzzling failures of police and social workers to have Manson returned to jail after he committed several criminal acts while on probation. For anyone who has no knowledge of Charles Manson, the Tate-La Bianca murders, various conspiracy theories and the drug culture and sexual mores of the 1960's, "Chaos" would be a good place to start. But the book is still far too long and, despite O'Neill's best efforts, there's no satisfactory conclusion to his investigation.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    before I can even consider posting about this book, I need to sort out all of the different threads explored here. Let's just say that the large-sized Moleskine notebooks I used were a blessing. It was not an easy book to put down, that's for sure. More to come. before I can even consider posting about this book, I need to sort out all of the different threads explored here. Let's just say that the large-sized Moleskine notebooks I used were a blessing. It was not an easy book to put down, that's for sure. More to come.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I'll read just about anything on Manson but this, sadly, was just as the title implied -- chaos. I'll read just about anything on Manson but this, sadly, was just as the title implied -- chaos.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

    Pretty wild.

  23. 4 out of 5

    John Katsanakis

    The first thing you should know about this book is that it’s less a conspiracy theory tome and more a narrative following the author’s 20 year investigation— and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all the better for this. Author O’Neill freely admits when he hit a dead end or failed to prove something. What he is able to prove is exciting and interesting enough, but what kept me hooked throughout was following his journey. If you’re coming into this book expecting to find a new mind blowing conspira The first thing you should know about this book is that it’s less a conspiracy theory tome and more a narrative following the author’s 20 year investigation— and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s all the better for this. Author O’Neill freely admits when he hit a dead end or failed to prove something. What he is able to prove is exciting and interesting enough, but what kept me hooked throughout was following his journey. If you’re coming into this book expecting to find a new mind blowing conspiracy, look elsewhere. This is closer in nature to the recent movie, Spotlight. Highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Amia

    This was just a book of rumors and a guy with too much time on his hands.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Hill

    What an interesting and thought provoking book. It really does make one wonder just what lies we get told. Thank you Tom for this great book!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I view conspiracy theories the same way agnostics view God: if a conspiracy existed, it would have to be quite large and involve an incredible amount of competent people who are both good and lucky and have incentives to keep their mouths shut. Thus, that makes conspiracies unlikely…but not impossible. I don’t submit to 9/11 conspiracy theories but even now, I still can’t fully accept that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman. I don’t know. Anyway, rather than playing with just one conspiracy, Tom I view conspiracy theories the same way agnostics view God: if a conspiracy existed, it would have to be quite large and involve an incredible amount of competent people who are both good and lucky and have incentives to keep their mouths shut. Thus, that makes conspiracies unlikely…but not impossible. I don’t submit to 9/11 conspiracy theories but even now, I still can’t fully accept that Lee Harvey Oswald was a lone gunman. I don’t know. Anyway, rather than playing with just one conspiracy, Tom O’Neill (with an assist from Dan Piepenbring) decides to dangle the loose threads surrounding the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders rather than try and wrap them up. I appreciated that. There’s no unifying alternate theory presented for why Manson’s “family” committed those horribly gruesome crimes. Rather, you see all the problems with Vincent Bugliosi’s narrative about the killers being brainwashed hippies who were rebelling against society in an evil fashion. I know very little about the Manson murders. I tried to read Helter Skelter but couldn’t get over Bugliosi’s obnoxious self-aggrandizing (same problem with On Such A Full Sea). I also don’t have a fascination with 60s counterculture. So this really isn’t in my wheelhouse. However, I’m going to see Quentin Tarantino’s new movie this Friday, which is set against the background of late-60s Hollywood and features Manson and his followers. Therefore, I decided to learn more through this book. O’Neill (and Piepenbring) aren’t the best writers: the book has typos, grammar issues, and glaring factual inaccuracies. It also leans heavily on conjecture, to the point where every time O’Neill reveals something, he’s practically nudging me with his elbow going “Eh? Eh? Pretty fishy, eh?” Also, O’Neill overlooks the bigger problem with prosecuting Manson and his comrades: it’s not that Bugliosi had a narrative. It’s that in our criminal justice system, you need to have a narrative in order to prosecute a case. That’s part of the reason why our system needs a massive overhaul. He brandishes these tidbits that show Bugliosi suppressed evidence or ignored it altogether. I guess I was supposed to be more surprised than I was? Perhaps I’m too cynical, but just about every prosecutor does that. Now the bigger question is to why. O’Neill posits that Manson skated on his parole and was allowed to live freely despite spending large parts of his life in prison because he was perhaps protected. By who? We don’t know, though there’s a lot of suspicion that the government had something to do with it. That could be the case but I don’t know. I think it was a combination of lack of resources combined with primitive technology and a general indifference. Anytime there’s a murder outside of the typical “person closest to the victim” sphere, you could look at so many things and wonder why the big picture doesn’t always add up. It frightens us that there might not be a reason, or that the reason may be flimsy at best. To me, it’s just a sign of our animalistic nature. Who knows what the heck compelled the Mansonites to kill those people. I could believe LSD-inspired brainwashing. I could believe something else. People often get their motivations from their environments. I actually think the title is more apt than O’Neill allows it to be. Our 50-year saga of processing the 60s has always been looking for reasons as to why things happen. Rarely do we admit how close we are to chaos. Whatever the case may be, this book is eminently readable and if you like reading about the Manson murders or conspiracy theories, you should check it out.

  27. 5 out of 5

    britt_brooke

    O’Neill, a journalist who became obsessed with the Manson murders, lays out his decades of research and theories. There are a few tangents, but A LOT of interesting food for thought. If you’ve read Helter Skelter, you’ll probably want to check this out. He’s certainly no fan of Bulgiosi and his well-spun story. This was a goddamned trip!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cav

    Wow, this one was intense. It got off to a bit of a slow start, and then really hit its stride in the second half. I had mixed feelings about starting this one after reading some of the reviews here. I first heard about it from the Joe Rogan podcast. Author Tom O'Neill takes a deep dive here; taking the reader through a whirlwind tour of the topics listed in the subtitle. I'm not sure really where to begin with this one... The book begins with a re-telling of the murders at the Tate household, Wow, this one was intense. It got off to a bit of a slow start, and then really hit its stride in the second half. I had mixed feelings about starting this one after reading some of the reviews here. I first heard about it from the Joe Rogan podcast. Author Tom O'Neill takes a deep dive here; taking the reader through a whirlwind tour of the topics listed in the subtitle. I'm not sure really where to begin with this one... The book begins with a re-telling of the murders at the Tate household, on August 8–9, 1969. O'Neill then examines Manson, his followers, their subsequent trial, and begins to take the reader "down the rabbit hole". The book poses a very important question: How did Manson manage to create a cult of loyal followers that would apparently murder on command? As well - what were the motives for the killings? Author O'Neill mentions that he and Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders author Vincent Bugliosi had become adversaries, as O'Neill's research put him into direct conflict with Bugliosi's account in Helter Skelter. The later part of the book takes the reader much farther down the rabbit hole, and the pace really picks up. O'Neill ties many things iconically 60's to the Manson murders: LSD, the CIA, the assassination of both JFK and suspect Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. Chaos also dives into the once-classified CIA programs of COINTELPRO and MKULTRA. This is one hell of a story, and it made for a very interesting read. The writing here is very good; author O'Neill knows how to tell an engaging story. He spent 20 years (by his account) working on Chaos and the stories it covers. It took so long that the original publisher, Penguin Books, pulled out in 2011. Chaos is a powerhouse of a book that chronicles literal reams of research, notes, interviews, timelines, connections, etc. I was not sure what to expect from this one, and I have to say that I did ultimately end up really enjoying it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested. 5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rennie

    This was...quite the wild ride. I don't have a single hoot to give about Charles Manson, the 60s counterculture, any of that. They're just not stories that are interesting to me. But despite that, I loved reading this. It's a million kinds of crazy, but not quite as nuts as you might immediately think seeing Charles Manson and the CIA in the same subtitle. It has always seemed that as batshit as he is, tiny, grimy career criminal Charles Manson on his own was kind of unlikely to have wielded so m This was...quite the wild ride. I don't have a single hoot to give about Charles Manson, the 60s counterculture, any of that. They're just not stories that are interesting to me. But despite that, I loved reading this. It's a million kinds of crazy, but not quite as nuts as you might immediately think seeing Charles Manson and the CIA in the same subtitle. It has always seemed that as batshit as he is, tiny, grimy career criminal Charles Manson on his own was kind of unlikely to have wielded so much power and influence over his followers, enough to turn a bunch of hippie girls into vicious murderers. Something is missing there; even considering the drug use, it just doesn't quite add up. That is...unless...*eNtEr ThE CiA* There's a lot going on here -- Black Panthers, a parole officer who took care of Manson's baby (!), the CIA operations CHAOS, COINTELPRO, and MKULTRA, corrupt police and corrupter Vincent Bugliosi, and so much more. I'm not sure what to believe, but I have to admit he's got the receipts to back up that things happened, went missing, were lied about. But as many oddities and questions as this raises (and in DECADES of journalist O'Neill obsessively working on it, they are many) they mostly all eventually dead-end. Which, you could argue, of course they would because people carefully, thoroughly made sure of it. What's most convincing is the supporting evidence of what we know for sure, like that the CIA was very interested in the possibility of using LSD for mind control and really did conduct different experiments on sometimes unwitting participants to try to achieve it. This was coupled with a fervent government desire to stamp out Communism and any threatening left-wing elements as thoroughly as possible, and a pivotal event in doing that would be to symbolically end the 60s by showing how dangerous hippies and their philosophies could actually be. Which is what the Tate-LaBianca murders did. That's the tip of the iceberg, and it's a hell of a big iceberg. It's definitely one of the smartest, best researched, and least kooky arguments for a wild set of conspiracy theories I've ever read. Something else nefarious, or multiple things nefarious, were definitely afoot, that much is undeniable, whether you buy this thing whole-hog or not.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janice Lombardo

    Intense and thorough research into to 60's and 70's. Since I was in college in the 60's - I found this read extremely interesting! Fascinating - yet this book opens up even more avenues to question. I read Helter Skelter decades ago, as did my mom and my friends. However, that book pales in comparison to Tom O'Neill's CHAOS. A poignant story of the Manson Murders. Also includes the Manson Family, JFK assassination, Black Panthers, Jolly Wes,t Haight-Asbury, the FBI, and so much more. I enjoyed th Intense and thorough research into to 60's and 70's. Since I was in college in the 60's - I found this read extremely interesting! Fascinating - yet this book opens up even more avenues to question. I read Helter Skelter decades ago, as did my mom and my friends. However, that book pales in comparison to Tom O'Neill's CHAOS. A poignant story of the Manson Murders. Also includes the Manson Family, JFK assassination, Black Panthers, Jolly Wes,t Haight-Asbury, the FBI, and so much more. I enjoyed this book and read furiously. The only question I have is: why not publish SOMETHING sooner since Tom was indeed that low on money at the time? This book involves an intricate look into the fascinating 60's and 70's that is truly invaluable! MANY thanks to Little, Brown, and Company - Hachette Book Group & NetGalley!

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