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.
About the Author
Tom O'Neill is an award-winning investigative journalist and entertainment reporter whose work has appeared in national publications such as Us, Premiere, New York, The Village Voice and Details.He graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and currently resides in Venice, CA.
"Whatever you think you know about the Manson murders is
wrong. Just flat out wrong. Tom O'Neill's twenty years of
meticulous research has unearthed revelations about the murders, the murderers,
the prosecutors who tried them and a rogues gallery of cops, drug
dealers, bent doctors, famous celebrities, grotesque government
research, secret agents and shadowy figures in a conspiracy/cover up
so sweeping and bizarre, you'll be as astounded as you are terrified. If your
friends call you paranoid, maybe they're just ignorant."—Joe Ide, author of IQ and Wrecked
stuff. A dazzling and compellingly obsessed journalistic detective story that
invites you down the rabbit-hole to a sex, drugs, and celebrity-serial-killer
America. O'Neill's sunk decades into uncovering something far freakier than Helter Skelter ever admitted. Buckle up kids, this is true crime at its
truest and most compelling."—Charles Graeber, Executive Producer of The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann and New York Times bestselling author of The Good Nurse
"Fans of conspiracy theories will find this a source of
skillful accumulation of facts, untainted by bluffery, is a victory for honest
discourse ... The discoveries that O'Neill has shared with the world-about lies,
suppressions, and conflicts of interest-should scare the hell out of us."—Sean Howe, Bookforum
investigative work ... An excellent work of investigative journalism proving the
'true story' is not always the truth."—Library Journal
"Riveting ... True
crime fans will be enthralled."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
What if everything we thought we knew about the Manson murders was
wrong? O'Neill spent 20 years wrestling with that question, and Chaos is his final
answer. Timed to the 50th anniversary of the Manson murders, it's a sweeping
indictment of the Los Angeles justice system, with cover-ups reaching all the
way up to the FBI and CIA—Entertainment Weekly