Jeff Guinn’s biography, Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson is now out in paperback. Guinn’s book has new information about Manson’s upbringing and how Manson came to San Francisco in 1967, after serving time in prison, and used what he learned from pimps, the Bible, Scientology and ’60s counterculture to attract followers — mostly young women — and teach them to follow and fear him.
In the interview Guinn explains his method of writing history:
"What I do in all of my nonfiction books is I try to pick an era in American history that I want to write about. Once I pick that era, then I try to find some iconic individual or event. The theme, the theory behind all my books, is that history doesn’t happen in a vacuum. So I look for interesting times in our nation’s history, when all of the different threads of things would come together to make one moment possible, be it a wonderful moment, be it something horrific like the Tate … murders. But really, the purpose of the book is to, through Charlie Manson, show the context of the 1960s."
Charles Manson Photo: Michael Ochs Archives