Book Review: Hunting Charles Manson

06.05.2018 | Thomas Nelson
Rating: 3/5 stars


You’ve likely heard the name Charles Manson, but are you familiar with why he’s so notorious? Lis Wiehl has put together a compilation of archival research and personal interviews, including a glimpse into the Manson Family parole hearings, to provide a factual account of Manson’s crimes.

In the late summer of 1969 the Los Angeles area was put into a state of terror after a series of gruesome murders. Newspapers and television programs couldn’t stop covering the stories of these victims. Law enforcement faced immense pressure to catch the killer behind these crimes. Ultimately they ended up arresting Charles Manson and the members of his cult-like group known as the Manson Family. What brought these people to kill?


The story of Charles Manson and his followers is one that has captivated generations. I was aware of quite a bit about Manson and his crimes before starting this book, but I certainly wouldn’t call myself overly knowledge about this true crime case.

Wiehl immediately takes the reader into the crimes that made Manson infamous. From there she moves on to digging into Manson’s past, the formation of the Family, back to the crimes, and a first row seat at the trials. The shift from the crimes to the past was a bit abrupt for me and I think I would have actually appreciated starting in Manson’s early years first. I recently read THE STRANGER BESIDE ME by Ann Rule and thought that when she laid out Bundy’s life and crimes in this manner I was able to grasp a better understanding of his motivations and actions.


I found HUNTING CHARLES MANSON to be quite informative for such a short book. There are certainly areas that I felt could have been expanded on, however, I think Wiehl’s motivation was to be concise and not focus on speculation. I think this book works for a novice looking to learn more about Charles Manson, but likely wouldn’t provide someone more knowledgeable any new insight. I’ll certainly be carrying on my Manson journey and plan to pick up HELTER SKELTER later this year!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: A huge thank you to Nelson Books for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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