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Charlie on Demand: 10 Things to Read, Watch and Hear on Charles Manson

From a 12-part podcast to a stop-motion indie musical, the ways to learn about the infamous cult killings – from a safe distance

Charles Manson 10 books to read

Charles Manson is escorted to his arraignment on conspiracy-murder charges in connection with the Sharon Tate murder case in 1969 in Los Angeles.


In August 1969, Charles Manson brought the free-wheeling 1960s to a halt. This was Charlie Manson's America now, where doe-eyed, long-haired women who sang promises of peace and love could turn around and decapitate a famous Hollywood actress and stab her friends and unborn child to death. Almost 50 years later, Manson's place in pop culture remains larger than life. Even after he dies, the public's obsession will return in waves, with every new book, film, conspiracy theory or development in the case. But as the Manson family legend lives on in books and movies, their victims remain dead inside the myth. Here, 10 unique ways the family's story has been told, each an attempt to make sense of one of the most unbelievable nights in American history.

Manson’s Lost Girls Charles Manson

James Dittiger/Everett

‘Manson’s Lost Girls’ on Lifetime

The Manson story as only Lifetime could tell it. Visually, Manson’s Lost Girls is a lot closer to 2016 than 1969, but still, the story plays directly into the same romantic notions of the Manson girls that inspired Emma Cline to write The Girls. Told from the perspective of Linda Kasabian, who fled the Manson family just before the first round of slayings, she meets the family after she's fallen on hard times and they take her in. The party scenes have a flower-crowned likeness to Coachella, but it does successfully portray the excitement, adventure, and awe that inspired countless young women to leave home and run away with the man they called Charlie. The drug-induced warmth and sense of invincibility work to rationalize Linda Kasabian and the rest of the girls falling under the spell the same psychopath they would eventually learn to regret ever meeting. 

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