'The White Album' by Joan Didion
No one describes the cultural reverberations of the Manson murders as acutely as Joan Didion in her 1979 essay "The White Album." She definitively marks August 9th, 1969 as the end of the decade and carefully explores the enduring sense of unease settled over California. The most directly Manson-related parts of the award-winning essay come from Didion's prison meetings with Linda Kasabian, who famously went on to testify against Charles Manson and family. She recalls picking out a dress for Kasabian in Beverly Hills to wear to deliver a testimony. The former Manson girl had requested a short velvet dress in emerald green, because defense attorney Vincent Bugliosi insisted she stay away from the long white dress. But all the while, Didion weaves subtlety horrifying details to reflect the strange fear that loomed over Los Angeles county in the months following the murders.