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There have been many books written about the Manson murders and probably the most comprehensive is the classic Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. However, this book differs, in that it is written by the family of one of the victims and looks at the terrible legacy that a violent death leaves those left behind to deal with. Brie Tate is the daughter of Patti Tate, Sharon's sister, and Alisa Statman Patti's friend. Here, they have attempted to use Patti's unpublished autobiography, along with Sharon's parents unfinished memoirs, to show how they coped with the loss of their daughter and sister.

The book begins with Patti and her mother on the day of Sharon's baby shower, not knowing that she is already dead. As news of the tragedy begins to filter through, you feel their unease turn to horror. The book changes from the viewpoint of Patti (a child at the time), her mother Doris and her father, an army officer that deals with the situation by carrying out his own investigation.

We hear of Sharon Tate's life, her career and her relationship with Roman Polanski. Despite her worries about his unfaithfulness, she was a healthy, happy young woman, literally two weeks away from having her first baby. After being desperate for a home, she had leased a house in Cielo Drive and was planning for motherhood. After her murder, Sharon's parents had to deal with not only the loss of their daughter and grandchild, but images of her in the press suggesting she took part in orgies, drugs and even dabbled in satanic arts. Roman Polanski is even mentioned as checking the cars of people he knew for bloodstains. It is clear that Sharon's family were not close to Roman Polanski, but he also came under suspicion for the murders, despite not even being in the country at the time and you feel what an impossible situation he must have been in.

There are also rumours of other victims dealing in drugs or being in debt. Hollywood was jumpy and everyone suspected everyone else. We learn of various celebrities being questioned - Mama Cass, John and Michelle Phillips and then finally someone babbles about, "some guy in the desert that steals your soul." As Charles Manson's name crops up, so does the fact that Terry Melcher lived at the house in Ceilo Drive before Sharon Tate. Manson turns out to be an aspiring musician who befriended Melcher, a record producer, and Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, and who felt let down by broken promises. Obviously, the details are known to anyone interested in these crimes, but eventually Manson and the members of his notorious Family are put on trial.

This is not a systematic look at the trials and sentences of these crimes, but a very personal account. The Tate family's horror does not end with the sentences as the State of California abolishes the death penalty and Manson and the others have parole hearings as early as 1978. It is at this point that Doris Tate discovers that some members in prison for her daughters murder have had conjugal visits, fathered children and are even running a Ministry. She is beyond angry and, until her death, works tirelessly to keep her daughters murders in prison, helps to rehabilitate prisoners and campaigns for victims rights. Patti later takes up this cause and in a sense they have been successful, as Sharon Tate's killers remain in jail. However, the fact they have had to deal with Charles Manson becoming a cult figure, people insisting on hurtful conspiracy theories and even, bizarrely, the songs of Manson being released by rock stars, is profoundly shocking. This is a very brave and moving account of the way a family's life was changed forever and I recommend it highly. Lastly, I read the kindle version of this book and the illustrations were included.
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on 10 January 2014
I am old enough to remember the Manson killings. The whole sordid business shocked the world. Much has been written about Charles Manson and his followers but all I knew about Sharon Tate was that she was an actress and that she was a victim. This book focuses on the Tate family and their struggle to come to terms with what happened to their daughter and sister. The crimes are not glossed over. We read the gruesome truth and it is shocking. One night in 1969 Manson instructed his followers to kill the residents of what he thought was Terry Melcher's house. This they did. Five people died that night including Sharon Tate. Eight months pregnant, she was hung from a rafter, a noose around her neck. She watched helplessly as her dear friends were murdered one by one. The last to die, she was stabbed in the belly numerous times killing her and her unborn baby. The assassins were found, tried and imprisoned.

Doris Tate and her daughter Patti vowed that they would do everything in their power to make sure the killers would never be freed. That they achieved this goal makes me want to jump up and down and scream 'YES'. This is a brilliant book. I am awed by the courage of the Tate family. Sharon was more than a victim. She was a loving daughter and sister. No doubt she would have made a wonderful mother, but because Manson's deluded, vicious followers deprived her of that right, we will never know. Ignore the negative reviews and read this uplifting book. Brie Tate, carry on the good work. I salute you.
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on 18 February 2015
A great book and insight to how the family coped during this terrible time. Doris was amazing and did so much to keep Sharon's memory alive and keep them cowards locked up. As proud as she was of Sharon i know it was mutual for Sharon for her mum. I have loved Sharon from the moment i first saw her at the age of 10 after seeing her in the Fearless vampire killers. She in my opinion was the most attractive woman in the world and she was a fantastic actress. She was a gentle soul that would have done anything for anyone no matter what their background etc I hope wherever she is she's at peace with her baby mum and dad sister and friends. It was nice to hear finally the words and thoughts of the victims parents instead of the B******S that seem to put out book after book of what they did. I hope they rot..
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on 15 August 2015
Excellent and moving account of the Tate family's situation after their daughter was murdered by Charles Manson ' s followers. Their recollections of Sharon, the daughter and sister, not the movie star, are both moving and beautiful.. The Tate family's subsequent fight for justice for not only their daughter but other victims of crime was inspirational, and courageous, the one positive which came out of the tragedy. This is not a heavy going book, although obviously there are some sad bits in it, it's about an ordinary family who found themselves in a nightmare and how they dealt with it, told as it was in memoirs written Doris, Paul and Patty Tate, found by a relative after they had passed on.
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on 26 January 2014
This is an eerie account from the Tate family perspective that has been rarely been accounted for - how they dealt with the aftermath of this horrifying ordeal that still haunts Hollywood.
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on 21 July 2014
I was glued to this book from start to finish. It's heartbreaking to read what the family of Sharon had to go through after that fateful day in 1969. Even years afterwards. There are some lovely family photos of the family included showing happier times prior to Sharon's death, and photos of the family in the years that followed.

This book is like an invitation into a family history of the Tates.
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on 23 September 2013
This is such a sad book, but how nice that Sharon Tate's family have triumphed over their suffering during the long, long years. I have followed the lives of those who perpetrated these awful crimes over the years, and I know Charles Manson is completely unrepentant and still ready to blame everybody else, but I'd like to think that Susan Atkins, before she died, truly did suffer remorse, and the same with Patricia Krenwinkle and Tex Watson.
Each seems to have tried, in their own way, to atone for what they did and yes, I know, those who start shouting God has forgiven me might very well be first and foremost comforting themselves, but surely that extreme change of attitude has to be good and show some moral fibre?
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on 24 July 2014
Very well written and heartfelt account of this tragic event. These murderers should never be set free within society and I'm pleased to see that thus far none of them have.
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The unpublished works from Sharon's parents and deceased sister have since been looked at closely by Sharon's surviving sister, who has publicly listed errors and outright lies that the author has claimed as fact. As this sister has numerous eye witness accounts, official documents and letters to back her up, I know who I believe. Plus the author also uses material she apparently has no right to use, some of which she ha confessed to stealing!

I'll look elsewhere for information on Sharon's tragically short life, as the book is nothing but fiction.


Also; The niece's surname is Ford, not Tate as is claimed. Using the name of a murdered relative for 5 minutes of fame? Disgusting.
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on 29 August 2014
Great book a really insightful journey through a families grief and crusade for justice
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