August 19, 2013 12:00 PM

Manson

by Jeff Guinn |

REVIEWED BY JUDITH NEWMAN

BIOGRAPHY

He was always a desperate nobody who wanted to be somebody, an incompetent, petty thief who blamed everyone for his problems. But young Charlie Manson used his early years in and out of reform school to study: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, the self-actualizing dictates of Scientology and, most important, the techniques of pimps to get troubled women to do their bidding. He became a genius at manipulating others, and with the Sharon Tate murders he eventually led a few followers to commit one of the most vicious crimes of our time. In this riveting, almost Dickensian narrative, Guinn demonstrates how the man who became Charles, and his “family” of twisted followers, surfaced against a backdrop of radical change in society. Gurus were the rage, and new notions of sexual freedom and drug use were emerging, resulting in Manson’s ability to manipulate his disciples into carrying out gruesome murders that shocked the nation.

Sandrine’s Case

by Thomas H. Cook |

REVIEWED BY ERIC LIEBETRAU

NOVEL

Scores of literary allusions collide in this consistently engaging court procedural. As English professor Samuel Madison stands trial for the murder of his wife, Sandrine—whose death was initially ruled a suicide—he reminisces about their lives and tries to piece together how their marriage fractured. The courtroom proceedings thrillingly advance the narrative to its surprising conclusion, but the real treat is Cook’s tender, gradual exploration of the push and pull between Samuel and Sandrine, an unlikely pair whose fraught dynamics play out over the course of the trial and ultimately contribute to the verdict.

Ten Things I’ve Learnt About Love

by Sarah Butler |

REVIEWED BY CAROL MEMMOTT

NOVEL

Two tenderly told tales run through this touching debut novel about familial love and loss. In one, Alice, the youngest of three daughters, always felt there was something missing in her relationship with her dying father. And in another part of London, Daniel, a homeless artist, fantasizes about meeting the daughter who doesn’t know he exists. Readers will be charmed by their stories, intermingled with hopes and regrets. Their lives run parallel until they subtly intertwine.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO KIM HUBBARD: bookseditor@peoplemag.com

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