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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Chaos written by Tom O'Neill with Dan Piepenbring, read by Kevin Stillwell.

A journalist’s 20-year obsession with the Manson murders brings shocking revelations about the most infamous crimes in American history: carelessness from police, misconduct by prosecutors and even potential surveillance by intelligence agents. What really happened in 1969?

In 1999, when Tom O’Neill was assigned a magazine piece about the 30th anniversary of the Manson murders, he worried there was nothing new to say. Weren’t the facts indisputable? Charles Manson had ordered his teenage followers to commit seven brutal murders and in his thrall, they’d gladly complied. But when O’Neill began reporting the story, he kept finding holes in the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s narrative, long enshrined in the best-selling Helter Skelter. Before long, O’Neill had questions about everything from the motive to the manhunt. Though he’d never considered himself a conspiracy theorist, the Manson murders swallowed the next two decades of his career. He was obsessed.

Searching but never speculative, Chaos follows O’Neill’s 20-year effort to rebut the ‘official’ story behind Manson. Who were his real friends in Hollywood and how far would they go to hide their ties? Why didn’t law enforcement act on their many chances to stop him? And how did he turn a group of peaceful hippies into remorseless killers? O’Neill’s hunt for answers leads him from reclusive celebrities to seasoned spies, from the Summer of Love to the shadowy sites of the CIA’s mind-control experiments, on a trail rife with cover-ups and coincidences.

Featuring hundreds of new interviews and dozens of never-before-seen documents from the LAPD, the FBI and the CIA, Chaos mounts an argument that could be, according to Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Steven Kay, strong enough to overturn the verdicts on the Manson murders. In those two dark nights in Los Angeles, O’Neill finds the story of California in the '60s: when charlatans mixed with prodigies, free love was as possible as brainwashing and utopia - or dystopia - was just an acid trip away.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2019 Tom O’Neill and Dan Piepenbring (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Chaos

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Endless and timeless

I remember as a young adult, reading inside a rainy train carriage - Thucydides account of the Peloponnesian War, written some 2,000 years ago. The original struggle against tyranny, in defence of Athens, the birthplace of western democracy. A story with no ending, as the author died during the very fight he narrated. My frustration at the lack of closure was held in perfect tension by the significance of the cautionary tale. Our story has no end, we are constantly living history as it happens. We must remember it so as never to repeat its mistakes.
The unbiased historian, sacrificing everything for his work, is the foundation of our civilised society. And here we have the loose ends of truth, exposed from the fabric of our society. Dare we follow them, can we, without loosing ourselves in disinformation and delusion? Our enemy is no longer a single army, there is no obvious king to dethrone or drag to the guillotine. If we are fighting anything at all it is an ideal, hidden under an infinite deluge of confusion. Chaos indeed. Were they really so terrified of liberty they thought chaos could protect them from it. So it seems. And the monsters they unleashed to bring it about grow stronger still, long after anyone who summoned them remembers why. The real lesson here is that openness is freedom, and that secrecy and lies will be the end of us. I wonder what will people think of us all when they read this book, 2 millennia into the future. Will we have learned anything? And what will be book two in this chronicle of our times. Will it be written by our same embattled author, journalist, historian? I do hope so, it could hardly be done any better.

1 person found this helpful

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Dark parallels

Surprising rabbit holes that make this all the more intriguing. Everything you thought you knew about manson turned on its head.

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Must read, one of the best books of the 21st century

One of the best cover up investigation books ever written. Tom O’Neill is legitimate credible and a bloody hard worker. His diligence has uncovered many harrowing and shocking facts about the Manson murders and the finished product created is one of the best investigative stories of the 21st century.
Chaos is a must read for any true crime buff or coverup enthusiast!

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Great book

Great book on how the Manson's family came to be from drug and government involvement.

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great book

loved it. a very objective view of the events based on alternate evidence previously hidden or ignored.

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Mind-blowing!

I'll keep this short and sweet. Tom O'Neill created a book that is compelling from start to finish. So many questions, so much work gone into this book trying to find the answers. The narration is captivating, it makes you wonder and ponder the same questions Tom O'Neill is asking himself over the years of reporting on the case. Chaos is just a must read and absolutely mind-blowing, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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wow

Loved it. My best book of 2020. Performance was perfection. I even say this as someone who typically steers clear of books about crime.

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Do yourself a favour

Fantastic book, kept me engaged the whole time. A lot of effort has gone into this book and part of me hopes it’s not the end.

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Compelling detail

Amazing depth of information and research. Fascinating account of what still remains an unfinished story, maybe

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Chaotic but worth reading

Leaves more questions than answers but I think that is the point. Perhaps more will come out in the future.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-08-2020

Chias a must read

A thought provoking read and listen. . Eye opener into FBI after years of investigating. Could not put it down.

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  • Andrew
  • 24-08-2020

Disappointing

While I went into reading the book with a complete open mind and having finished Helier Skelter recently, I found Tom O'Neill's book disappointing. After watching his Podcast with Joe Rogan, I was really hoping that there would be some major revelation about what really happened, but he never had any solid conclusions other than all the speculative inferences he made. Most of the documentation referenced could always be interpreted with a conspiratorial angle. Conveniently, all the conspirators that are implicated in the book are dead. All the people O'Neill implicates as having covered up the "real" motives for the murders are no longer around to defend themselves.

While I don't doubt that the author was forensically thorough with the research, I would have loved for there to have been some sort of finality in O'Neill's ending. You know, nail your colours to the mast. I can't help but feel that O'Neill had a major beef with Bugliosi.

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  • harriet kilduff
  • 19-07-2020

Brilliant!

So interesting and well researched. I want more books on conspiracy and cover up please Tom O’Neill!

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  • malcolm
  • 12-05-2020

Excellent

A great read taking place in the real world that reads more like fiction. Well researched

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-09-2019

The truth is always stronger than the lie.

The author thoroughly and meticulously states the case that the Manson family murders were far more than the crazed, hippie killings as laid out in Helter-skelter.

The author went to great lengths to uncover the truth behind the infamous murders. The phrase, fact is always stranger than fiction jumps to mind with this book.

I usually steer clear of the true crime genre but absolutely loved this captivating piece. Would highly recommend.

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  • Karen Clarke
  • 01-05-2020

So confusing.

This is the worst audiobook I have ever listened to. Totally confused me and I couldn’t keep up with who was who as there were so many people mentioned and so many references. It then went away from the subject of the book and onto conspiracy theories. Will be a asking for a refund I’m afraid.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-09-2019

Absorbing & very well researched

Fantastic narration of an utterly enthralling story. A very broad spectrum re-think of the whole Tate/Manson story. Thoroughly fascinating. Strongly recommended.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-2019

excellent work

this is a very noble attempt to tell the true, unknown story of the case. a difficult job.
book is well written and well performed.
the author deserves a lot of credit. Bugliosi is a snake., as his Warren commission whitewash proves, but the stories here will tell you much more about this conniving c**t.

11 people found this helpful

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  • UNKNOWN
  • 25-08-2019

Excellent

I have read lots of books about serial killers, the CIA, Manson and the Lauel Canyon hippie, music and movie scene. The amount of research that went into this book is astounding and the book is a credit to the author in my opinion.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-06-2020

Poor

Full of dead ends, confusion and digressions. No focus and now totally irrelevant. Really disappointing

8 people found this helpful

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  • Graham Byrne
  • 19-08-2019

Fresh perspective on the era.

Offers a fresh perspective on the crimes of Manson and his family by detailing how much of the ‘Helter Skelter’ narrative was forced into shape. At no point does the author in anyway suggest that Manson and those involved in the Tate/LaBianca slayings are innocent, however, he does call into question the true order of events and motives that culminated in those deaths. No clear answers are provided but enough diligently sought out evidence, some hidden from prosecution and defense at the time of the killlings, has been opened up to the public to allow for a review of a case that continues to provoke interest. Interesting and fun overall. Narration was fine with just a few pronunciation errors. Overall recommended.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Lee
  • 09-06-2020

Amazing book. I highly recommend. Watch JRE too!!!

Amazing book. I highly recommend. Watch The Joe Rogan Experience with Tom as a guest

6 people found this helpful

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  • Mr Doe
  • 03-06-2020

So Plausible

This book asks questions and digs into common sense motives and the goings on of American life which goes some way to explaining the grotesque ness of the America we see today. This Book is a must for anyone with any interest in Manson and or the period from the 1950’s till now.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-2020

Eye opening. Riviting. Thought provoking.

It's not a conspiracy theory when it's true. I'd love to see Tom do one on the JFK assassination.

4 people found this helpful

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