Five to Die: The Book That Helped Convict Manson

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9780979803543: Five to Die: The Book That Helped Convict Manson

Forty years ago, I awoke to the news that during the night one of the most brutal murder rampages in the history of California had taken place just six miles from my house. In the early hours of August 9th l969, Sharon Tate, a devastatingly beautiful, 26-year-old actress, eight and a half months pregnant with her first child, had been savagely slaughtered in a house she was renting in the Benedict Canyon area of Beverly Hills. As the world quickly learned, the victims of a night of wholesale carnage included a group of her friends: Hollywood celebrity hair stylist Jay Sebring, coffee heiress Abigail Folger and her boyfriend Voityck Frokowsky who was an old pal of Tate's Polish, film-director husband Roman Polanski, and a young man named Steven Parent. At the time, I was the West Coast correspondent for one of Britain's largest circulating newspapers and my editors immediately assigned me to find out everything I could about this senseless massacre that was instant front page news around the world. What happened that balmy Summer's night became one of the most infamous chapters in the history of brutal murder in America. Eventually Charles Manson and his band of pitiful souls were arrested not only for the Tate murders but also for those of Los Angeles businessman Leno LaBianca, 44, and his 38-year-old wife Rosemary, whose bodies were found one day after the Beverly Hills killings in a house in Silver Lake some 13 miles from the first murder scene. A colleague, Jerry LeBlanc, and I wrote a fast book about the Manson murders called Five to Die. We had an early start on the case. As soon as the story broke that Manson, who had been taken into custody at the remote Barker Ranch in Death Valley on October 12, l969 more than two months after the murders, was a key suspect in the case, we began to dig into his background and that of his "family." Remarkably, as we progressed, we seemed to be several steps ahead of police investigators. Our book was rushed out in paperback in January 1970, seven months before the trial began. It was the very first book to catalogue the bizarre story of life with Charlie Manson. Several years later, long after I had covered the trials which resulted in first degree murder convictions for Manson and four of his acolytes, Charles "Tex" Watson, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krenwinkel, I met former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Aaron Stovitz. He had been head of the DA's trial division and the lead prosecutor in the case before he was removed by the District Attorney for contravening the Judge s gag order. Much to my astonishment Stovitz dropped a bombshell. "Your book was the blueprint for our prosecution," he said. "It was all there for us to follow." Five to Die had not been a best seller and it received scant attention at the time it was swiftly overtaken by new developments as the sensational trial unfolded. But the conversation with Stovitz encouraged me to revisit the book written forty years ago. And as I did I once again recalled the amazing events that led us to the real story of Manson and his murderous family. I also revisited conversations I had had over the years with Roman Polanski, record producer Terry Melcher, his mother Doris Day and Beatle Paul McCartney as well as key figures in the trial. And I examined how I too had been personally affected by my proximity to the case, not least by the menacing death threats to myself and my family from Charlie s family. Here then is that personal odyssey back in time as well as an up to date picture of where Manson and his killer band are today.

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About the Author:

Investigative reporter Ivor Davis came to America from London as a foreign correspondent for the London Daily Express in the early Sixties. His first big assignment in l964 was to hang out, travel with and get to know the four members of a new pop group from Liverpool called The Beatles. He ghosted a regular column for one member of the band a chap named George Harrison. In l969 he co-wrote Five to Die the first book ever published about the Sharon Tate murders. Then he spent a year covering the wild and wacky trial. On the political front he covered Robert Kennedy s l968 presidential bid and was in the Ambassador Hotel the night Kennedy was assassinated. He was a co-author of the 1969 political book Divided They Stand. As a foreign correspondent for the Express, and then the Times of London he covered the trial of Kennedy s assassin Sirhan Sirhan, and other major trials involving Angela Davis, acquitted of murder in l972 and Daniel Ellsberg accused of leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times. Over more than two decades he traveled throughout the western hemisphere covering riots, floods, earthquakes and political stories. He wrote a weekly showbusiness column for the New York Times Syndicate for over 15 years, interviewing everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Tom Cruise, from Snoop Dogg to Uma Thurman to Paul Newman. He was editor at Large for Los Angeles Magazine for almost 20 years where he wrote over 100 major magazine stories. They ranged from investigative reports on a wide variety of topics. Flamboyant murderer stories, the inside story of Hollywood s larger than life plastic surgeons who practiced their trade on Priscilla Presley s face, Michael Jackson s nose and Pamela Anderson s breasts. He interviewed Art Janov the man who was once John Lennon s shrink. As a broadcaster he won top California radio awards for his Manson Family coverage for KFWB and has reported on the last four World Soccer Cups for Los Angeles CBS KNX radio. The Southern California based writer s work has appeared in major magazines and newspapers in over 60 countries. *** Author-Journalist Jerry LeBlanc, a native of Lynn, Mass, was educated at De Paul University and Northwestern University s Graduate School of Journalism. He established an international reputation with hundreds of articles published in magazines and newspapers around the world. The versatile writer authored seven books including Suddenly Rich which was the first book to reveal what happens to people when the American Dream becomes reality and they become rich overnight. Other books included Java and Bali, The Moonlighters Manual as well as ghosting books about male sensuality and witchcraft. He was chief writer for the Metropolitan Sunday Newspapers Inc. syndicate and penned features which were published in more than 20 major newspapers in North America including the Chicago Tribune Sunday Magazine. LeBlanc did extensive investigative reports specializing in the fields of science, crime, entertainment, travel, biographies and self help. As West Coast correspondent for Reuters News Agency and syndication with London based Camera Press agency, his work appeared in newspapers around the globe. He penned entertainment columns with up close and personal interviews with Hollywood legends including John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Debbie Reynolds, Peter Lawford, Steven Spielberg, and Gene Roddenberry. He interviewed an ambitious actor named Ronald Reagan long before Reagan moved to the White House. For publications as diverse as History Illustrated, Human Behavior, Penthouse, Oceans, Islands, Science, Sports Illustrated, TV Guide, Ebony, American Airlines Magazine, Official Detective, Woman s World, he profiled Muhammad Ali, Cesar Chavez, Jimmy Hoffa and Black Panther leader Huey Newton.

Review:

Ivor Davis, who knew everything about the Charlie Manson family months before the police and the prosecution did, now updates his powerful, frightening book Five to Die, first published in early 1970. On the 40th anniversary of the crimes that shook the world, Davis reveals for the first time what he learned since its publication and how he learned it. Anyone who was alive and remembers Manson, or younger readers ready to be gripped by his story won't want to miss this important and shrewdly-written book. --Dick Adler / Chicago Tribune

Veteran foreign correspondent Ivor Davis paints an unforgettable and chilling picture of the Hollywood cult slayings that shocked the world. When first published, Five to Die, became the blueprint for the prosecution case that nailed Charles Manson, the Guru of Death. The evidence and witnesses Davis unearthed were so vital to the case that drug crazed Manson Family members threatened Davis, his wife and daughter. That s how important this book is. It s a gripping inside story containing a wealth of new material that will astound you. --Bob Cameron, former Editor-in-Chief, Woman s Day, Australia

Veteran foreign correspondent Ivor Davis paints an unforgettable and chilling picture of the Hollywood cult slayings that shocked the world. When first published, Five to Die, became the blueprint for the prosecution case that nailed Charles Manson, the Guru of Death. The evidence and witnesses Davis unearthed were so vital to the case that drug crazed Manson Family members threatened Davis, his wife and daughter. That s how important this book is. It s a gripping inside story containing a wealth of new material that will astound you. --Bob Cameron, former Editor-in-Chief, Woman s Day, Australia

Your book [Five to Die] was the blueprint for our prosecution. It was all there for us to follow. --Aaron Stovitz, original lead attorney in the case, but was fired for violating a judge s gag order.

Veteran foreign correspondent Ivor Davis paints an unforgettable and chilling picture of the Hollywood cult slayings that shocked the world. When first published, Five to Die, became the blueprint for the prosecution case that nailed Charles Manson, the Guru of Death. The evidence and witnesses Davis unearthed were so vital to the case that drug crazed Manson Family members threatened Davis, his wife and daughter. That s how important this book is. It s a gripping inside story containing a wealth of new material that will astound you. --Bob Cameron, former Editor-in-Chief, Woman s Day, Australia

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Ivor Davis, Jerry LeBlanc
Published by Thor Publishing Company (2009)
ISBN 10: 0979803543 ISBN 13: 9780979803543
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Book Description Thor Publishing Company, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110979803543

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