William Heinemann has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to a book about the Charles Manson murders by Tom O’Neill, with editorial input from Dan Piepenbring.
O’Neill was assigned to write a magazine piece about the Manson murders in 1999 and although he was "initially sceptical about finding anything new", he started to find holes in the narrative of Vincent Bugliosi, who prosecuted the original case.
CHAOS: Charles Manson, the C.I.A. and the Secret History of the Sixties is an account of O’Neill’s 20-year effort to rebut the official story of what happened and asks questions such as who were Manson’s real friends in Hollywood? Why didn’t law enforcement act on their many chances to stop him? And how did he turn a group of peaceful hippies into killers?
The book features interviews with the LA police department, the FBI and the CIA and creates an argument that could be, according to Los Angeles deputy district attorney Steven Kay, strong enough to overturn the verdicts on the Manson murders, said William Heinemann.
Publisher Jason Arthur acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, who was acting on behalf of Sloan Harris and Dan Kirschen at ICM.
Arthur said: “Fifty years after the Manson murders, murders that still fascinate as much as they horrify us, Tom O’Neill has unearthed long-kept secrets that will change everything readers thought they knew about the case that ended the sixties. This is an astonishing book – as jaw-droppingly compelling as it is terrifying and illuminating.”
CHAOS: Charles Manson, the C.I.A. and the Secret History of the Sixties will be published by William Heinemann in hardback and e-book in June 2019 and in paperback in 2020.