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Lynette Fromme
Will the real Charles Manson stand up? A new book retraces his steps.
Will the real Charles Manson stand up? A new book retraces his steps.

Early in Jeff Guinn's "Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson," the first full biography of the infamous mass killer, there's a moment of unexpected and discomforting empathy. It's 1939, and Manson — 5 years old, living with relatives in West Virginia while his mother is in state prison for armed robbery — has embarrassed himself by crying in a first-grade class. To toughen him up, his uncle takes one of his daughter's dresses and orders the boy to wear it to school. "Maybe his mother and Uncle Luther were bad influences," Guinn writes, "but Charlie could benefit from Uncle Bill's intercession. It didn't matter what...

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