The Real Life Battle That Claire Vaye Watkins Was Born Into: Background information when reading Battleborn

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by Claire Vaye Watkins

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  • First Published:
    Aug 2012, 304 pages
    Aug 2013, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Real Life Battle That Claire Vaye Watkins Was Born Into

Readers will notice immediately that the narrator of Claire Van Watkins's opening story, "Ghosts, Cowboys," shares a name with the author. This isn't an accident. The story, which is about a young woman trying to outgrow the legacy of her past, is Watkins's own. "About once a year someone tracks me down," she says. "Occasionally it's one of Charlie's fans wanting to stand next to Paul Watkins's daughter, to rub up against all that's left." The "Charlie" in question is Charles Manson, whose "Family" spent time at the famous Spahn ranch in Nevada which was used as a movie set for many westerns. Paul Watkins, the author's (and narrator's) father, was Charles Manson's right-hand man: "Charlie's number one procurer of young girls.

Paul Watkins joined Manson's Family in 1968, shortly after he had graduated from high school. Although he was indeed part of Manson's inner circle, he became increasingly uneasy when he heard Manson's so-called Helter Skelter prophecy that seemed to ...

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