Joe McGinniss Jr. is the author of Carousel Court and The Delivery Man. He lives in Washington, DC, with his family.
To this day, provocative questions still swirl around the murders: What would cause a seemingly happily married man to slaughter his family so viciously, with a wooden club, knives, and an ice pick? Who were the drug-crazed hippies who MacDonald insisted broke into his house and committed the crimes? Did the government and the military truly suppress evidence that could prove MacDonaldÕs innocence? And what about the mysterious and deeply troubled Girl in the Floppy Hat?
Forty-three years after the murders, the controversy lives on. MacDonald, now a gray-haired sixty-eight-year-old, continues to attract supporters, most recently acclaimed filmmaker Errol Morris, whose recent book casts doubt on the conviction. The ruling on MacDonaldÕs latest motion for a new trial is due in early 2013, but as McGinniss makes clear in this fascinating, authoritative book, his guilt is undeniable.
PRAISE FOR JOE McGINNISS
ÒMcGinniss is the Alfred Hitchcock of the true-crime genre, a genre he often transcends.Ó ÑThe Boston Globe
ÒMcGinniss writes with the uncensored, sensuous perceptions of a naturalistic novelist.Ó ÑLos Angeles Times
ÒJoe McGinniss just keeps writing stories that transcend the [true crime] genre.Ó ÑChicago Tribune
ÒI think ÔFatal VisionÕ is among the best true-crime books ever written.Ó ÑGene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer PrizeÐwinning author and columnist for the Washington Post Magazine
Joe McGinniss was just twenty-six when he wrote the book that would redefine political journalism. ÒThe Selling of the PresidentÓ, about Richard NixonÕs 1968 run for the White House, was the first book ever to take an unvarnished look at the dirty game of campaign politics. ÒOvernight,Ó Dwight Garner of The New York Times noted, Òit made Theodore WhiteÕs ÔMaking of the PresidentÕ campaign books seem wan and dated.Ó McGinnissÕs startling behind-the-scenes narrative of how a candidate is packaged and sold to the American public stunned readers of the time. Forty-five years later, in the thick of another presidential election, the story is as relevantÑand surprisingÑas ever.Ê
With its lively accounts of the clever and cynical men hired to market the Nixon brand (including a young and witty Roger Ailes) and its fresh insights into McLuhanesque campaign techniques, ÒThe Selling of the PresidentÓ examines the genesis of the modern political campaign. As McGinniss writes in a new introduction to this digital edition, ÒÔThe Selling of the PresidentÕ is the first account of the marriage of convenience/mnage trois between national politics, network television, and Madison Avenue.ÓÊ
Politics as usual began right here.Ê
. . .Ê
PRAISE FOR "THE SELLING OF THE PRESIDENT"
ÒMcGinniss blessed this land with his book ÔThe Selling of the President, 1968Õ.ÓÊ
ÐRobert Sherrill, ÒWashington Post Book WorldÓÊ
ÒDevastatingly funny and angryÉMcGinniss has given us a damning but terribly amusing picture of the flackery in one campaignÉThe problem will be around longer than Nixon willÉYou can read this book and laughÑ-or maybe weep a little at how you were sold a president.ÓÊ
ÐDavid Broder, ÒWashington PostÓÊ
ÒStinging, bitterly comicÉWhat McGinniss saw and heard he has recorded artfully enough to simultaneously entertain us and make us fear for the future of the Republic.ÓÊ
ÐÒNew York TimesÓÊ
ÒAn appalled, savage and charming chronicle of Mr. NixonÕs 1968 electoral campaign.ÓÊ
ÐMurray Kempton, ÒLife MagazineÓÊ
Find out what happens to the enigmatic LevyÑand a docket of other miscreantsÑin this rousing legal page-turner by bestselling author Joe McGinniss (ÒThe Selling of the President,Ó ÒFatal Vision,Ó ÒGoing to ExtremesÓ). The dramatic follow-up to Ò15 Gothic Street:Primitives,Ó ÒThe Human CircusÓ continues the tale of crime and courtroom justice in a small New England town and proves yet again that truth is much, much stranger than fiction.
Joining Herbert Levy in the cast of ÒHuman CircusÓ characters: Brian Walsh, who tries to blame his fifth drunk-driving offense on carbon monoxide poisoning. Hakam McCoy, accused of kidnapping his girlfriend by merely taking her car keys. And a bevy of colorful lawyers and judges who try to impose order on the real-life criminal sideshows that take place every day in the stately courthouse at 15 Gothic Street.
Written by a master of the true crime narrative, the series tells the story of life in and out of an American courthouse over the course of several tumultuous yet typical cases. In this absorbing first episode, McGinniss follows a lurid case of statutory rape involving the beloved director of a community theater and the young protgs he allegedly abused for years on end. Could this devoted family man really have committed such vile crimes and gotten away with it for so long? Were these young women on the witness stand telling the truth or were they, in the words of the defense attorney, merely vindictive Òlittle actressesÓ? McGinniss sat in the courtroom day after day as the disturbing testimony piled up.
Unsavory as it was, this case was just one of many gritty dramas that play out daily in the Hampshire County Courthouse. This stately granite building sits at the center of beautiful Northampton, Massachusetts, home of Smith College and Calvin Coolidge and aptly nicknamed ÒParadise City.Ó But even in paradise, thereÕs trouble. The worst of these troubles find their way to 15 Gothic Street, where they are laid bare every day, Monday through Friday. McGinnissÕs odyssey through this land of miscreants, lawyers, judges, clerks, reporters, and opinionated locals is proof that bad behavior always thrives in the places where you least expect it.