JOE McGINNISS

Over the course of forty years, the late Joe McGinniss wrote dozens of magazine articles and published twelve books, eleven of them nonfiction. In every decade of his unconventional career, one of his books became a classic: The Selling of the President, Going to Extremes, Fatal Vision, and The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. He is also the author of The Dream TeamBlind FaithCruel Doubt, and The Last Brother


FINAL VISION

The Last Word on Jeffrey MacDonald


It is the longest-running criminal case in U.S. history, and one of the most horrifying murder cases of its time, with chilling echoes of the Manson Family’s “Helter Skelter” killings: Jeffrey MacDonald, a handsome, Ivy League–educated Green Beret Army doctor, accused of brutally stabbing and clubbing to death his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night. MacDonald was eventually convicted and is serving three consecutive life sentences. The writer Joe McGinniss first got drawn into the story in 1979, when he began work on what became the definitive account of the case, Fatal Vision. But in the years since, MacDonald has never stopped filing appeals, and several high-profile writers have raised questions about whether he might be innocent after all. McGinniss, largely silent on the topic for years, finally rebuts them all in this compelling follow-up to his 1983 bestseller. 

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 MacDonald’s 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 MacDonald’s 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.

THE SELLING OF THE PRESIDENT

With a new introduction by the author


Joe McGinniss was just twenty-six when he wrote the book that would redefine political journalism. The Selling of the President, about Richard Nixon’s 1968 run for the White House, was the first book ever to take an unvarnished look at the dirty game of campaign politics. “Overnight,” Dwight Garner of The New York Times noted, “it made Theodore White’s ‘Making of the President’ campaign books seem wan and dated.” McGinniss’s 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 relevant—and surprising—as ever. 

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, The Selling of the President examines the genesis of the modern political campaign. As McGinniss writes in a new introduction to this digital edition, The Selling of the President is the first account of the marriage of convenience/ménage à trois between national politics, network television, and Madison Avenue.” 

Politics as usual began right here.

 

Praise for The Selling of a President:

“Stinging, bitterly comic…What McGinniss saw and heard he has recorded artfully enough to simultaneously entertain us and make us fear for the future of the Republic.”—New York Times


PRIMITIVES

15 Gothic Street


Imagine Law & Order set in Lake Wobegon: kidnapping, assault, armed robbery, and more, all taking place against a backdrop of small-town charm and civility. This is the world of '15 Gothic Street,' a two-part series by bestselling author Joe McGinniss about crime and courtroom justice in a picture-perfect corner of New England. Unlike prime-time television, however, everything that happens at '15 Gothic Street' is all too real. 

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 protégés 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 “little actresses”? 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 “Paradise City.” But even in paradise, there’s trouble. The worst of these troubles find their way to 15 Gothic Street, where they are laid bare every day, Monday through Friday. McGinniss’s 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. 

THE HUMAN CIRCUS

15 Gothic Street


A barroom brawl spills into the street. Police officers arrive, the mob scatters, but one man—the only African American in the group—is caught. In his coat pocket: an illegal gun. For the third time in his young life, Herbert Levy is headed to court. But his case isn’t what it seems. Not by a long shot. 

Find out what happens to the enigmatic Levy—and a docket of other miscreants—in this rousing legal page-turner by bestselling author Joe McGinniss . The dramatic follow-up to 15 Gothic Street: PrimitivesThe Human Circus 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 The Human Circus 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.