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Final Vision: The Last Word on Jeffrey MacDonald (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Joe McGinniss
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

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.


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 Team,” “Blind Faith,” “Cruel Doubt,” and “The Last Brother.”


“McGinniss is the Alfred Hitchcock of the true-crime genre, a genre he often transcends.” —The Boston Globe

“McGinniss writes with the uncensored, sensuous perceptions of a naturalistic novelist.” —Los Angeles Times

“Joe McGinniss just keeps writing stories that transcend the [true crime] genre.”
—Chicago Tribune

“I think 'Fatal Vision' is among the best true-crime books ever written.”
—Gene Weingarten, two-time Pulitzer Prize–winning author and columnist for The Washington Post Magazine

Product Details

  • File Size: 523 KB
  • Print Length: 76 pages
  • Publisher: Byliner Inc. (December 10, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truth Trumps Speculation December 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
In FATAL VISION, author Joe McGinniss detailed Jeffrey MacDonald's brutal murders of his wife Colette and his daughters Kimberly and Kristen. In FINAL VISION, McGinniss recaps MacDonald's brutal 30-year assault upon the judicial system.

In plain-speak style, McGinniss covers a surprising number of subjects in this 22,000 word essay. Beginning with a summary of the murders and MacDonald's 1979 conviction, McGinniss also explains the legal machinations that MacDonald and his coterie of lawyers have contrived in the years since, debunks the myth of Helena Stoeckley's alleged involvement, and counters Errol Morris's muddy version of the case (A Wilderness of Error) by highlighting Morris's own errors.

If you believe any of the MacDonald camp's propaganda: that Morris uncovered the truth, that Stoeckley was present at 544 Castle Drive, that McGinniss was guilty of libeling MacDonald, that "new" evidence exists that will exonerate the convicted murderer--or, most importantly, that MacDonald has been victimized by a vast governmental and judicial conspiracy--take an hour or so to read FINAL VISION. McGinniss makes it perfectly clear who the real victims are.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Case Closed December 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Thirty years after its initial publication, Joe McGinniss's FATAL VISION remains a classic of the true crime genre. Meticulous in its research, clear-eyed in its point-of-view, and riveting in its narrative brilliance, McGinniss's account of the chilling case of Jeffrey MacDonald, the Green Beret doctor turned family murderer, remains the standard by which all other non-fiction accounts of real crime and punishment are judged. Its success has brought about its share of detractors, most recently Errol Morris, a celebrated documentary filmmaker who strays far from his normal true compass by defending MacDonald. Now, with FINAL VISION, McGinniss answers Morris with a short, sharp counterblast that firmly slams the cell door on this killer and should silence his misguided apologists. Perhaps most compelling is McGinniss's account of Helena Stoeckley, the misguided and delusional young woman upon whose shaky and utterly unreliable testimony MacDonald apologists have long and foolishly relied. McGinniss also makes short work of the mendacious Jimmy Britt, a former US Marshall whose testimony is full of holes "big enough to drive an entire fleet of U.S. Marshals Service cars through." What is most rewarding about the book, however, is McGinniss's convincing argument that MacDonald, unlike so many defendants in the American justice system, more than had his day in court - and lost.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Counter-Attack December 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Joe McGinniss is the most knowledgeable writer in the world on the subject of Jeffrey MacDonald and the murders of MacDonald's wife and two daughters. Final Vision is an effective and welcome counter-attack against MacDonald believers and McGinniss critics who would like to think that -- despite an overwhelming body of evidence -- MacDonald is somehow innocent and his imprisonment an injustice. It's time to move on and realize that MacDonald is a psychopath who will never stop appealing his case as long as journalists and the courts are willing to listen to him. - Tom Brennan, author, The Snowflake Rebellion.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McGinniss to the rescue again!! December 17, 2012
By rock
Format:Kindle Edition
The Jeffery McDonald saga has spanned most of my adult life. I was in Vietnam when it happened, a young lawyer when he was convicted and when I first read "Fatal Vision." I was impressed back then with the detail that Joe McGinniss used to discuss the evidence and was persuaded of McDonald's guilt. I also appreciated that a jury had heard all of the evidence, the arguments pro and con, and had decided his fate accordingly. As a former trial attorney I can attest to the value of a jury verdict based on the dynamic of them having sat through the trial.

It has been no great surprise that many celebrity lawyers have derived their share of the limelight in the decades since the original conviction, always protesting McDonald's innocence. Barry Scheck, Alan Dershowitz are among those, drawn like moths to a flame. As a lawyer none of this surprised me, but I also understood that public perception of McDonald's repeated legal challenges might raise questions in the minds of casual observers about his guilt. It came as no great surprise to me that Errol Morris would release his book to coincide with the court hearings that would finally free Jeffery McDonald. Free publicity always spikes book sales, even if only out of curiosity. All of these events drew my attention to the media coverage of the recent court hearings, wondering what the truth was, but also questioning whether the media was capable of covering the hearings objectively. We all know that "man bites dog" or 3-headed baby stories get printed and picked up, and that business-as-usual stories don't. The media did not disappoint in their coverage, excessively acknowledging the presence of Errol Morris and ignoring how the defense issues were repeatedly obliterated during court testimony.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply convincing December 13, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I know a lot about this case. Joe McGinniss is one of the few people who knows more. This is the definitive, riveting account of why Jeffrey MacDonald is exactly where he belongs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Updated
I sort of wished it had more to it. I did like the fact that Joe McGinniss brought us up to date on the case of Jeffrey Macdonald.
Published 10 days ago by Victoria L. Gruntz
5.0 out of 5 stars Will it ever be FINAL?
I went to high school with Jeff McDonald. I have read all of Joe McGuiness BOOKS on the case and cannot believe how long this has dragged on. It is obvious McDonald did it. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Lu Waas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
McGinniss debunks the "new evidence" in the trial and reaffirms MacDonald's guilt. I was pleased to learn that there is nothing to the new claims.
Published 12 days ago by Alice A. Sabatini
5.0 out of 5 stars Becoming a Part of the Story
With the recent death of Joe McGinnis, this Kindle Single really does represent the author's last word on the strange and twisted journey of his relationship with Jeffrey... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Catriona Mairi
5.0 out of 5 stars Final Vision - the title says it all.
I've followed this story since it happened in 1970. The original story, presented in McGinnis' masterpiece 'Fatal Vision' is a fascinating tale of not only the most horrific of... Read more
Published 21 days ago by anneelise
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent follow up to a case that has continued for 40+ years.
Thank you McGinnis for the update. This is the best source for summary of what has happened since McDonald's conviction in '79. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tammy Lawson
5.0 out of 5 stars A definite must-read
Outstanding book if you are interested in the MacDonald case. Well written with a lot of writer emotion put into it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Wall
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty good
Not the page turner than I thought. Would have liked more substance. Now that McGinnis has passed away, it will never be.
Published 1 month ago by Time Traveler Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Epilogue to "Fatal Vision" (which should be read first)
I learned about this e-book yesterday, when I saw on the news that Joe McGinniss had died. It was inevitable that I would buy and read this book since I have been captivated by... Read more
Published 1 month ago by maskirovka
1.0 out of 5 stars Not really worth it
Not much new information here. I was captivated by Fatal Vision and I thought this book would have the same power, but there wasn't really anything to it.
Published 1 month ago by mayfair6
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Topic From this Discussion
Is there any chance that Jeffrey MacDonald did not do it?
The odds seem overwhelming that he did it. McGinnis thought so. Each police/CID investigator thought so. Each would-be prosecutor thought so. The presiding judge thought so. Most importantly, the jury thought so.

If all them are/were wrong and McDonald is telling the truth, then we have... Read more
Jan 13, 2013 by K.A.Goldberg |  See all 24 posts
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