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Joe McGinniss
Joe McGinniss

Master of the “True Crime” genre

NYS Writers Institute, November 15, 2007

8:00 p.m. Reading | Bernard D. Arbit Lecture Center 25, Academic Podium,
UAlbany Uptown Campus


Joe McGinniss, author of the popular “true crime” classics, “Fatal Vision” (1983) and “Blind Faith” (1988), will discuss his new book, “Never Enough” (2007), an investigation of the recent Kissel banking family murders in Hong Kong and Greenwich, CT, on Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 8:00 p.m. in the Bernard D. Arbit Lecture Center 25, Academic Podium, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. the author will present an informal seminar in Campus Center 375 on the uptown campus. The events are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, and are free and open to the public.

Joe McGinniss is best-known for his popular classics of the “true crime” genre, including “Fatal Vision” (1983), “Blind Faith” (1988), and “Cruel Doubt” (1991). His newest “true crime” book, “Never Enough”(2007), offers a tale of greed and murder featuring the wealthy Kissel family of Hong Kong and Greenwich, CT. In 2003, investment banker Robert Kissel’s wife is convicted of bludgeoning him to death after lacing his milkshake with sedatives in a Hong Kong luxury apartment. Robert’s brother Andrew, a Connecticut real estate tycoon, receives custody of the couple’s three children. Three years later, Andrew is found tied up and stabbed to death in his Greenwich mansion. The book endeavors to present a compelling solution to the latter murder, which remains officially unsolved.

In writing “Never Enough,” his first “true crime” book in 16 years,McGinniss enjoyed privileged access to numerous Kissel relatives and acquaintances. “Washington Post Book World” editor Marie Arana ranked it among the most anticipated books of the fall 2007 season.

“Fatal Vision,” the author’s first true crime book, presents an intimate account of the trials and appeals of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, a man eventually convicted of brutally slaying his pregnant wife and two young daughters. In writing the book, McGinniss commenced a four-year friendship with MacDonald early on in the course of his legal battles, not knowing whether he was innocent or guilty, though ultimately being persuaded of the latter. In a 1983 “New York Times” review, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt said that “‘Fatal Vision’ smells of integrity, and that’s one of the many things about it that make it irresistible to read, even if its vision of the human soul is somewhat bleak and frightening.”

A former reporter and columnist for the “Philadelphia Inquirer,” McGinniss also wrote the major nonfiction bestseller, “The Selling of the President, 1968” (1969), a pioneering study of the role of marketing in Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. The book was on the “New York Times” bestseller list for seven months, and was ranked #1 for four months. The book earned McGinniss, at the age of 27, the distinction of having written the second biggest-selling nonfiction book by a n under-30 author (after Anne Frank).

Other notable books include “The Big Horse” (2004), which “Publishers Weekly” called, “a compelling and bittersweet picture of the dying sport of horse-racing”; “The Miracle of Castel di Sangro,” the true story of the improbable rise of an Italian soccer team from impoverished small-town obscurity to the national championships; and “The Last Brother: The Rise and Fall of Teddy Kennedy” (1993), a controversial work that tests the definition of “nonfiction” by interjecting speculative thoughts into the minds of its principal characters.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.