Fatal Vision

Fatal Vision

by Joe McGinniss

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The electrifying true crime story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, the handsome, Princeton-educated physician convicted of savagely slaying his young pregnant wife and two small children—murders he vehemently denies committing...

Bestselling author Joe McGinniss chronicles every aspect of this horrifying and intricate crime and probes the life and psyche of the magnetic, all-American Jeffrey MacDonald—a golden boy who seemed destined to have it all. The result is a penetration to the heart of darkness that enshrouded one of the most complex criminal cases ever to capture the attention of the American public. It is a haunting, stunningly suspenseful work that no reader will be able to forget.

Includes photographs and a Special Epilogue by the author
Over one million copies sold!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101608630
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/29/2012
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 976
Sales rank: 69,965
File size: 982 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Joe McGinniss is the author of eleven other non-fiction works and one novel.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A haunting horror story told in compelling detail."

"Chilling … a haunting resurrection of crime and punishment."

"This is the real thing … a terrific book that will keep you up until two in the morning."
Chicago Tribune

"Riveting, first rate and frightening."

Customer Reviews

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Fatal Vision 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I should warn readers that this book is 644 pages long. It is extremely well written and gives a vivid account of Jeffery McDonald's life. This book does not intend to sway you in his guilt or innocence, but presents the facts as they are. After reading page after page of evidence, I have come to my own conclusion that he is guilty of killing his wife and two daughters. Collette and Jeff married so young and with a child already on the way. They didn't get to expierence life other than the life they already had. After years of struggling, financially, emotionally, and physically, and Jeff's determination of becoming a doctor was more than any couple might endure. Compiled by the Jeff's personality disorders, I think that on that fateful night, Jeff's suppressed anger and rage and feeling of trapped in a marriage that he no longer wanted all came to the surface. The real hero in this traggic story is the father of Colette who never gave up his fight for justice in his daughter's and grandaughter's murder. It is because of him that Jeffery McDonald is in prison for the rest of his life I appauld this author for writing this excellent book and the extensive research for the truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book at least 4 times. I have also read Fatal Justice and countless other articles and stories written on the MacDonald murders. What happened on that February night at Fort Bragg was nothing short of a tragedy. 4 innocent people lost their lives (Colette,her unborn child, Kimmy and Kris)at the hands of someone they loved and trusted. MacDonald was a lying, philandering egotistic man who, in a fit of rage, murdered his wife and oldest child. Why, we will never know. We can only speculate that perhaps the bed wetting, coupled with exhaustion from having worked long hours at the hospital caused him to snap. He had no other choice but finish the job and murder his sleeping baby daughter, Kristen. His injuries were superficial because they were self-inflicted. Why would a group of attackers leave him virtually unharmed while the deaths of the others was overkill? The lack of evidence of any intruders, the lack of blood by the phone where MacDonald called for help after having just checked his blood-soaked family...and so much more adds up to MacDonald's guilt. There's not a question of innocence at all. I have read all of the facts, and there has been nothing to support the intruder theory at all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once you start this book it is virtually impossible to put down. There is no way this doctor was innocent. Obviously, he was absent a conscience for there is no other way you could do what he did and live with yourself. His whole family murdered and he survived with superficial wounds most likely self inflicted. And he was a Green Beret no less. Read it you won't be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In reading this book I have learned a lot about the case at hand that I did't know before. This book is a first page fast read, hard to put down. I would recommend this to everyone.
DotM More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite books ever. I have read it at least 4 times. I have always thought he was guilty, but yet he stills pleads his innocense. What a sick man!!! Excellent book! Going to read it again this summer. DotM
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joe McInnis did a wonderful putting FACTS together for this book. Jeffery McDonald, without a doubt, murdered his wife and girls. I believe that with every fiber of my being because my family lived at Fort Bragg, North Carolina when he committed the crimes. He is a smooth talker and believes everything he says. I have followed this case from day one and I have no doubt Joe McInnis had no choice but to expose the truth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joe McGinniss is one of the best authors writing today and Fatal Vision is the best true crime book ever written. I've read everything on the MacDonald case (including the FOIA documents) and MacDonald is EXACTLY where he belongs. Every argument his supporters make regarding his innocence can effectively be refuted. This book presents a chilling portrait of the most narcissistic and monstrous man ever born.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is clear that there was a lot to this case. And the incompetence of the Army's CID further complicated an already questionable crime scene. But Dr. MacDonald was a less than credible subject, which is what lead this reader to find him guilty in her mind. I wish that this tragedy had never happened, but I will say that with today's technology, had these murder's happened recently, this man would be proven guilty above and BEYOND a reasonable doubt!!
MissMonkeysMom More than 1 year ago
I read this for the fist time at 14, and have read it a few more times through the years. Still scares me silly.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unputdownable, fascinating account of a true sociopath and his crime. The father-in-law and prosecuter are unforgettable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book quickly. I could not put it down. And after completing it, I too believe that he committed the murders. I wouldn't say that I'm 100% sure, but to me there were just too many odd things. Maybe he does suffer from this pathological narcissism, and the drug use the author proposed. That would at least attempt to explain why someone could do such a thing and act so afterward. And if he doesn't(didn't?).... It does bother me the way the crime scene was handled. I'm sure anyone who reads a lot of these type of books just cringed as I did during the opening chapters. I could just picture too many unnecessary people plodding through the house. And the loss of some of the evidence is inexcusable. However, I still do not see how three people were so brutally murdered and there not only be a survivor, but one so virtually unscathed. Especially when the survivor was the male of the family, supposedly the strongest one, and the one I would think killers would attempt to take out first. But the things that got me the most was the blood stains...those stains that in no way corresponded with McDonald's story, as well as his lies, and his often lack of real answers and action. If you're being falsly accused, you try to disprove it. Why didn't he conduct an investigation like he said? And why would you answer nearly every question with a non answer? He is consitently evasive in actually giving a definative answer. I admit I have not read Fatal Justice yet, but I plan on it soon. Maybe after reading it, I will change my mind, or will at least be unsure as I was in the beginning. Maybe someone will write a book that's not biased toward a side as these two are claimed to be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. Finally I found something from someone that spent every waking hour with the DEFENSE, and therefore knew every fact. McGinness lays them all out for us in a non-accusatory tone. Sometimes the facts are a little tedious, but necessary to understand the full story. Especially compelling is the blood evidence. MacDonald tries too hard to make everyone else look like bumbling idiots, and blames everyone but the postman for his various predicaments. GREAT READ.
TheLiveSoundGuy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr Jeffrey MacDonald presented to the world the face of a charming, sensitive man, but behind this mask was an individual who, from the time the murders were committed in 1970 until his final appeal was rejected in 1985, tried his utmost to avoid punishment for the horrific act. This story stands as a monument to the laudable persistence of MacDonald's parents-in-law, who refused to give up their crusade for justice until MacDonald was convicted, and the souls of his wife and children were finally at peace. It is also a tribute to the experts who by sheer talent and technology have advanced the field of forensic science to the degree where it is now viewed as indisputable evidence.
crazysalad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Fatal Vision" chronicles the criminal case of Jeffrey McDonald. In 1970, McDonald's wife and two young daughters were brutally murdered in their home and McDonald, who sustained relatively minor injuries, claimed that a group of drug-crazed intruders committed the crime. The case went through many unusual twists and turns and was not resolved for over 10 years. It's a fascinating case, and Joe McGinnis does a deft job in documenting it. He has a sharp eye for detail and an engaging writing style. The book benefits also from McGinnis's rare level of access to both McDonald and the parties that fought to have him convicted. McGinnis's interactions with McDonald are particularly unique and included full access to McDonald and his defense team through the trial. "The Journalist and the Murderer" by Janet Malcolm presents an interesting look at the working relationship of McDonald and McGinnis. I also recommend Malcolm's book, but "Fatal Vision" should be read first to understand the context.
whirled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fatal Vision is not quite the book Jeffrey MacDonald was hoping for when he contracted journalist Joe McGinniss to write his version of the events surrounding the murder of his young family in 1970. After living with the charismatic doctor during his high-profile murder trial, McGinniss turned in a forensically detailed and terribly unflattering portrait. MacDonald comes across as an ill-tempered, philandering narcissist who is, in all likelihood, a multiple murderer. The story, and the man, are bone-chilling.
moonshineandrosefire on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book covers the trial of Jeffrey McDonald, accused of the 1979 murder of his wife and two daughters. This was an incredibly sad case and a sad book. I give the story an A+!
NickKnight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I heard about this back in the 80's when the TV mini-series first aired. Afterwards, everybody and his neighbor had an opinion about whether or not Dr. Jeffery McDonald killed his wife and children. About 10 years later I came across this book at a sale. I devoured it. It of course was soooo much better than that TV movie. It is one of the best true crime novels I have ever read. Some people think that Joe McGinnis added and embelished on McDonalds story to make him look bad or worse given what you believe. That is pure non-sense The man was Hired by Jeffery McDonald himself to write the truth and that is what he did. But I highly recomend that you read this book yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and researched
barrayaran on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brilliant. One of the best true-crime stories ever written. It's a shame McGinniss's subsequent works haven't approached this standard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too wordy, could have got to the ending in less pages. Too much constant details of the same issues. Sorry, can’t recommend over 3 stars.
lydiao More than 1 year ago
Horrible, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH it just goes on and on about stuff that was so boring. The bed wetting became an issue, that so ridiculous to the story. It is a tragic store that I felt could have been told better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the true story of the brutal murders and legal wrangling of Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, an ivy league educated Green Beret. In February of 1970, Dr. McDonald's pregnant wife, Colette, and their two daughters, Kimberly (5) and Kristen (2) were bludgeoned and stabbed to death at their Fort Bragg home where Dr. McDonald was stationed. Despite claiming a group of hippies attacked him and his family, Dr. McDonald survives largely unscathed. McGinnis meticulously pours through the evidence, statements and testimony to determine whether the jury got its verdict right or wrong. The one thing that the investigators could never conclusively resolve was why. Why was a mother and her defenseless babies slain in such a way? Given full access to McDonald, his lawyers and investigators, McGinnis comes up with a completely plausible explanation or motive for this family's deaths. He never loses sight of the tragedy of this case and while McDonald's own words take center stage, McGinnis gives Colette, Kimberly and Kristen, their voices back which overshadow McDonald's denials. This book is not for the faint of heart as the descriptions are graphic and real. I'm looking forward to reading another by McGinnis.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent read with a lot of primary source material. The blood evidence was very well presented; it convinced me that Mr. MacDonald is right where he should be.
JeannieWalker More than 1 year ago
I took interest in this book because it is a true crime, and because I am an author of a true crime myself. Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald had everything going for him. He had a great career, great family, and good looks. Everything went topsy-turvy when his pregnant wife and two daughters were murdered in their home. Jeffrey was injured, but alive. For some odd reason, he couldn’t keep from talking about the attack. He would go over the details to everyone and anyone. The story he told about the killings sounded a lot like the Manson family had invaded the condominium and slaughtered the family. As time passes, Jeffrey’s story just doesn't add up. Jeffrey’s dead wife’s stepfather was his staunch defender until he became suspicious of Jeffrey, and refused to give up his quest to get justice. Being a victim of crime, I learned that sometimes a member of the family must relentlessly pursue justice if there is going to be any kind of justice achieved. The electrifying true story of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald had been on National TV, and a lot of people have heard, seen or know the story. However, Joe McGinniss does a marvelous job of writing and telling the story. Reading the brilliant way he wrote this book makes you think you are sitting in the courtroom, holding your breath until you hear the jury’s verdict. The book is 977 pages, but it is worth your money, and time. At least that is my verdict on “Fatal Vision.” Jeannie Walker (Award-Winning Author) "FIGHTING THE DEVIL" - A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder