Aengus's Reviews > A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald

A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris
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Sep 25, 12

Read in September, 2012

I saw this referred to as "an epistomological crime story", which is a pretty accurate description. Film maker Errol Morris investigated the trial and conviction of Jeffrey MacDonald, a Greeen Beret accused of murdering his wife and children, and attempting to cover it up with a cockamamie story about crazed hippies. What Morris discovered was that the crime scene was ruined by incompetent investigators, evidence was ignored or destroyed, and a woman who repeatedly confessed to being part of the crime was never considered a suspect.
Can we ever know what happened? Morris waded through reams of court documents , and interviewed dozens of participants in the case to find answers. Whether or not you believe in MacDonald's innocence, it 's certain that he didn't get a fair trial. Morris holds particular scorn for Joe McGinnis, the author of "Fatal Vision", who gained MacDonalds' confidence then betrayed him by writing a factually bereft book imlpicating MacDonald's guilt.
How do we know what we know? How do we arrive at conclusions? Great book.
It's also a graphically interesting book. Every 4-5 pages is a black page with a clean white drawing of a piece of evidence from the case (hat, typewriter, rocking horse). It almost felt like watching an Errol Morris film.
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Benjamin Lettuce Treuhaft Now that's what I'm talking about. A piano mover who reads, then tells us why we should be reading too. thank you Angus. -blt


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