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Publisher's Summary

Janet Malcolm delves into the psychopathology of journalism using a strange and unprecedented lawsuit as her larger-than-life example: the lawsuit of Jeffrey MacDonald, a convicted murderer, against Joe McGinniss, the author of Fatal Vision. Examining the always uneasy, sometimes tragic relationship that exists between journalist and subject, Malcolm finds that neither journalist nor subject can avoid the moral impasse that is built into the journalistic situation.

This audiobook is a work of journalism as well as an essay on journalism: It at once exemplifies and dissects its subject. In her interviews with the leading and subsidiary characters in the MacDonald-McGinniss case, Malcolm is always aware of herself as a player in a game that she cannot lose. The journalist-subject encounter has always troubled journalists, but never before has it been looked at so unflinchingly and so ruefully. Hovering over the narrative is the MacDonald murder case itself. The Journalist and the Murderer derives from and reflects many of the dominant intellectual concerns of our time, and it will have a particular appeal for those who cherish the odd, the off-center, and the unsolved.

©1990 Janet Malcolm (P)2015 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"An elegantly written, thought-provoking, and sometimes outrageous essay that should be in every media collection." ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about The Journalist and the Murderer

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wow.

I didn’t think I would finish this book. At first, I read five minutes and put it aside. Then I began reading it again for five more minutes and read it for 3 hours. Then I went to bed, woke up, and finished the last 2 hours right away.

One of the best narrations I have ever heard.

1 person found this helpful

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Story about a story

Nice even voice. Interesting behind the scenes look at what goes on in journalism. Eye opening

1 person found this helpful

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Struggled to Finish

Very boring. Would not recommend. I thought there would be new info on the case and all it was was someone's opinion of how the original book was written.

5 people found this helpful

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Good Reporting & Bad Philosophic Discussion

Excellent presentation of the facts and issues in the case. Boring philosophic review of such things as the differences in fiction and nonfiction characters.