Bestselling Author Joe McGinniss Dies

Bestselling author and Pelham, Massachusetts resident Joe McGinniss has died.

McGinniss first made a name for himself with his 1969 book, The Selling of the President, about the marketing of Richard Nixon. He achieved notoriety in the 1980s through several true crime books — most notably, Fatal Vision, a controversial account of doctor Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted of murdering his wife and children. This became a staple of journalism ethics classes after McGinniss was criticized for misleading MacDonald during his reporting. More recently, McGinniss was the target of Sarah Palin’s wrath after he moved in next door to her family in Alaska and wrote a book about her.

In 2011, McGinniss spoke to New England Public Radio. He was getting ready to camp out in the Hampshire County Courthouse in Northampton to document a year of small town crimes.

“Actually, a lot of things are more dramatic that people realize. They just don’t see the drama because they take it for granted,” McGinniss said. “And Hampshire County is a pretty facscinating community. What with the five colleges. What with its history. Northampton is called Paradise City. But even in paradise, there’s trouble.”

Mcginniss died Monday of prostate cancer. He was 71.