Download A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald Audiobook

A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald Audiobook, by Errol Morris Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Errol Morris Narrator: John Pruden Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9781452679372
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (372 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Early on the morning of February 17, 1970, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, a Green Beret doctor named Jeffrey MacDonald called the police for help. When the officers arrived at his home they found the bloody and battered bodies of MacDonald's pregnant wife and two young daughters. The word "pig" was written in blood on the headboard in the master bedroom. As MacDonald was being loaded into the ambulance, he accused a band of drug-crazed hippies of the crime.

So began one of the most notorious and mysterious murder cases of the twentieth century. Jeffrey MacDonald was finally convicted in 1979 and remains in prison today. Since then a number of bestselling books—including Joe McGinniss's Fatal Vision and Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer, along with a blockbuster television miniseries—have attempted to solve the MacDonald case and explain what it all means.

In A Wilderness of Error, Errol Morris, who has been investigating the case for nearly two decades, reveals that almost everything we know about that case is ultimately flawed, and an innocent man may be behind bars. In a masterful reinvention of the true-crime thriller, Morris looks behind the haze of myth that still surrounds these murders. Drawing on court transcripts, lab reports, and original interviews, Morris brings a complete forty-year history back to life and demonstrates how our often desperate attempts to understand and explain an ambiguous reality can overwhelm the facts.

A Wilderness of Error allows the listener to explore the case as a detective might, by confronting the evidence as if for the first time. Along the way Morris poses bracing questions about the nature of proof, criminal justice, and the media, and argues that MacDonald has been condemned not only to prison, but also to the stories that have been created around him. In this profoundly original meditation on truth and justice, Errol Morris reopens a famous closed case and reveals that, forty years after the murder of MacDonald's family, we still have no proof of his guilt.
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Quotes & Awards

  • Bound to be in demand. Library Journal

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 2/12/2014

    " An important book. A deep example of how erudition, perseverance, and trial of thought can potentially save a man's life. And a brilliant tour of the failings and abuses of the American justice system. Read this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ken | 2/8/2014

    " Absolutely outstanding book detailing a travesty of justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kim | 2/2/2014

    " A compelling look at the power of narrative. Through analysis of existing evidence and interviews with people on all sides of the case Errol Morris lays out a strong argument for the innocence of a man sent to prison for the grizzly murder of his wife and children. This book is a great read - I couldn't put it down! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sam | 2/1/2014

    " If history teaches us anything it's that if you are ever charged with a crime you did not commit you want Errol Morris on your side. He got one murderer exonerated in "The Thin Blue Line" and now takes on the Jefferey Macdonald case. Morris was obsessed with the case for years before even starting this book and the detail shows. And what detail it is. No brief true crime paperback (complete with lurid crime scene photos in the center) is this. No, this is 500 pages of precise and painstakingly catalogued evidence from every, and I do mean every, angle. Over and over Morris demonstrates how there was blunder after blunder in this case mostly because people had already made up their minds and then made the evidence fit their perception. Whether you think Macdonald guilty or not I don't believe any reader who makes it through this book will believe the legal system worked as it should. Eyeopening and more than a little frightening. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Rachel | 1/31/2014

    " Unreadable. Got one chapter in and returned it. Too bad because I was obsessed with fatal vision as a kid. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 1/19/2014

    " I loved this book, but I've had a sort of fanatical interest in the case since reading Janet Malcolm's take on it--the Journalist and the Murderer. The books are entirely different. Malcolm explores the complicity of the murderer and the culpability of the journalist--how the relationships feed each other as each pursues his own end. Morris painstakingly lays out the case for MacDonald's innocence. Very compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jay | 1/19/2014

    " It's like an Errol Morris film on paper. Loved it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/19/2014

    " I think this would have worked much better as a documentary film. I can imagine him doing something much more interesting visually with the reams of transcripts reprinted here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bookmn | 12/28/2013

    " I wondered what yet another book on this case could add, but the answer is quite a lot. Those with any interest in the case or the justice system itself will find this hard to put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 12/10/2013

    " A revisiting of the Jeffrey McDonald case, this book is thought-provoking but ultimately, unconvincing, at least as far as MacDonald's innocence. Morris makes big deals out of minute things that he feels to be exculpatory and ignores evidence that would be inculpatory. It' still a worthwhile read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leo | 12/7/2013

    " It's rare to read such a poorly constructed book that still manages to be so powerful. The key to the book's success is in its portrait of the obsessiveness of its author in ferreting out the truth. A shocking and astonishing look at the truth behind the truth behind the truth. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 11/14/2013

    " A mostly stunning analysis of a miscarriage of justice, and one that makes starkly clear the mendacity of Joe McGuinniss's Fatal Vision. More to come on this one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Albert | 9/7/2013

    " A fascinating look at what seems to be a terrible miscarriage of justice - Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald was done in by the arrogance of the system. The callousness with which his life was destroyed is shocking. I hope this gets him out, but it doesn't seem like it. From the great Errol Morris. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 12/31/2012

    " More of a 3.5. Wish I could figure out if he did it or not though! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leata | 12/12/2012

    " This book is pretty convincing: at the very least, it's clear that Jeffrey MacDonald didn't get a fair trial, which is all, I think, Errol Morris is really setting out to prove. I think it's likely MacDonald is guilty, but he shouldn't have been convicted given the evidence. Really interesting. "

About the Narrator

John Pruden is an Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. His exposure to many people, places, and experiences throughout his life provides a deep creative well from which he draws his narrative and vocal characterizations. His narration of The Killing of Crazy Horse by Thomas Powers was chosen by the Washington Post as a Best Audiobook of 2010.