Joe McGinniss, the bestselling author of books that ranged from politics to true crime, and more recently the provocateur behind the most famous fence in Wasilla, has died at the age of 71. McGinniss announced last year that he'd been diagnosed with inoperable prostate cancer; he died yesterday in Massachusetts from its complications, reports the AP. McGinniss came to fame at age 26, notes the New York Times, when he published The Selling of the President, his account of Richard Nixon's 1969 campaign. "McGinniss was an emissary from the New Journalism," wrote historian David Greenberg, "with his countercultural accents, youthful iconoclasm, and nonchalant willingness to bare his left-leaning political views."
McGinniss authored other books and worked as a newspaper columnist, but cemented his legacy with 1983's Fatal Vision, his controversial account of the murders of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald's pregnant wife and two children. McGinniss, who was initially invited to chronicle the trial by MacDonald himself, eventually came to believe MacDonald was guilty and inserted himself blatantly into his own narrative; MacDonald was convicted, but eventually sued McGinniss successfully. In 2011, he authored The Rogue, his very unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin. That tome scored more headlines for McGinniss' antics than any bombshells he dropped.