By Vanessa V. Friedman
Updated February 12, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST
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The Crime of Sheila McGough

type
  • Book
genre

The Crime of Sheila McGough is a book about a miscarriage of justice and a journalist’s desire to set the record straight, to tell the story of a lawyer who was sent to prison ”for merely being irritating.” Sheila McGough was stupid and relentless in her defense of a compulsive con man, and in her stupidity and relentlessness managed to annoy the justice system so much it decided to punish her. Janet Malcolm uses her tale to illustrate how both lawyers and journalists distort the truth, how the imperative to make ”stories fit” and easy to grasp often conflicts with the reality that truth is a messy thing and usually doesn’t ”fit” into anything at all. That argument isn’t new, but Malcolm is a dazzling, incisive writer, and in her hands it is never less than convincing. A-

Episode Recaps

The Crime of Sheila McGough

type
  • Book
genre
author
  • Janet Malcolm
publisher
  • Knopf

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