Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    What I'm Giving | December 4, 2014

    Fred Armisen: IMG Fred Armisen: What I'm Giving



    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$1.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Hawthorne Crime- General

More copies of this ISBN

This title in other editions

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa

by

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa Cover

ISBN13: 9780060580476
ISBN10: 006058047x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $1.95!

 

Staff Pick

This astonishing account of the relationship between murderer Christian Longo and disgraced New York Times journalist Michael Finkel is mesmerizing. The details are fascinating enough, but Finkel's superb blend of true-crime storytelling and memoir raises this book above many in both genres. You won't be able to put this one down.
Recommended by Georgie, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Finkel is still a journalist at heart, doggedly pursuing a story, and he goes on to unpack both Longo's and his own. This is less of a poker game than it sounds; the author, it turns out, has been out-lied by his subject many, many times over. What does emerge is the story, carefully structured, rigorously reported, and fascinating till the end." Anna Godbersen, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the haunting tradition of Joe McGinniss's Fatal Vision and Mikal Gilmore's Shot in the Heart, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa weaves a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth.

The story begins in February of 2002, when a reporter in Oregon contacts New York Times Magazine writer Michael Finkel with a startling piece of news. A young, highly intelligent man named Christian Longo, on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for killing his entire family, has recently been captured in Mexico, where he'd taken on a new identity — Michael Finkel of the New York Times.

The next day, on page A-3 of the Times, comes another bit of troubling news: a note, written by the paper's editors, explaining that Finkel has falsified parts of an investigative article and has been fired. This unlikely confluence sets the stage for a bizarre and intense relationship. After Longo's arrest, the only journalist the accused murderer will speak with is the real Michael Finkel. And as the months until Longo's trial tick away, the two men talk for dozens of hours on the telephone, meet in the jailhouse visiting room, and exchange nearly a thousand pages of handwritten letters.

With Longo insisting he can prove his innocence, Finkel strives to uncover what really happened to Longo's family, and his quest becomes less a reporting job than a psychological cat-and-mouse game — sometimes redemptively honest, other times slyly manipulative. Finkel's pursuit pays off only at the end, when Longo, after a lifetime of deception, finally says what he wouldn't even admit in court — the whole, true story. Or so it seems.

Review:

"In 2001, Finkel fabricated portions of an article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. Caught and fired, he retreated to his Montana home, only to learn that a recently arrested suspected mass murderer had adopted his identity while on the run in Mexico. In this astute and hypnotically absorbing memoir, Finkel recounts his subsequent relationship with the accused, Christian Longo, and recreates not only Longo's crimes and coverups but also his own. In doing so, he offers a startling meditation on truth and deceit and the ease with which we can slip from one to the other. The narrative consists of three expertly interwoven strands. One details the decision by Finkel, under severe pressure, to lie within the Times article — ironic since the piece aimed to debunk falsehoods about rampant slavery in Africa's chocolate trade — and explores the personal consequences (loss of credibility, ensuing despair) of that decision. The second, longer strand traces Longo's life, marked by incessant lying and petty cheating, and the events leading up to the slayings of his wife and children. The third narrative strand covers Finkel's increasingly involved ties to Longo, as the two share confidences (and also lies of omission and commission) via meetings, phone calls and hundreds of pages of letters, leading up to Longo's trial and a final flurry of deceit by which Longo attempts to offload his guilt. Many will compare this mea culpa to those of Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass, but where those disgraced journalists led readers into halls of mirrors, Finkel's creation is all windows. There are, notably, no excuses offered, only explanations, and there's no fuzzy boundary between truth and deceit: a lie is a lie. Because of Finkel's past transgression, it's understandable that some will question if all that's here is true; only Finkel can know for sure, but there's a burning sincerity (and beautifully modulated writing) on every page, sufficient to convince most that this brilliant blend of true-crime and memoir does live up to its bald title. 4-city author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Always fascinating, sometimes funny, often very weird...simply terrific from the first page to the last." Jeffrey Toobin, CNN senior legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer

Book News Annotation:

Christian Longo, hiding in Mexico from murder charges following the death of his wife and three small children in a seaside town in Oregon, pretends to be Michael Finkel, a young New York Times reporter he's never met. Just about the time Longo is caught and returned for trial, the real Finkel is fired for falsifying parts of an investigative article. After his arrest, the only reporter Longo will speak to is Finkel. The two not only speak, they can hardly stop speaking, conversing for dozens of hours on the telephone, in a jailhouse visiting room, and by way of more than 1,000 pages of handwritten letters. Finkel, disgraced in the eyes of journalism, now puts it all together into a memoir that's also a true- crime chronicle and an inquiry into the nature of truth itself. The volume has no index.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

True Story is the remarkable account of the relationship between a man accused of killing his entire family, and of the New York Times Magazine writer he impersonated while on the run.

Synopsis:

An improbable but true real-life thriller: Mike Finkel, a defrocked New York Times writer, enters into a bizarre and intimate friendship with Christian Longo, an accused multiple murderer, now imprisoned, who assumed Finkel's identity while on the run. In the course of the year leading up to Longo's trial, Finkel races to strip away layers of lies — both Longo's and his own — and finally get the true story. Or so he thinks.

About the Author

Michael Finkel has written for the Atlantic Monthly, National Geographic Adventure, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

bookhead, January 21, 2010 (view all comments by bookhead)
Excellent.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780060580476
Author:
Finkel, Michael
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Journalism
Subject:
Journalists
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Criminals & Outlaws
Subject:
Editors, Journalists, Publishers
Subject:
Murder - Serial Killers
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
May 2005
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.05 in 19.68 oz

Other books you might like

  1. Shot in the Heart
    Used Trade Paper $7.50
  2. Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness...
    Used Trade Paper $2.95
  3. The Executioner's Song
    Used Trade Paper $10.00
  4. The Fabulist Used Hardcover $1.95
  5. Burning Down My Masters House: My... Used Hardcover $3.25
  6. The Lost Night: A Daughter's Search... Used Trade Paper $9.50

Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Crime » General

True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$1.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages HarperCollins Publishers - English 9780060580476 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

This astonishing account of the relationship between murderer Christian Longo and disgraced New York Times journalist Michael Finkel is mesmerizing. The details are fascinating enough, but Finkel's superb blend of true-crime storytelling and memoir raises this book above many in both genres. You won't be able to put this one down.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 2001, Finkel fabricated portions of an article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. Caught and fired, he retreated to his Montana home, only to learn that a recently arrested suspected mass murderer had adopted his identity while on the run in Mexico. In this astute and hypnotically absorbing memoir, Finkel recounts his subsequent relationship with the accused, Christian Longo, and recreates not only Longo's crimes and coverups but also his own. In doing so, he offers a startling meditation on truth and deceit and the ease with which we can slip from one to the other. The narrative consists of three expertly interwoven strands. One details the decision by Finkel, under severe pressure, to lie within the Times article — ironic since the piece aimed to debunk falsehoods about rampant slavery in Africa's chocolate trade — and explores the personal consequences (loss of credibility, ensuing despair) of that decision. The second, longer strand traces Longo's life, marked by incessant lying and petty cheating, and the events leading up to the slayings of his wife and children. The third narrative strand covers Finkel's increasingly involved ties to Longo, as the two share confidences (and also lies of omission and commission) via meetings, phone calls and hundreds of pages of letters, leading up to Longo's trial and a final flurry of deceit by which Longo attempts to offload his guilt. Many will compare this mea culpa to those of Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass, but where those disgraced journalists led readers into halls of mirrors, Finkel's creation is all windows. There are, notably, no excuses offered, only explanations, and there's no fuzzy boundary between truth and deceit: a lie is a lie. Because of Finkel's past transgression, it's understandable that some will question if all that's here is true; only Finkel can know for sure, but there's a burning sincerity (and beautifully modulated writing) on every page, sufficient to convince most that this brilliant blend of true-crime and memoir does live up to its bald title. 4-city author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Finkel is still a journalist at heart, doggedly pursuing a story, and he goes on to unpack both Longo's and his own. This is less of a poker game than it sounds; the author, it turns out, has been out-lied by his subject many, many times over. What does emerge is the story, carefully structured, rigorously reported, and fascinating till the end." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "Always fascinating, sometimes funny, often very weird...simply terrific from the first page to the last."
"Synopsis" by , True Story is the remarkable account of the relationship between a man accused of killing his entire family, and of the New York Times Magazine writer he impersonated while on the run.
"Synopsis" by , An improbable but true real-life thriller: Mike Finkel, a defrocked New York Times writer, enters into a bizarre and intimate friendship with Christian Longo, an accused multiple murderer, now imprisoned, who assumed Finkel's identity while on the run. In the course of the year leading up to Longo's trial, Finkel races to strip away layers of lies — both Longo's and his own — and finally get the true story. Or so he thinks.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.