Top critical review
An author in search of a victim.
on 11 February 1999
Janet Malcolm insures us that Ms. McGough was a victim of a wild-eyed, run-amuck federal judicial process combining with a naive,inexperienced attorney with few (or no) interpersonal skills. According to Malcolm, everyone was against McGough, and wanted her in jail, because of her lack of people-skills. However, this book contains no footnotes, no index, very little logical analysis, and no foundations or explanations to permit the readers to judge for themselves if what Ms. McGough did on behalf of her client was, or was not, deserving of a three year Count of Monte Cristo bit. Clearly, Ms. McGough is not stupid, and the sole defense presented that she is stupid does not work well. A few paragraphs should have been dedicated to a random sampling of her law-school classmates, who saw and witnessed McGough over three years in law school (coincidentally her felony sentence--which was worse time served, anyone?, anyone?) to see if anyone could predict (or at least not surprised by) her ultimate fate. If as much research was done by the author as suggested, why wasn't it included to make a reasonable case for the felon in question. Page limits by the publisher? The best(and most reasonable) statement of the book is that the author finally walked away from Ms. McGough and her tiresome victim defense. The prologue should have been a quote from the Viginia Bar Ethics Code, setting out the required integrity of client trust accounts. The Coda (somehow this 161 page essay has been turned into the author's opus) should have been the published McGough disbarrment decision, to permit the reader a clear explanation of her crimes, instead of self-absorbed walks in the woods by the author, which is meaningless except to those who wish to remember how beautiful the Viginia countryside is.