Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
Release Date - October 15, 2019
Publisher Website -  Little Brown and Company
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  448 pages
My Rating - 5/5

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
In a dramatic account of violence and espionage, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Ronan Farrow exposes serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost.

In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood's most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.

All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance that could not be explained - until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood, to Washington, and beyond.

This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability and silence victims of abuse - and it's the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.

Both a spy thriller and a meticulous work of investigative journalism, Catch and Kill breaks devastating new stories about the rampant abuse of power - and sheds far-reaching light on investigations that shook the culture.
The phrase 'catch and kill' refers to the practice of purchasing negative news stories about an individual to ensure it is not made public. In his book, Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow details this practice and specifically examines it through the lens of his investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

The first thing you should know is how well written this book is. It is meticulously constructed so that the narrative flow is engaging from beginning to end. It is laid out like any good foundation is and built up in a manner that allows the reader to understand the individual parts before revealing the larger picture. It spotlights Ronan's attention to detail and skill as an investigative journalist while also reading like a taunt spy thriller.

This investigation needed so many people and things to come together for it to be successful. Many had tried to bring this story into the light before only to have their investigation stall or have it shut down.  Much of this success comes down to Ronan's seemingly effortless ability to make the people he is interviewing comfortable. He has compassion and integrity which I thinks comes through and puts people at ease.

All of the women who came forward are inspiring. It is their bravery that ensured this story got out and their determination that made sure the story did not remain a well known secret. I am in awe of their strength, especially after knowing the lengths it took to finally get this story out.

I appreciated the glimpse that Ronan offered into his life and state of mind while researching this story. Ronan may not want to be the focus but part of the story is his journey to publication and it needed to be included. I felt there was the perfect balance between the meat of the story and those little windows into his time developing this story. It not only helped with the easing of concerns of a man reporting this story by knowing he cared, but it gave a window into what it is like to both be a journalist and to be someone in a relationship with a journalist.

This is the book version of that 'hold my beer' meme; just when you think it cannot get any more mind blowing it proves you wrong. The amount of rage I felt reading this novel was off the charts. The system that has allowed men like Harvey Wienstien to not only get away with his crimes but thrive is both not surprising and eye opening.

The details about the sexual abuse ncluded in these pages, while hard to read, are never sensationalized or used salatiously. They are reported with tact and sensitivity. I would still give anyone a content warning before diving in but it was depicted with the utmost care.

Even if you think you know this story I highly encourage you to pick up Catch and Kill. While it is, at times, a hard read content wise, it is a page turner in the truest sense and offers up the hope that stories like this won't continue to be hidden in the dark.

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