Book Review: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 15, 2019
Source: Borrowed

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.

So far in 2020, I’ve given the books I’ve read an average of a little over three stars. I’ve been mostly indifferent to what I’ve read, and very few books have blown me away. I didn’t expect much when I picked up Catch and Kill. After all, it’s not like I particularly enjoy reading about rape, sexual assault, or Harvey Weinstein, but this book was incredible.

CATCH AND KILL: an old term in the tabloid industry for purchasing a story in order to bury it

In Catch and Kill, Farrow is relentless. He gives a voice to many of Weinstein’s targets while naming and shaming the seemingly countless people who worked to bury their stories. The conspiracy to hide the many rapes and sexual assaults perpetrated by Harvey Weinstein is more extensive than I’d ever imagined. From police officers to network executives, from attorneys to surveillance teams, the amount of work that went into making sure Weinstein’s actions stayed buried is mind-boggling.

This is a nonfiction book that never quite feels like nonfiction. It’s an amazing story of the struggle to bring down a notorious rapist when the entire media industry seems hell-bent on covering it up. Farrow’s journalistic integrity and refusal to give up this story are so admirable. Because the very thought of what Weinstein did is so sickening, I could never say that I enjoyed this book. But I think it’s a worthy and important read, and I’d give it more than five stars if I could.

Content warning for very matter-of-fact descriptions of rape and sexual assault.


Have you read Catch and Kill? Can you recommend any good investigative reporting books?
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