Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

Jon Krakauer. Doubleday, $28.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-385-53873-2
Sexual-assault victims are routinely met with indifference and incomprehension, according to this impassioned study of campus rape. Journalist Krakauer (Into Thin Air) follows a rash of rapes at the University of Montana in Missoula from 2010 to 2012, events that sparked a furor and a Justice Department investigation; Krakauer sticks with two cases in particular through agonizing courtroom dramas, spotlighting the two obstacles to justice. The first is haphazard investigation, made worse by the callousness and suspicion about the motives of women making rape allegations on the part of the university administration, the Missoula Police, and the county attorney's office. (The county's chief sexual-assault attorney quit and joined the defense in a high-profile rape case against the University's star quarterback.) The second is the counterintuitive behavior of traumatized victims, which often undermines their claims. (The quarterback's accuser failed to call for help from her nearby roommate, then sent an innocuous text message with a smiley icon and drove her alleged assailant home after the attack.) Krakauer's evocative reporting, honed to a fine edge of anger, vividly conveys the ordeal of victims and their ongoing psychological dislocations. The result is a hard-hitting true-crime exposé that looks underneath the he-said-she-said to get at the sexist assumptions that help cover up and enable these crimes. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/27/2015
Release date: 04/21/2015
Paperback - 592 pages - 978-0-14-751936-8
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-0-14-751932-0
Paperback - 416 pages - 978-0-8041-7056-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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