ISBN 10: 0804170568 / ISBN 13: 9780804170567
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Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, home to a highly regarded state university whose beloved football team inspires a passionately loyal fan base. Between January 2008 and May 2012, hundreds of students reported sexual assaults to the local police. Few of the cases were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical.

In these pages, acclaimed journalist Jon Krakauer investigates a spate of campus rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period. Taking the town as a case study for a crime that is sadly prevalent throughout the nation, Krakauer documents the experiences of five victims: their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the skepticism directed at them by police, prosecutors, and the public; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them. These stories cut through abstract ideological debate about acquaintance rape to demonstrate that it does not happen because women are sending mixed signals or seeking attention. They are victims of a terrible crime, deserving of fairness from our justice system. Rigorously researched, rendered in incisive prose, Missoula stands as an essential call to action.  

Review:

An Amazon Best Book of April 2015: Toward the end of this powerful, absorbing book, best-selling author Jon Krakauer quotes a jury member as she sums up popular assumptions about sexual assault: “(1) A stranger jumps out from the bushes; (2) There is no (assault) unless the woman puts up a fight, to the death if necessary.” The truth is much different—assaults by acquaintances are by far the most common form of the crime. In Missoula, Krakauer examines one community’s struggle with such accusations, shining a bright light on a problem that frequently goes underreported and is all-too-easy to sweep under the rug. Not only must victims contend with the after-effects of the crime, they must often face doubting police, antagonistic lawyers, and the whims of popular opinion. Some of the reported assaults in Krakauer’s book involved members of the University of Montana’s beloved Grizzly football team. Using facts and documentation balanced by interviews and courtroom drama, he builds a gem of narrative nonfiction that will educate and incite. As the story builds, culminating in two different trials with two different outcomes, readers will find themselves consumed by the factual and emotional complexities of the subject. No page turner this year will be more incendiary than Missoula. – Chris Schluep

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