Thursday, June 30, 2016

Review: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer

Title: Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
Author: Jon Krakauer
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Doubleday
Publish Date: April 21, 2015
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents:

"In "Missoula," Jon Krakauer, author of other books like "Into the Wild," he explores a bunch of rape cases that occurred at the University of Montana. Although he looks at one place, he explores a lot of issues surrounding rapes at college campuses around the country. UM had a stunning number of rape accusations and Krakauer explores where these came from and for lack of a better phrase, the complete chaos in which they were dealt (or not so dealt with). I have really enjoyed some of Krakauer's other books and I have family that lives in Missoula so I was very drawn to this book. This is a very powerful, albeit disturbing read.

One thing that I have really liked about Krakauer's other books as well as this one is how he looks at a story from so many different angles. He doesn't jump to conclusions and he doesn't necessarily want his readers to jump to conclusions either. He does interviews and deep digs on both sides of the issue in this book and what he finds is completely mind boggling in my opinion. It is completely outrageous when culture seems to trump justice as it does in the issue of the Missoula rapes. It's truly sad!

Krakauer does a great job of bringing readers right into the fray of what happened in this small college town. His writing made me feel like I was experiencing the very real feelings and fears of the people in the book. The subject matter is difficult to read but oh so necessary. 


  1. I think he did a good job with this book but it amazed me that he seemed so surprised that kind of thing happens all the time.

  2. I'd read this one not too long ago. But to the contrary, I felt his presentation was pretty one-sided and he definitely had one point of view he wanted you to come away with. I don't doubt that any of the women in this book were victims, and I definitely think athletes get away with things others would not. But I also think in all fairness that there are times when guys are falsely accused and/or their is some regret after the fact. I think I'd have been more satisfied with this book if the author would have presented both sides. But reading at the end his reasons for writing this book, I do understand why he had a point of view he wanted to present.


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