Monday, October 9, 2017

John Krakauer. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town. Doubleday, 2015. 416 p. $17. 

Jon is a respected journalist and well-known author.  I confess that he's one of my favorite journalist writers even though a lot of folks think that he's full of shit because of his Everest book (which I also love).

This is a fantastic book, but boy, it's a difficult read. This is perhaps the most difficult book that I've ever read. It is difficult because it affords us a very frank look directly into the face of evil. Krakauer investigates the culture of rape, impunity, and football in a college town. It's disturbing to read the detailed accounts of various rapes -- sometimes gang rapes -- but even more disgusting is the indifference of the community, law enforcement, and the district attorney's office regarding the victims. 

The greatest value of this book is the investigation into the trauma of the rape victim, explaining why victims may not immediately know that they have been raped (the incident is so traumatic) and why rape victims are so vulnerable to being ignored by prosecutors (the nature of consent and questions concerning character in the context of parties, alcohol, or drug use).