Summary

From best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana - stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape.
Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, with a highly regarded state university, bucolic surroundings, a lively social scene, and an excellent football team - the Grizzlies - with a rabid fan base.
The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Few of these assaults were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this, Missoula is also typical.
A DOJ report released in December of 2014 estimates 110,000 women between the ages of 18 and 24 are raped each year. Krakauer's devastating narrative of what happened in Missoula makes clear why rape is so prevalent on American campuses and why rape victims are so reluctant to report assault.
Acquaintance rape is a crime like no other. Unlike burglary or embezzlement or any other felony, the victim often comes under more suspicion than the alleged perpetrator. This is especially true if the victim is sexually active, if she had been drinking prior to the assault - and if the man she accuses plays on a popular sports team. The vanishingly small but highly publicized incidents of false accusations are often used to dismiss her claims in the press. If the case goes to trial, the woman's entire personal life becomes fair game for defense attorneys.
This brutal reality goes a long way toward explaining why acquaintance rape is the most underreported crime in America. In addition to physical trauma, its victims often suffer devastating psychological damage that leads to feelings of shame, emotional paralysis, and stigmatization. PTSD rates for rape victims are estimated to be 50 percent, higher than soldiers returning from war.
©2015 Jon Krakauer (P)2015 Random House Audio
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Critic reviews

"...Mozhan Marno proves a great choice. Her commanding tone and cadence keep the flow between paragraphs. Where the text suggests it, she imbues hints of emotion without being heavy-handed. She also provides vocal characterizations that are in line with Krakauer's portrayals. Her most powerful delivery comes in women's firsthand accounts of their sexual assaults." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ian Frost on 24-05-15

Exceptional


A must read. A detailed and thoughtful analysis of the impact of non stranger rape, and how the system fails victims.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Miss M J Tomlinson on 05-05-18

Disturbing but brilliant !

I agree with other reviewers that young men should listen to this before headfing off to college. It's shocking that the justice system seems to favour the perpetrator rather than the victim. Hopefully this book will draw attention to a flawed legal system. I was riveted throughout and thought the narration excellent. In order to digest more of the facts I would listen again.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Cynthia on 02-05-15

Without Consent

"Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" (2015) is a meticulously researched, carefully written, engaging listen. It's also relentlessly horrifying and enraging.

Jon Krakauer is an outstanding investigative journalist and sometimes literally puts himself into the story, as he did in his 1997 book, "Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster." Although Krakauer must have been present for part of the judicial proceedings he described in the book, he isn't part of "Missoula." That seems to have allowed him an objectivity that's often missing in college acquaintance rape reporting.

Krakauer tells the story of several young women who reported rapes by university football players to the University of Montana and to the Missoula Police Department. The Missoula County Attorneys' Office was tasked with prosecuting those cases. At the same time these young women filed complaints, the United States Department of Justice was secretly investigating handling of sexual violence cases in Missoula.

Even though Krakauer's writing has been pretty even handed in the past, I expected a smear of UM, its football team, and its athletic department. I was surprised to find a lot to admire in how the school administration handled the situation, especially former Dean of Students Charles Couture. University students and the town in general were sometimes rabidly on the side of the accused, but Couture followed national standard guidelines and procedures in handling the complaints. The Missoula PD missed the mark from time to time, but seemed to try.

The Missoula County Attorney's Office - well, that's another story entirely. Kirsten Pabst, an attorney who likes to boast of her 99% success rate, was in charge of the unit that prosecuted sex crimes. Well, if you only prosecute the 12% of the cases that are sure winners, you'll get a good ratio. That's not the worst of it. Pabst left the MCAO in 2012 and worked as a criminal defense attorney for a year and a half. Her only major trial was defending one of the accused rapists. After that, she was elected to head the MCAO, where she's back in charge of prosecuting sex crimes.

No, I am not kidding.

When I was fact checking to write this review (writing Audible reviews is just a hobby, but it's a serious hobby), I found an article in The Missoulian, called "Pabst made last-ditch effort to delay publication of 'Missoula'" (April 15, 2015). The Missoulian said that Pabst tried to convince the publisher, Doubleday, that the book was libelous. She wasn't successful, and a week letter, she published a rebuttal letter on the Montana Public Radio website, mtpr dot org, "Missoula County Prosecutor Kirsten Pabst's Statement on Jon Krakauer's Book" (April 22, 2015). One quote? "The author wrote on the assumption that a prosecutor’s job is to blindly seek convictions." Krakauer's discussion of the duties and responsibilities of criminal prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys was thorough, nuanced and worthy of a law school class in Ethics.

Past's rebuttal mentions, "100% of the time defendants who can be convicted at trial will either plead guilty or be taken to trial" demonstrates that Pabst makes herself judge and jury, both of victims and of the press. Krakauer and his publishers ignored the MCAO's threats and published anyway, and that's good.

The book is extremely graphic at times. One of my teenagers inadvertently overheard a few lines and was very disturbed. Mozhan Marno narrates, and I do think a woman reader was a good choice.

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302 of 319 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 06-06-15

Safety

More than the horrific details that I expected in a book about violence, I was greatly taken aback by the almost equally disturbing responses of the adults who supported the perpetrators of rape--most of whom had confessed. If I can raise my son to commit himself to making the world safer for women, I will consider it an accomplishment.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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