In Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (Little, Brown, $30), New Yorker writer Ronan Farrow recounts his part in exposing the sexual assault and harassment allegations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein, along with the institutional resistance, the attempted intimidation, and the threats he faced in doing so. The book, which contains additional revelations, is not just a work of investigative journalism, but is itself a compelling and instructive spy story. Farrow writes about not only the extreme tactics taken by Weinstein—what Farrow calls a “full-on espionage operation”—to stymie the coverage, but also describes actions by executives at NBC News, where Farrow initially pursued the story, to keep it from being broadcast. He speculates that NBC’s behavior was motivated by a desire to protect news anchor Matt Lauer, who himself was subsequently accused of sexual misconduct and let go. A compelling, instructive examination of how power works and can corrupt.
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey are the two New York Times reporters who (along with Ronan Farrow, writing separately in The New Yorker) revealed to the world two years ago the extensive sexual abuse committed by movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Their book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement (Penguin Press, $28) is a riveting, revealing account of how Kantor and Twohey developed that blockbuster, Pulitzer Prize-winning story and its consequences in spurring the #MeToo movement. Their success in documenting Weinstein’s predator behavior, nailing a high-impact story that others before them had tried but failed to confirm, provides a great case study of the kind of tough, exacting effort that goes into first-rate investigative journalism. It also stands as a powerful counterargument to the skepticism about and denigration of news media today.
Ibram X. Kendi founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, whose stated mission “is to convene and team up varied specialists to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice.” Kendi’s new book, How to Be an Antiracist (One World, $27), is a continuation of both this project and his first book. While Stamped from the Beginning followed the lives of four historical individuals, Kendi here turns to autobiography to illustrate the unconscious pitfalls of racist thought, outlining a “how to” for gaining self-awareness of one’s own racist attitudes and thinking. Deploying history and political theory along with memoir, Kendi has devised a powerful tool for exploring the racism/antiracism dichotomy through multiple social dimensions, exposing the notion of a middle ground between them as an illusion. Whether you agree or disagree, Kendi’s ideas are bold and fresh, and sure to provoke discussion and self-reflection.