Scary! Fantastic! Disgusting! Riveting! Hats off to Ronan Farrow for his excellent work, dogged research and risking his own career–and maybe his life– to find out the truth and make it public as he outed predatory behavior at the top of the food chain. A real expose, Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators (Little, Brown & Company) chronicles the sexual abuse of women by powerful men and how their companies/corporations enable them to continue on no matter what. The focus of the book is Harvey Weinstein, the famed produced of such award winning films as “Sex, Lies, and Videotape,” “The Crying Game,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love,” and “The King’s Speech” though Farrow also includes several chilling chapters about Matt Lauer, who co-hosted NBC’s Today show from 1997 to 2017, and also was a contributor for Dateline NBC. We see the savage effects on the victims–loss of jobs and financial stability, physical and emotional harm–and how disposable they are to the powerful who then move on to their next victims. Farrow’s book reads like a fast-paced mystery/thriller with hired spies, tapped phones, double and triple crosses, stalking by hired thugs and threats. Sadly, it’s all true.
As he investigated Harvey Weinstein’s “business” practices, Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and director Woody Allen, also had to re-evaluate and come to terms with his thoughts and feelings about his own sister’s alleged abuse when young by her powerful and famous father. Allen later married another one of Ronan’s sisters who he had adopted. At the time, he was 56 and his daughter was 21. Farrow famously tweeted in 2012 “Happy father’s day — or as they call it in my family, happy brother-in-law’s day.” All this adds to the multi-layered account of Farrow’s pursuit of the Harvey Weinstein story and his sympathy and understanding of the traumatized women and their fears of speaking out against the famed producer. Farrow accurately portrays the emotionality and fears even famous actresses such as Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino and Rose McGowan experience as they balance the career-killing aspects of going up against such a powerful man–one who has former Israeli operatives working for him as well as the best of lawyers to counter attack any woman who talks–and the need to tell their stories as well as protect other women by revealing the truth.
Farrow’s list of accomplishments is long and extremely impressive. According to his Amazon biography, he currently is a contributing writer to The New Yorker, where his investigative reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize for public service, the National Magazine Award, and the George Polk Award, among other honors. He previously worked as an anchor and investigative reporter at MSNBC and NBC News–a job he lost because of the network’s pushback against his pursuing the Weinstein story and his print commentary and reporting has appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.
Before his career in journalism, Farrow served as a State Department official in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. Farrow has been named one of Time Magazine‘s 100 Most Influential People and one of GQ‘s Men of the Year. He is a graduate of Yale Law School and a member of the New York Bar. He recently completed a Ph.D. in political science at Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives in New York.
Catch and Kill has received numerous awards and accolades including Washington Post Best Nonfiction Book of 2019, Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2019, Chicago Tribune Best Book of 2019 and Fortune Best Business Book of 2019.