Book review: Ronan Farrow’s Catch and Kill reads like a real life thriller

by Padraig Conlon

Harvey Weinstein, the once powerful Hollywood mogul, was sentenced to 23 years in prison last week.

This sentencing followed last month’s decision by a New York jury to find him guilty of rape and sexual assault against two women.

In his excellent book, Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow recounts his investigation into Weinstein as the reader is brought along on a story of cover-ups, corruption and, ultimately, courage.

It all began in 2016 with Farrow investigating Weinstein for NBC News in a freelance capacity.

Farrow alleges that Harvey Weinstein used his knowledge of sexual misconduct allegations against NBC Today show host Matt Lauer to pressure the network into dropping the investigation.

When NBC refuse to publish his report, Farrow takes his story to The New Yorker magazine, which publish his investigative article detailing the sexual allegations against the Hollywood producer.

Catch and Kill follows the publication of She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the New York Times journalists who shared a Pulitzer Prize with Farrow in 2018 for breaking the Weinstein story.

The Weinstein allegations of abuse by numerous women, whose careers were in ways directed by him, help kickstart the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.

In the book, Farrow chronicles the extraordinary steps Weinstein and his legal team take to try get him to give up the investigation.

One disturbing incident documented is when Weinstein employs former Mossad private investigators to follow Farrow, which leaves the writer in genuine fear for his life.

The behaviour described in Catch and Kill is deeply distressing, and it’s not just the horrific abuse that leaves the reader shocked.

What is just as frightening is how so many people in the media, legal and PR industries knew what was going on, and helped to cover it all up.

This is the story of how wealthy, rich men can threaten people and silence victims of abuse.

It’s also the story of several brave women who risked everything to expose the truth and launch an international movement.

I really enjoyed this superbly written, well-researched book, which is more like a thriller or a spy novel than investigative journalism.

Related Articles