Krakauer tells the story of a rape epidemic in Missoula, Montana from 2010-2014, centered on students at the University of Montana, and involving several members of the U of M football team. He presents the detailed stories of a few victims of these sexual assaults and then examines the challenges they face as they seek justice from a system which appears rigged against them. The book works to debunk myths associated with acquaintance rape and call attention to the plight of victims in Missoula and around the country.
A well written book on disturbing topics (rape and the failure of our “justice system”) rendered especially odious since the horrific stories of Missoula could just as easily have come from any other college town in America. Krakauer capitalizes on the suspense inherent in the courtroom drama of the various hearings and trials. He also tackles the political wrangling to preserve the inertia which gums up the wheels of justice. I wish he would have focused more on the local reporter who broke the stories of the various sexual assaults and created public awareness and pressure for change. Alcohol almost always plays a role in these attacks by creating situations where victims find themselves vulnerable to the predators in their midst, and the attackers appear to use alcohol as an excuse to exercise themselves of responsibility for their actions. While distressing to read, I highly recommend this book for anyone currently living in a college town or moving to one in the near future.