The go-to book about a horrific series of crimes.




Larry Nassar, the Michigan State University doctor who sexually abused hundreds of girls and young women—mostly gymnasts—will remain in prison until he dies. Peabody Award–winning ESPN journalists Barr and Murphy illuminate how he managed to assault unsuspecting victims for decades.

Recent books on the Nassar case have included Abigail Pesta’s The Girls and Rachael Denhollander’s What Is a Girl Worth? While those accounts provide urgent reading about the massive sex abuse scandal, this one features reporting so deep, broad, and incisive that it is unlikely to be surpassed. The patients Nassar abused were mostly preteens and teenagers, many of them virgins, who sometimes failed to recognize that legitimate treatment by Nassar should never have included the vile, penetrative actions he took. The few victims who tried to express their discomfort before 2016 suffered a different sort of abuse: being disbelieved by their parents, their gymnastics coaches, university administrators, police detectives, and even fellow gymnasts. Nassar was mild-mannered and married with children, and he had earned a reputation as a healer. However, it’s unquestionable that the doubters should have known better, and the authors provide copious evidence that shows negligence on the parts of countless individuals. Nassar might have continued his assaults for years were it not for a 2016 exposé by three newspaper reporters at the Indianapolis Star, a lawyer in California who was already suing abusive Catholic priests, and a police detective at Michigan State University. The graphic evidence and the attitudes of the enablers are almost certain to produce rage among readers, but the book is a must-read “about power and control.” Ultimately, write the authors, “this remarkable group of survivors took back control, spoke truth to power, toppled the leadership of [MSU and USA gymnastics], and, in so doing, empowered countless others.”

The go-to book about a horrific series of crimes.

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53215-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Readers would do well to heed the dark warning that this book conveys.


The nameless resister inside the White House speaks.

“The character of one man has widened the chasms of American political division,” writes Anonymous. Indeed. The Trump years will not be remembered well—not by voters, not by history since the man in charge “couldn’t focus on governing, and he was prone to abuses of power, from ill-conceived schemes to punish his political rivals to a propensity for undermining vital American institutions.” Given all that, writes the author, and given Trump’s bizarre behavior and well-known grudges—e.g., he ordered that federal flags be raised to full staff only a day after John McCain died, an act that insiders warned him would be construed as petty—it was only patriotic to try to save the country from the man even as the resistance movement within the West Wing simultaneously tried to save Trump’s presidency. However, that they tried did not mean they succeeded: The warning of the title consists in large part of an extended observation that Trump has removed the very people most capable of guiding him to correct action, and the “reasonable professionals” are becoming ever fewer in the absence of John Kelly and others. So unwilling are those professionals to taint their reputations by serving Trump, in fact, that many critical government posts are filled by “acting” secretaries, directors, and so forth. And those insiders abetting Trump are shrinking in number even as Trump stumbles from point to point, declaring victory over the Islamic State group (“People are going to fucking die because of this,” said one top aide) and denouncing the legitimacy of the process that is now grinding toward impeachment. However, writes the author, removal from office is not the answer, not least because Trump may not leave without trying to stir up a civil war. Voting him out is the only solution, writes Anonymous; meanwhile, we’re stuck with a president whose acts, by the resisters’ reckoning, are equal parts stupid, illegal, or impossible to enact.

Readers would do well to heed the dark warning that this book conveys.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1846-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

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A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.


Straight talk to blacks and whites about the realities of racism.

In her feisty debut book, Oluo, essayist, blogger, and editor at large at the Establishment magazine, writes from the perspective of a black, queer, middle-class, college-educated woman living in a “white supremacist country.” The daughter of a white single mother, brought up in largely white Seattle, she sees race as “one of the most defining forces” in her life. Throughout the book, Oluo responds to questions that she has often been asked, and others that she wishes were asked, about racism “in our workplace, our government, our homes, and ourselves.” “Is it really about race?” she is asked by whites who insist that class is a greater source of oppression. “Is police brutality really about race?” “What is cultural appropriation?” and “What is the model minority myth?” Her sharp, no-nonsense answers include talking points for both blacks and whites. She explains, for example, “when somebody asks you to ‘check your privilege’ they are asking you to pause and consider how the advantages you’ve had in life are contributing to your opinions and actions, and how the lack of disadvantages in certain areas is keeping you from fully understanding the struggles others are facing.” She unpacks the complicated term “intersectionality”: the idea that social justice must consider “a myriad of identities—our gender, class, race, sexuality, and so much more—that inform our experiences in life.” She asks whites to realize that when people of color talk about systemic racism, “they are opening up all of that pain and fear and anger to you” and are asking that they be heard. After devoting most of the book to talking, Oluo finishes with a chapter on action and its urgency. Action includes pressing for reform in schools, unions, and local governments; boycotting businesses that exploit people of color; contributing money to social justice organizations; and, most of all, voting for candidates who make “diversity, inclusion and racial justice a priority.”

A clear and candid contribution to an essential conversation.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58005-677-9

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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