A meticulously documented, essential work.

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CATCH AND KILL

LIES, SPIES, AND A CONSPIRACY TO PROTECT PREDATORS

The award-winning journalist sharply illuminates how he exposed Harvey Weinstein as a serial sexual predator.

Along the way, Farrow (War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence, 2018)—a New Yorker contributing writer who has won the Pulitzer Prize, National Magazine Award, and George Polk Award—offers a primer on investigative journalism, a profession that he is well on the way to mastering. For this book, he writes, he drew “on interviews with more than two hundred sources, as well as hundreds of pages of contracts, emails, and texts, and dozens of hours of audio.” As the son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, the author has wrestled for years with allegations of sexual assault in his own family, leveled by his sister Dylan against their father. During his investigation of Weinstein—and later, multiple high-level sexual predators within NBC—Farrow had to fend off complaints that he was too close to the story. Along the investigative path, the author sought insight from his sister and relied on the steadfast support of his partner. Though Farrow and his producer believed their pursuit of Weinstein had the blessing of the top brass at NBC, they gradually learned that Weinstein was using his massive influence to sabotage the investigation. Consequently, the author took his work to the New Yorker, where editor David Remnick provided a venue for him to present his story. Ultimately, Weinstein was arrested. In addition to chronicling his work on the Weinstein project, Farrow also discusses the transgressions of Donald Trump and Matt Lauer. At times, the book is difficult to read, mainly because Weinstein, Trump, Lauer, and other powerful men victimized so many women while those who knew about the assaults stayed quiet. Nonetheless, this is an urgent, significant book that pairs well with She Said by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. Both books are top-notch accounts filled with timeless insights about investigative journalism, on a par with classics from Seymour Hersh and Bob Woodward.

A meticulously documented, essential work.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-48663-7

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2019

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A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular...

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WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR

A neurosurgeon with a passion for literature tragically finds his perfect subject after his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

Writing isn’t brain surgery, but it’s rare when someone adept at the latter is also so accomplished at the former. Searching for meaning and purpose in his life, Kalanithi pursued a doctorate in literature and had felt certain that he wouldn’t enter the field of medicine, in which his father and other members of his family excelled. “But I couldn’t let go of the question,” he writes, after realizing that his goals “didn’t quite fit in an English department.” “Where did biology, morality, literature and philosophy intersect?” So he decided to set aside his doctoral dissertation and belatedly prepare for medical school, which “would allow me a chance to find answers that are not in books, to find a different sort of sublime, to forge relationships with the suffering, and to keep following the question of what makes human life meaningful, even in the face of death and decay.” The author’s empathy undoubtedly made him an exceptional doctor, and the precision of his prose—as well as the moral purpose underscoring it—suggests that he could have written a good book on any subject he chose. Part of what makes this book so essential is the fact that it was written under a death sentence following the diagnosis that upended his life, just as he was preparing to end his residency and attract offers at the top of his profession. Kalanithi learned he might have 10 years to live or perhaps five. Should he return to neurosurgery (he could and did), or should he write (he also did)? Should he and his wife have a baby? They did, eight months before he died, which was less than two years after the original diagnosis. “The fact of death is unsettling,” he understates. “Yet there is no other way to live.”

A moving meditation on mortality by a gifted writer whose dual perspectives of physician and patient provide a singular clarity.

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8129-8840-6

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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