Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Nonfiction Review: She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey

Title: She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement
Author: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
Year Published: 2019


Genre: Adult nonfiction
Pages: 313
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): USA (CA, DC), UK

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): For many years, reporters had tried to get to the truth about Harvey Weinstein’s treatment of women. Rumors of wrongdoing had long circulated. But in 2017, when Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey began their investigation into the prominent Hollywood producer for the New York Times, his name was still synonymous with power. During months of confidential interviews with top actresses, former Weinstein employees, and other sources, many disturbing and long-buried allegations were unearthed, and a web of onerous secret payouts and nondisclosure agreements was revealed. These shadowy settlements had long been used to hide sexual harassment and abuse, but with a breakthrough reporting technique Kantor and Twohey helped to expose it. But Weinstein had evaded scrutiny in the past, and he was not going down without a fight; he employed a team of high-profile lawyers, private investigators, and other allies to thwart the investigation. When Kantor and Twohey were finally able to convince some sources to go on the record, a dramatic final showdown between Weinstein and the New York Times was set in motion.

Nothing could have prepared Kantor and Twohey for what followed the publication of their initial Weinstein story on October 5, 2017. Within days, a veritable Pandora’s box of sexual harassment and abuse was opened. Women all over the world came forward with their own traumatic stories. Over the next twelve months, hundreds of men from every walk of life and industry were outed following allegations of wrongdoing. But did too much change—or not enough? Those questions hung in the air months later as Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court, and Christine Blasey Ford came forward to testify that he had assaulted her decades earlier. Kantor and Twohey, who had unique access to Ford and her team, bring to light the odyssey that led her to come forward, the overwhelming forces that came to bear on her, and what happened after she shared her allegation with the world.

In the tradition of great investigative journalism, She Said tells a thrilling story about the power of truth, with shocking new information from hidden sources. Kantor and Twohey describe not only the consequences of their reporting for the #MeToo movement, but the inspiring and affecting journeys of the women who spoke up—for the sake of other women, for future generations, and for themselves.


Review: This is the April book choice for the Santa Barbara Independent newspaper's online book club. I would not have chosen to read this book on my own, so am glad I was given a nudge because it's the kind of book I find interesting. It would make a good movie along the lines of All the President's Men. Two journalists chasing down a story and telling it well suits me and my reading.

The authors won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism in 2018 for their work and it shows. They are so thorough and I found it amazing to read the lengths they went to in order to get this story. I enjoyed reading about the journey to truth as much as the stories of the women themselves.

To go up against Harvey Weinstein, Brett Kavanaugh, and Donald Trump in addition to the US Senate and society at large takes guts and to hear how these women came to a place where they were able to go public, to hear how they were treated, and to see how they are doing on the other side is inspiring.

Challenges for which this counts: 
This book counts for the Popsugar challenge because the book has only words on the cover, no images or graphics.

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