In 2017, a routine network television investigation led Ronan Farrow to a story only whispered about: one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers was a predator, protected by fear, wealth, and a conspiracy of silence. As Farrow drew closer to the truth, shadowy operatives, from high-priced lawyers to elite war-hardened spies, mounted a secret campaign of intimidation, threatening his career, following his every move, and weaponizing an account of abuse in his own family.
All the while, Farrow and his producer faced a degree of resistance they could not explain — until now. And a trail of clues revealed corruption and cover-ups from Hollywood to Washington and beyond.
This is the untold story of the exotic tactics of surveillance and intimidation deployed by wealthy and connected men to threaten journalists, evade accountability, and silence victims of abuse. And it’s the story of the women who risked everything to expose the truth and spark a global movement.
I struggled to become invested at the start of Catch and Kill due to the initial onslaught of information and unfamiliar names. A few chapters in, once I had a handle on the story and the major players, I was hooked. Not only is this critical journalistic work, but it’s a powerfully written and super interesting read. Non-fiction can often be dry and difficult to get through, which is certainly not the case here.
I’m not going to lie – I came across this book in a very oblique manner. I’m an avid Pod Saves America listener but only caught up recently after starting the podcast from the beginning sometime last year. Listening to Jon interview Ronan and bringing up the marriage proposal in the book, I added the book to my “Want to Read” list. I am now a Ronan Farrow fan in his own right and only wish I had read this book sooner; it was incredibly well written and researched and told an important story. I also enjoyed the Jon (and Pundit!) cameos throughout.
Catch and Kill is an essential read for everyone; it explains how power, money, and fame cause an imbalance, allowing for the escalation of the many situations found throughout this book. It is sickening, and several times, reading the survivors’ stories, I felt physically ill. I appreciate the work Farrow completed here; the many instances of mounting social and work pressures to give up on this story add to the gratitude I feel that he persevered and completed his task. He does an incredible job keeping the book’s focus on the survivors while also allowing the context of his life and reporting work to move the story along.
Read this book if you are a woman because it shows you that you are not alone and that you, too, can be strong. It provides context for when women choose to stay silent and when they choose to speak out, and it has nothing to do with your strength, power or worth.
Read this book if you are a man because you have no idea how much power that alone gives you. Even those who would never use their power to violate others may be unaware of how their actions are unknowingly supporting others who do.
Finally, everyone should read this book because anyone, regardless of gender, can be victimised by those who have power over them, and no one deserves that.