Jon Krakauer's 'Missoula,' about alleged campus rape, draws critical praise

Reviewers are calling the book 'meticulously reported' and 'the right book at the right time.'

'Missoula' is by Jon Krakauer.

Jon Krakauer’s new book “Missoula,” which focuses on alleged rapes that occurred at the University of Montana, is receiving critical praise.

“Missoula,” which came out on April 21, was not supposed to be published for some time, according to the New York Times, but Krakauer decided to release it after Rolling Stone published and then retracted a story about alleged sexual assault at the University of Virginia. 

Amazon named “Missoula” as one of the best books to be released this month. “It is a story that we've heard versions of at other colleges,” Amazon editorial director Sara Nelson said. “[I]t's about the epidemic.”

Meanwhile, Shelf Awareness editor Marilyn Dahl called “Missoula” “the right book at the right time.” 

“[It’s] an indictment of one American town emblematic of many,” Dahl wrote. “A passionate, maddening jeremiad.” 

USA Today critic Claudia Puig gave the book three-and-a-half stars out of four.

“Meticulously reported, fascinating and deeply disturbing,” Puig wrote. “By probing the specific, Krakauer illuminates upsetting generalities…. Krakauer … artfully keeps the book from becoming a compendium of troubling facts. At times, the legal wrangling may seem technical, or even esoteric, but no more than a complicated episode of ‘Law & Order.’ One of the most intriguing parts of the book is Krakauer's exploration of how student athletes are cosseted and privileged, insulated from repercussions when they commit crimes…. Krakauer's precise language serves only to further bolster his book's stark premise.” 

Meanwhile, Boston Globe writer William McKeen called the book “excellent.... [Krakauer] gathers relevant research and debunks scores of misconceptions about rape.” New York Times writer Janet Maslin wrote although the book “would have benefited from more of Mr. Krakauer’s thoughts and presence,” nonetheless, “Missoula” is “as crowded and painful as it is eye-opening.”

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