Missoula

  • by Jon Krakauer
  • Narrated by Mozhan Marno, Scott Brick
  • 11 hrs and 58 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From best-selling author Jon Krakauer, a stark, powerful, meticulously reported narrative about a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana - stories that illuminate the human drama behind the national plague of campus rape.
Missoula, Montana, is a typical college town, with a highly regarded state university, bucolic surroundings, a lively social scene, and an excellent football team - the Grizzlies - with a rabid fan base.
The Department of Justice investigated 350 sexual assaults reported to the Missoula police between January 2008 and May 2012. Few of these assaults were properly handled by either the university or local authorities. In this Missoula is also typical.
A DOJ report released in December of 2014 estimates 110,000 women between the ages of 18 and 24 are raped each year. Krakauer's devastating narrative of what happened in Missoula makes clear why rape is so prevalent on American campuses and why rape victims are so reluctant to report assault.
Acquaintance rape is a crime like no other. Unlike burglary or embezzlement or any other felony, the victim often comes under more suspicion than the alleged perpetrator. This is especially true if the victim is sexually active, if she had been drinking prior to the assault - and if the man she accuses plays on a popular sports team. The vanishingly small but highly publicized incidents of false accusations are often used to dismiss her claims in the press. If the case goes to trial, the woman's entire personal life becomes fair game for defense attorneys.
This brutal reality goes a long way toward explaining why acquaintance rape is the most underreported crime in America. In addition to physical trauma, its victims often suffer devastating psychological damage that leads to feelings of shame, emotional paralysis, and stigmatization. PTSD rates for rape victims are estimated to be 50 percent - higher than soldiers returning from war.

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, April 2015 - Jon Krakauer is one of the masters of narrative nonfiction, and I'm thrilled to see his talents focused on such an important topic. Missoula is Krakauer's shocking investigation into the epidemic of rape on college campuses, specifically at the University of Montana. In Missoula, home of the university, 350 sexual assaults were reported between Jan 2008–May 2012. Krakauer explains why rape is such an underreported crime, and why investigations don't necessarily lead to justice. The producers of this book made the right decision in casting Mozhan Marno (Hausfrau) to narrate alongside Scott Brick – providing a critical female perspective to this topic. Missoula will be a tough listen at times, but I'd call it required listening for everyone concerned about this topic. —Sam, Audible Editor

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What the Critics Say

"...Mozhan Marno proves a great choice. Her commanding tone and cadence keep the flow between paragraphs. Where the text suggests it, she imbues hints of emotion without being heavy-handed. She also provides vocal characterizations that are in line with Krakauer's portrayals. Her most powerful delivery comes in women's firsthand accounts of their sexual assaults." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Without Consent

"Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town" (2015) is a meticulously researched, carefully written, engaging listen. It's also relentlessly horrifying and enraging.

Jon Krakauer is an outstanding investigative journalist and sometimes literally puts himself into the story, as he did in his 1997 book, "Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster." Although Krakauer must have been present for part of the judicial proceedings he described in the book, he isn't part of "Missoula." That seems to have allowed him an objectivity that's often missing in college acquaintance rape reporting.

Krakauer tells the story of several young women who reported rapes by university football players to the University of Montana and to the Missoula Police Department. The Missoula County Attorneys' Office was tasked with prosecuting those cases. At the same time these young women filed complaints, the United States Department of Justice was secretly investigating handling of sexual violence cases in Missoula.

Even though Krakauer's writing has been pretty even handed in the past, I expected a smear of UM, its football team, and its athletic department. I was surprised to find a lot to admire in how the school administration handled the situation, especially former Dean of Students Charles Couture. University students and the town in general were sometimes rabidly on the side of the accused, but Couture followed national standard guidelines and procedures in handling the complaints. The Missoula PD missed the mark from time to time, but seemed to try.

The Missoula County Attorney's Office - well, that's another story entirely. Kirsten Pabst, an attorney who likes to boast of her 99% success rate, was in charge of the unit that prosecuted sex crimes. Well, if you only prosecute the 12% of the cases that are sure winners, you'll get a good ratio. That's not the worst of it. Pabst left the MCAO in 2012 and worked as a criminal defense attorney for a year and a half. Her only major trial was defending one of the accused rapists. After that, she was elected to head the MCAO, where she's back in charge of prosecuting sex crimes.

No, I am not kidding.

When I was fact checking to write this review (writing Audible reviews is just a hobby, but it's a serious hobby), I found an article in The Missoulian, called "Pabst made last-ditch effort to delay publication of 'Missoula'" (April 15, 2015). The Missoulian said that Pabst tried to convince the publisher, Doubleday, that the book was libelous. She wasn't successful, and a week letter, she published a rebuttal letter on the Montana Public Radio website, mtpr dot org, "Missoula County Prosecutor Kirsten Pabst's Statement on Jon Krakauer's Book" (April 22, 2015). One quote? "The author wrote on the assumption that a prosecutor’s job is to blindly seek convictions." Krakauer's discussion of the duties and responsibilities of criminal prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys was thorough, nuanced and worthy of a law school class in Ethics.

Past's rebuttal mentions, "100% of the time defendants who can be convicted at trial will either plead guilty or be taken to trial" demonstrates that Pabst makes herself judge and jury, both of victims and of the press. Krakauer and his publishers ignored the MCAO's threats and published anyway, and that's good.

The book is extremely graphic at times. One of my teenagers inadvertently overheard a few lines and was very disturbed. Mozhan Marno narrates, and I do think a woman reader was a good choice.

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- Cynthia

Krakauer, A Crusader for Justice

Krakauer does it again and sticks his nose, where most people don't care to venture. Krakauer is one of the bravest men I know. He is a true investigator who takes on the people, everyone else is scared to touch. Just as I finished this book up today, the news has stories about Baylor, a Baptist college. An independent investigation found football players raping young women and coaches covering for them. This story is about Missoula, but they are not alone and it may be the norm for most Universities. The rapes are sickening, but even more gut wrenching is how the victims are treated, when they try to get help and get this stopped. The response of the football fans, is unacceptable. People who don't know the victim or the football player, automatically blame the victim. The fans hate the victims for messing up their football team. It is no wonder most rapes don't get reported. No matter what happens to the football players, these victims will serve a life sentence.

Krakauer took on the Mormons in UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN. He took on the military in WHERE MEN WIN GLORY: THE ODYSSEY OF PAT TILLMAN. He took on charities in THREE CUPS OF DECEIT. You can watch the feel good, get good ratings, stories on the news or you can pick up the latest Krakauer book and find out what is really going on in this world.

He also took on Mt. Everest in INTO THIN AIR and it is one hell of an adventure story.
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- Jim "The Impatient"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-21-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio