She Said isn’t retailing extra helpings of warmed-over salacity. The authors’ new information is less about the man and more about his surround-sound 'complicity machine' of board members and lawyers, human resource officers and P.R. flaks, tabloid publishers and entertainment reporters who kept him rampaging with impunity years after his behavior had become an open secret. Kantor and Twohey instinctively understand the dangers of the Harvey-as-Monster story line — and the importance of refocusing our attention on structures of power ... [Weinstein's] loathsome and self-serving, but his psychology is not the story they want to tell. The drama they chronicle instead is more complex and subtle, a narrative in which they are ultimately not mere observers but, essential to its moral message, protagonists themselves ... Kantor and Twohey have crafted their news dispatches into a seamless and suspenseful account of their reportorial journey, a gripping blow-by-blow of how they managed, 'working in the blank spaces between the words,' to corroborate allegations that had been chased and abandoned by multiple journalists before them. She Said reads a bit like a feminist All the President’s Men. ... therapeutic scenes paste a pat conclusion onto a book that otherwise keeps the focus not on individual behavior or personal feelings but on the apparatuses of politics and power. At the least, though, the contrast throws into relief how un-pat, instructive and necessary She Said is. It turns out we did need to hear more about Weinstein — and the 'more' that Kantor and Twohey give us draws an important distinction between the trendy ethic of hashtag justice and the disciplined professionalism and institutional heft that actually got the job done.
She Said is first and foremost an account of incredible reporting, the kind that takes time, diligence and the kind of institutional support many newspapers can no longer afford. For journalist readers, it is a chance to watch experts at work. And this book is a rare view for nonjournalists into the exacting and rigorous process of quality reporting, and it acts as an implicit counterargument to rising, ambient skepticism of the press ... She Said is...a story of both tremendous cowardice and tremendous bravery ...But the book has a quiet countermelody: the way woman after woman sacrificed her privacy and safety to make the world better for each other. Kantor and Twohey are not excepted; their extraordinary care for their sources stands in contrast to the way other people treated these women, as disposable or unreliable ... We know how the story ends, but She Said is nonetheless deeply suspenseful, a kind of less swaggering All the President's Men. But the writing slows and becomes more contemplative toward the end of the book, where the writers explore the aftermath of their story and the beginning of the #MeToo movement.
... captivating ... This is a book about journalism, yet it reveals the power and limits of a cultural transformation too often captured in slogans and hashtags ... It is the quest for that proof — and overcoming the obstacles that Weinstein, his attorneys, corporate culture and the legal system threw in their way — that makes She Said an instant classic of investigative journalism. The book is packed with reluctant sources, emotional interviews, clandestine meetings, impatient editors, secret documents, late-night door knocks, toady lawyers and showdowns with Weinstein himself. The cumulative effect is almost cinematic, a sort of All the President’s Men for the Me Too era, except the men are women, and they don’t protect the boss, they take him down ... The reporting on Ford is intimate, but it feels more atmospheric compared with the reporters’ fast-paced chronicle of the Weinstein investigation, and the latter portions of the book flag ... a memorable book.
... fascinating detail and with a remarkably ego-free eye on the story’s enormous impact ... It is a binge-read of a book, propelled, for the most part, by a clear, adrenaline-spiking ticktock of how their stories came together, and studded with all manner of new astonishing details ... The stories Kantor and Twohey collected are familiar to anyone who followed the investigation, but to see them as they saw them, piling up in a sickening pattern from a wide array of women remains a gut-punch ... There are a few actual showdowns — Weinstein presents himself at the Times’ offices more than once — and plenty of pulse-racing excitement in She Said, but all of it is organic to the story rather than the storytellers ... By simply recounting their reporting, the two offer a masterful explanation of how a man like Weinstein is allowed to abuse his power and many women for so long in something approaching plain sight ... reminds us how difficult, tedious, frightening, frustrating and important the work of journalism remains ... a story like this proves the importance of skilled reporting and platforms that can afford to focus on months/years-long investigations ... not a perfect book. It wanders a bit toward the end.
... jarring, riveting and, for journalism, necessary. The book's most compelling aspect is old-fashioned reporting—knocking on doors, obtaining records, clandestine meetings, tapping sources—and is the structure that holds up this book ... The nuts and bolts reporting techniques add to the drama ... The mechanics of the deadline reporting, with the knowledge that Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker (also a Pulitzer-Prize winner for his work on this subject) wasn't too far behind them, also makes for a compelling narrative. Having this in all one place is overwhelming and historic and disturbing.
The final showdown with Weinstein is just one of several revelations in She Said that portend a much deeper story than the one which seized headlines two years ago ... stitches together remarkable elements previously unknown to the public ... depicts the incremental work of pulling at long-neglected threads as well as the institutional heft and individual bravery required to hold powerful abuses to account ... goes much deeper than a compelling play-by-play of nailing the first Weinstein story.
...if you read She Said seeking a full account of the sordid Weinstein tale, you will be disappointed. The book focuses more narrowly on how the authors broke the abuse tale and handled the victims. It is an account of investigative journalism—or the story behind the story—as much as gender politics, or a corporate exposé. Irrespective of this, it is often moving ... The story also reveals the difficult, sometimes dispiriting, nature of investigative journalism and highlights the difficult moral choices produced by investigations ... The book has one weakness: it underplays the degree to which America’s legal system prevented the Weinstein company board from acting earlier to stop his abuse ... This point about corporate governance might not excite much passion among the wider public, and nor does it seem to interest the authors; their coverage of Weinstein’s corporate structure feels sloppy and incomplete. But it matters ... She Said helps to start this process [of fighting gendered abuse]; but there is still much further to go.
Painstakingly researched, their account is less interested in Weinstein the Monster than the structures that enabled him to flourish ... It is a hymn to old-fashioned investigative reporting. Kantor and Twohey trawl through complex document trails, trying to find old non-disclosure agreements. They chase down tips and, more than anything, form relationships with sources, texting them dozens of times a day to coax them on to the record ... unique texture is what makes the Weinstein story ring true: how could so many people invent such similar lies? ... The second section of the book, describing the Kavanaugh hearings, is shorter and less satisfying, because the reporters were less involved. Nonetheless, it vividly depicts the shortcomings of a system that has no way to treat Blasey Ford’s accusations except as a partisan intervention ... The final section of the book is oddly dissonant ... Paltrow, meanwhile, is troubled by her unwitting complicity in Weinstein’s strategy ... The ambiguity of her story defines this book.
... a relatively straightforward account ... how Kantor and Twohey tracked people down and coaxed them into participating are the most involving aspects of the book ... If a bit stagey, the [last] chapter nicely reprises issues surrounding disclosure and the public scrutiny that follows.
She Said, as both the product of such journalism and an exploration of it, is by turns triumphal and cautionary. What does justice, for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse, really look like? How can wrongs that are so intimate be, in a public way, righted? Kantor and Twohey, writing a professional memoir that often reads as a riveting work of true crime, offer damning evidence for what is by now a familiar theme: a legal system that promises blindness and balance—the mechanisms through which truth might be finally determined—and too often comes up short ... while there is triumph in She Said...there is also a sense of necessary open-endedness. The book functions, as many critics have noted, as a feminist All the President’s Men. But while the earlier work offered the satisfactions of a singular climax—Nixon resigned, the end—She Said, to its credit, offers no such tidiness. It offers, on the contrary, something much more productive: a challenge. An opportunity. The trial here is still ongoing. The jury is still out. The journalist offers the evidence; it is for the rest of us to decide what the justice looks like.
... powerful insight is one good reason to read She Said. But for those who love real-life thrillers, this is the description that will make you want to read the book: 'All the President’s Men for the Me Too era.' Because this is a story of world-class reporting by world-class journalists --- it’s a master class in Getting the Story ... reveals the real story --- the one about 'gender, race, seniority and wealth' --- beat by beat, breath by breath ... By the time the article gets published, I had cheered enough to be exhausted. If only the book had ended there. It’s not the writers’ fault, but, alas, there’s more: a section on Christine Blasey Ford, which is so depressing I could hardly get through it. At the end there’s another section, 'The Gathering' --- at Gwyneth Paltrow’s home, Kantor and Twohey assembled many of the women they interviewed for a what-have-we-learned-where-are-we-now session. For all the smart talk and the determination to keep fighting, there’s no drama here. But on every other page… gold.
This approach could easily delve too much into minutiae, but Kantor and Twohey’s explanations are cohesive, concise, and fascinating. Weinstein’s efforts to silence the story are particularly nerve wracking, but the authors show well how the allegations gave momentum to the Me Too movement and empowered more victims of sexual assault to come forward with their stories of abuse ... A compelling accounting of the events that helped ignite Me Too. Highly recommended for readers interested in social justice and the reporting process.
... spectacular ... The book provides a platinum primer on investigative reporting as Kantor and Twohey take readers inside their responsible march to publication ... Threads of the Weinstein story had appeared in the New York Times since 2017, but not with the full wallop of this book, which reads like a John le Carré thriller, detailing egregious crimes, a tangled web of clues, frightened witnesses, cover-ups, bribes, threats, double-dealing lawyers, and cash payments in exchange for non-disclosure agreements. She Said makes All the President’s Men look like 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' .
Don’t look to Kantor and Twohey for philosophical theorizing or big-picture historical thinking. They’re too deep in the trenches for that. What they’ve given us instead is a fascinating, fluidly written primer on how they conducted their ground-breaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting on movie producer Harvey Weinstein and his alleged campaign of sexual terror, manipulation and intimidation ... very much a process book. It should be required reading in journalism programs for its insights into how reportorial grit and savvy can crack walls of denial – especially when neither time nor money is (much) at issue ... Though mostly written with cool-eyed detachment, the book is a stark, old-fashioned tale of heroism and villainy.
The dogged investigative journalism that brought down Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is spotlighted in this gripping memoir ... The authors deliver the sordid details but focus on the reporting ... a crackerjack journalistic thriller that becomes a revealing study of the culture that enables sexual misconduct.
In this imminently readable and fascinating account, the authors share an important story and bring to light a devilish problem that had largely been swept under the rug ... is at its best when telling the story of getting the story for The New York Times on movie producer Harvey Weinstein and his decades of debauchery with women under his sphere of influence and then buying their silence with confidential settlement agreements. That section of the book reads like a thriller, with an evil-doing villain covering his tracks, and the authors, as detectives, hot on his trail as they uncover his dirty secrets ... The book also covers the story of Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing and the testimony of his accuser Christine Blasey Ford. This portion is not as compelling a narrative as the Weinstein intrigue—primarily because the authors are spectators to those events, rather than participants as they were in the Weinstein story. Nevertheless, the Kavanaugh hearings even more clearly illustrate the obstacles faced by those who have been abused by the powerful, especially when the bully pulpit of the President of the United States can be enlisted to intimidate.