From Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who broke the news of Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and abuse for the New York Times, comes the untold story of their investigation and its consequences for the #MeToo movement.
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.