Book About Campus Rape in Montana Disquiets Missoula


A small town in Montana is bracing itself for “Missoula,” a book about campus rape written by author Jon Krakauer.

While some are encouraging the release of the book and want to get the stories of campus rape out, others are dreading what the book will reveal about the town they live in. Many local bookstore owners are not expecting to receive copies of the book prior to the release date and do not have any plans to schedule local readings with the author.

“I would push to have some sort of a community forum to discuss things, positive things, that came out within the last three years,” Barbara Theroux, of Fact & Fiction, said.

The book pertains to investigations of rape that occurred in the city in 2011, which caught the attention of the nation as discussions ensued concerning the way authorities treat victims of sexual assault in the state, as well as alleged attackers.

As a result of the federal investigation, the University of Montana, city police and the Missoula County Attorney’s Office agreed to change the way crimes involving rape are handled, as well as the treatment of victims and the prosecutions.

Recent independent audits have shown that positive changes have indeed been made, with the school becoming a model for how rape cases are handled on campus, reports Jack Healy for The New York Times.

The book is set to discuss “a series of sexual assaults at the University of Montana,” with a focus on the nature surrounding the handling of rape cases on college campuses across the nation, which the book describes as a “national plague.”

For the most part however, the book’s publishers are keeping quiet concerning the contents of the book.

“Jon Krakauer has been doing research for this book in Missoula and elsewhere since 2012, he has interviewed numerous individuals with direct knowledge of the cases he has written about, and his investigation was uncommonly thorough,” said the spokesperson. “Beyond that, we are not commenting about the nature of the book or its publication prior to its April release date.”

This silence has many in the city concerned, as they fear that the book will portray a one-sided story that is unfair to local authorities and the Missoula Police Department, many of whom were not interviewed, writes Keila Szpaller for The Helena Independent Record.

“Unfortunately, I suspect that much like the DOJ investigative findings, his work will be crafted as mostly one-sided,” Muir wrote of the U.S. Department of Justice. “The DOJ, as you may know, never interviewed even a single (Missoula Police Department) officer or detective about any single specific sex crime reported to the MPD.”