The Book Was Better: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow vs. Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes (HBO)

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: Movie producers are perverts? Who knew? Except literally everyone.

Quick synopsis: The story of how Ronan Farrow took down Harvey Weinstein.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Ronan Farrow is also a lawyer and clearly an overachiever.

Fun Fact for History Nerds: Weinstein actually reached out to Woody Allen to try and have the story about Weinstein’s abuses quashed.

Book vs. Movie: I should admit that when the Weinstein story started to explode a few years ago, and I heard Ronan Farrow was behind it, I immediately thought this was one of those “nepotism gets someone on TV” situations.

The moral of the previous sentence is that I am an idiot.

I read the book first. Catch and Kill is truly amazing in multiple ways. First, Farrow is not where he is because of nepotism. He has done the work and he is good at it. He walks step-by-step through the investigation with diversions to such people like Matt Lauer who would have his own scandal. The book reads easily because you can actually feel that Farrow is not impressed with himself and focuses more on the victims.

What I also found refreshing is that Farrow is not afraid to make himself look bad. He remembers how much he failed his sister, he talks about how whiny he could be with his fiancée (who sounds hilarious, by the way), and that he thought about giving up multiple times. The book is fantastic. It won the Pulitzer Prize, and it should have.

The TV series is good, don’t get me wrong. However, it misses so much of what made the book a page turner. Be honest with yourself. If you won’t read the book, then fire up your HBO subscription (that you bought to watch Wonder Woman 1984, you can’t fool me) and watch it. The story is important and well told.

Verdict: The book is better, and a must read. If you won’t read it, then watch the series.

If You Liked This Try:

  • Adam Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost
  • Patrick Radden Keefe, Empire of Pain and Say Nothing
  • John Carreyrou, Bad Blood
  • Harry Markopolos, No One Would Listen
  • David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Sheri Fink, Five Days at Memorial
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The Book Was Better: Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow vs. Catch and Kill: The Podcast Tapes (HBO)
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