Start by Believing
The definitive, devastating account of the largest sex abuse scandal in American sports history-with new details and insights into the institutional failures, as well as the bravery that brought it to light.Start by Believing reveals the win-at-all-costs culture in elite athletics and higher education that enabled a quarter century of heinous crimes. For decades, osteopathic physician Larry Nassar built a sterling reputation as the go-to doctor for America's Olympians while treating countless others at his office on Michigan State University's campus. It was largely within the high-pressure world of competitive gymnastics that Nassar exploited young girls, who were otherwise motivated by fear and intimidation, sexually assaulting hundreds of them under the guise of medical treatment. >In Start by Believing, John Barr and Dan Murphy confront Nassar's acts, which represent the largest sex abuse scandal to impact the sporting world. Through never-before-released interviews and documents they deconstruct the epic institutional failures and individuals who enabled him. When warnings were raised, self-serving leaders chose to protect their organizations' reputations over the well-being of young people. Following the paths traveled by courageous women--featuring a once-shy Christian attorney and a brash, outspoken Olympic medalist--Barr and Murphy detail the stories of those who fought back against the dysfunction within their sport to claim a far-from-inevitable victory. The gymnasts' uncommon perseverance, along with the help of dedicated advocates, brought criminals to justice and helped fuel the #MeToo revolution.

Start by Believing Details

TitleStart by Believing
Author
ReleaseJan 14th, 2020
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316532150
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Sports, Feminism

Start by Believing Review

  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to get into this book but sadly it was kind of a slog to try to get through. It's dense and hard to follow, and the authors seem more interested in the perpetrators than the women who shut them down.
  • Jarod
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve followed this case pretty closely and I was hoping to learn something new here, but it’s just a lengthy rehash of what has already been reported elsewhere. The writing is bland and didn’t inspire me to keep reading. Was hoping for more.
  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    Got an advance copy of this book and was disappointed. It’s like a bombardment of facts that had already been reported before, poorly written.
  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh. The first chapter of this book is a biography about Larry Nassar's life, which pretty much says it all about this book: the writers care more about the criminals than the survivors. There's also a disturbingly condescending, clueless tone towards the survivors. The writers seem surprised to learn that it's difficult for survivors to talk about their abuse. These guys are really out of their depth with this topic.
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  • Kristine Olsen
    January 1, 1970
    This isn't the first book I've read that has been written about the Larry Nassar disaster, that being said, I did learn some things I hadn't known in other accounts. I didn't know the exactly lengths the institutions responsible for the well-being of the athletes went to covering up the abuse and other abuses going on in the sport. I didn't know how many instances where there were reports generated about Nassar's conduct and how those reports were seemingly swept under the rug. Definitely many This isn't the first book I've read that has been written about the Larry Nassar disaster, that being said, I did learn some things I hadn't known in other accounts. I didn't know the exactly lengths the institutions responsible for the well-being of the athletes went to covering up the abuse and other abuses going on in the sport. I didn't know how many instances where there were reports generated about Nassar's conduct and how those reports were seemingly swept under the rug. Definitely many opportunities to put the breaks on the abuse and they were seemingly ignored. My admiration for Rachael Denhollander and all of her fellow survivors continues to grow. It just boggles my mind that it took so long and so many victims to bring Nassar to the justice he so richly deserved. I liked the authors' approachable and matter-of-fact writing style. The pacing was just right and they clearly showed their investigative chops with the facts they had gathered. Overall, this was an extremely informative book and a great addition to the growing cannon of materials regarding this whole sordid mess.
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a fascinating factual account of the Nassar abuse scandal (scandal is too gentle a description). The two women the book focuses on are treated with incredible respect, and the crimes Nassar and others committed, and still others allowed to continue for decades, are described explicitly but not gratuitously. All told, a well-reported story.
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  • Maddie
    January 1, 1970
    A lengthy and laborious read that doesn’t offer any new facts in the case. Strangely distant and impersonal. I recommend Rachel Denhollander’s “What is a Girl Worth” and Abigail Pesta’s “The Girls.”
  • Chrissy
    January 1, 1970
    This was a book that made me sick to read, but too important to look away from. It painfully and painstakingly depicts how this predator operated in his world, destroying the innocence of hundreds of young girls. Perhaps this can help people to see the red flags, and believe the vulnerable when they speak their truth because this kind of culture of abuse is probably much more common than anyone realizes.
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  • Joe
    January 1, 1970
    A good history of the Nasser abomination I really think this is a good, well documented companion to the Rachel Denhollender book, “How much is a little girl worth?” You can really see here the entire chessboard of what led to and enabled the abuse, and the efforts by a noble few like Rachel and John Manly and Jamie Denscher to bend the arc of justice towards a successful outcome.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    This review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. The views in this review are my own."Start By Believing" is a powerful investigation of the system that produced and protected child abusers of all kinds--sexual, emotional, physical. The book dives deep--this isn't just a story about Larry Nassar, but about how the gymnastics community had been on notice for a long time that there were abusive practices in place. The book (with a very clear nod to previous public critics, including, but not This review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley. The views in this review are my own."Start By Believing" is a powerful investigation of the system that produced and protected child abusers of all kinds--sexual, emotional, physical. The book dives deep--this isn't just a story about Larry Nassar, but about how the gymnastics community had been on notice for a long time that there were abusive practices in place. The book (with a very clear nod to previous public critics, including, but not limited to, Joan Ryan and Dominique Moceanu) shows us the persistent moral failure of USA Gymnastics to protect its athletes. Against a backdrop where young women and girls were being emotionally destroyed, starved, and not allowed time to recover from devastating injuries, it is no wonder that they were easy prey for the vile tactics of Larry Nassar. The authors show us as well the many women whose courage and empathy ultimately took down Nassar and his closest protectors. What I particularly appreciated was a note at the very end--how, in interviewing a survivor, the writers realized suddenly that these women had come forward while knowing fully well that this step would make them relieve their hell and reawaken their suffering. The authors' awareness of the survivors' strength, their testimony to the many times these women tried to gain justice, and their ultimate message to the world--to believe victims--makes the book a powerful read.
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  • Gina M. Schade
    January 1, 1970
    While not quite as good as What Is A Girl Worth? (which was one of the best books of 2019 and I highly recommend), this book was very well written and explained the culture that allowed Larry Nassar to get by with his abuse for so long. Even if you have read several books about this atrocity, you will learn something new and gain a new perspective from this book.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent read about a frustrating and infuriating situation. There are lessons here about the patterns of behavior by institutions that allow these monsters to lurk amongst us. The writers did an excellent job relaying the bravery and the pain of the women who exposed these truths.
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  • Martina
    January 1, 1970
    The books by women on the Nassar scandal are so much better. These guys fundamentally don't get it, and it shows in their uninformed writing about the survivors. I recommend reading "The Girls" and "What Is A Girl Worth?"
  • Nan
    January 1, 1970
    Great investigative reporting of the story.
  • Robb
    January 1, 1970
    This should be mandatory reading for all parents with children in competitive sports. PERIOD!!!
  • Darren Larson
    January 1, 1970
    An unbelievable horror story shining some much-needed light on the failed systems and twisted priorities of the modern era. Cudos to the strong, courageous young women who found their voices.
  • Rachel Lentsch
    January 1, 1970
    Best summary of the nassar trial yet, took me through the journey of following the case all over again. The most background of all the player good and bad I read so far.
  • Jennifer Schultz
    January 1, 1970
    Read if you: Want a hard-hitting, poignant, infuriating, and moving exploration of the Larry Nassar/USA Gymnastics abuse crisis. In the past year or so, several books have been published regarding the USA Gymnastics abuse crisis. John Barr and Dan Murphy (both ESPN reporters) present a succinct, devastating, and revealing account of how this crisis was preventable, ignored, and excused for years, This is a must read for anyone who wants a further explanation of the crisis. The 2020 Summer Read if you: Want a hard-hitting, poignant, infuriating, and moving exploration of the Larry Nassar/USA Gymnastics abuse crisis. In the past year or so, several books have been published regarding the USA Gymnastics abuse crisis. John Barr and Dan Murphy (both ESPN reporters) present a succinct, devastating, and revealing account of how this crisis was preventable, ignored, and excused for years, This is a must read for anyone who wants a further explanation of the crisis. The 2020 Summer Olympics will be the first Olympics in which everyone has full knowledge of the inexcusable actions of USA Gymnastics, so renewed attention on these crimes will be likely; this would be an excellent primer beforehand. Many thanks to Hachette Books and Netgalley for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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