Anne Diebel works as a private investigator with QRI in New York City. (February 2020)

IN THE REVIEW

The Good Guy

Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators

by Ronan Farrow
Ronan Farrow’s characters in Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators divide unmistakably into two groups. On the side of good: Farrow, his producer Rich McHugh, the accusers, miscellaneous celebrities and journalists who provided leads, everyone at The New Yorker, and two spies who came in from the cold—not to mention Farrow’s mother, his sister Dylan, and his partner Jonathan Lovett. On the side of evil is nearly everyone else. In the course of his reporting, Farrow discovers that one seemingly good person after another, along with the obvious baddies, are on Weinstein’s team in one way or another—to the point that he becomes “inured to people contorting their bodies into the shapes of gears for Harvey Weinstein’s machine.” This Manichaean scheme reflects the idea, suggested throughout the book and in its very title, that various parties engaged in a “conspiracy” to protect Weinstein and other predators. It also reflects Farrow’s presentation of himself as a singular hero.

Kidnapping: A Very Efficient Business

Jennifer Guinness, who had been kidnapped by the Provisional IRA, shortly after her rescue, Dublin, 1986

We Want to Negotiate: The Secret World of Kidnapping, Hostages, and Ransom

by Joel Simon

Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business

by Anja Shortland
Kidnapping for ransom is almost always a deliberative enterprise. Kidnappers perform research, assess risks, manage costs, and, if they’re in it for the long term, build reputations for orderly resolution. Some groups even develop an infrastructure to support their operations, though this is expensive and may increase the number of expectant beneficiaries (if operations are mounted on credit, for example). When kidnappers keep hostages for days, weeks, or months, most invest in keeping them alive (a corpse is not worth much, except in the Iliad) and in decent health.

Simple Answers to Profound Questions

Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel, creators 
of the Myers-Briggs personality test, early 1900s

The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing

by Merve Emre
“Personality is never general; it is always particular,” wrote Gordon Allport, a Harvard psychologist, in 1938. While “personality” once meant merely personhood, since the late eighteenth century it has referred to the qualities that make a person distinctive. Within the field of psychology, the term was initially used of abnormal …