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Publisher's Summary

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.

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 to fuel the #MeToo revolution. Start by Believing reveals the win-at-all-costs culture in elite athletics and higher education that enabled a quarter century of heinous crimes.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 John Barr, Dan Murphy (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

""[A] hard-hitting expose.... Foregrounding several women who finally brought charges, Barr and Murphy vividly convey the sense of confusion and helplessness that beset victims.... The result is a searing indictment." (Publishers Weekly)

"[Start by Believing] features reporting so deep, broad, and incisive that it is unlikely to be surpassed...the book is a must-read." (Kirkus Reviews [starred review])

"This is a horrifying story, and an important one, powerfully and carefully told by journalists John Barr and Dan Murphy. Their meticulously reported narrative presents a riveting account of the courage of these heroic women who will forever define the beginnings of the #MeToo movement." (Christine Brennan, best-selling author and USA Today national sports columnist) 

What listeners say about Start by Believing

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Pronunciation Matters

The first rule of narration should be to make sure you are pronouncing things correctly, ESPECIALLY when saying the names of real people and places. It's very distracting to be listening to a book and hear a name botched so badly that, had I not known the reference, I would not have known who they were talking about. This will impact my future listening, as I will not be listening to anything else read by this narrator due to the fact that I cannot trust her pronunciations.
The mispronunciations distracted from the narrative as a whole, so it is hard to say how I felt about the book in general. Thankfully I was already familiar with the story, so I was not depending on this book to teach me anything new.

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powerful

This is a deeply moving and powerful story that sends a message of hope and solidarity to all those whom have experienced trauma. A must read for all who work with victims and survivors.
"Little girls do not remain small forever, they grow into powerful women".

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Very well done

This book satisfied some the curiosity left to me as I encountered this story. It’s a deeper journey into the worlds of the multiple players: those in involved in the institutions that allowed this to happen for so long; those who prosecuted Nassar; and some of the courageous souls who stepped forward to turn their experience of abuse into the possibility of a better world. Good research into facts and experiences of woven into a story for those who are interested and care. Thank you

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Really compelling story from start to end

I had listened to a few podcasts about this case and read in the news. I thought this might be an extension of what I had already listened to or read, but I was wrong. The authors did a great job of telling the full story and digging into the history from many perspectives. This is a great audiobook!

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A book everyone should read or hear

With only one exception this book is superb. It provides an insightful, thought-provoking, accurate, and gut-wrenching history of the evil of Larry Nassar and of his enablers, and an inspiring story of many of his survivors. If you can't buy it, find it in a library and read it or listen to it.

(The exception is the decision by the authors/editors/publishers to provide a misleading excerpt from Rachael Denhollander's victim impact statement, which does not include any of her words about her faith and God's grace. I can, almost, imagine semi-plausible reasons why no direct excerpts were included; but I cannot imagine any legitimate reason for not at least including a summary sentence.)

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a must read for those advocating for survivors

this book was very enlightening and showed how adults are in such denial about child sexual abuse. the red flags were there for 20 plus years and adults painted each flag green and continued to put kids in harms way. we have to do better. signs r there!

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  • Jackie
  • 02-14-20

Excellent telling of a tragic secret

Once sgain, survivors....most....of whom you can't help but admire deeply for their courage and, well, also the other side of the coin....Trump-like people in power who disgrace themselves. Super well written and excellent reading by the speakers.