Start by Believing

Larry Nassar's Crimes, the Institutions that Enabled Him, and the Brave Women Who Stopped a Monster

by John Barr, Dan Murphy

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780316532150
  • 9780316532136
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.

  • Hachette Books; January 2020
  • ISBN: 9780316532136
  • Title: Start by Believing
  • Author: John Barr; Dan Murphy
  • Imprint: Hachette Books
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9780316532150
  • 9780316532136

In The Press

"[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


About The Author

John Barr has worked as an investigative reporter for ESPN since 2003. In 2019 his coverage of the Larry Nassar scandal was honored with a Peabody Award and the IRE Sports Investigations Award. In 2011, his report on human trafficking during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa won a National Edward R. Murrow Award. Prior to joining ESPN, Barr produced and reported stories for The National Geographic Channel, Court TV, and, for more than a decade, in local television. A native of London, Ontario, Canada. He lives just outside of Philadelphia.

Dan Murphy is an investigative reporter at ESPN. He was honored with a Peabody Award and the IRE Sports Investigations Award in 2019. His coverage of college athletics and broader issues in the world of sports has appeared on ESPN's digital, television and print outlets. Based now in Michigan, Murphy is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.