Soulless by Jim DeRogatis


The essential account of R. Kelly’s actions and their consequences, a reckoning two decades in the making   In November 2000, Chicago journalist and music critic Jim DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that alleged R. Kelly had a problem with “young girls.” Weeks later, DeRogatis broke the shocking story, publishing allegations that the R&B superstar and local hero had groomed girls, sexually abused them, and paid them off. DeRogatis thoug...

Details Soulless

Release DateJun 4th, 2019
PublisherHarry N. Abrams
GenreNonfiction, Crime, True Crime, Music, Biography, Mystery

Reviews Soulless

  • Jennie
    Truly disturbing. DeRogatis started reporting on Kelly's sexual abuse of women and children back in 2000 and the book tracks that history in full up until the present day. Not exactly leisure reading, but important and emotional. DeRogatis for the most part tells the history well. He gets a little repetitive in a couple of places and I found myself wishing he would trust the reader more to remember details. Then again, there are lots of details i...
  • Ian Alexander
    Incredible reporting coupled with Jim's compelling turn of phrase. This is the definitive account of what is hopefully the end of R. Kelly. Jim never gave up on this story, ran down all of the leads and tells a story that champions journalism and its heroes, in this case poor, black girls that no one but Jim gave a damn about. Well done!
  • Brandon Forsyth
    I don’t use the word “heroic” very often, but it’s hard to think of another adjective to describe Jim DeRogatis’ reporting on the R. Kelly story.
  • Amar Pai
    Salute to Jim DeRogatis for doggedly pursuing this story over the years. His reporting was brave, and he never gave up on the girls. R. Kelly has been molesting, controlling and abusing young girls for many years-- a seemingly endless parade of young girls-- and he's done it out in the open, defiantly.. A lot of the credit for finally ending this nightmarish situation goes to DeRogatis. Hopefully R. Kelly will face real consequences now that the ...
  • Sionainn Ditto
    One of the earliest memories I had of R. Kelly was when I was around 7/8 years old in 2003/2004 and I was playing at a friend’s house. We played Totally Spies and ran around her house pretending to be undercover. Occasionally we would stop and eat snacks in front of the TV. I don’t remember us watching MTV very often, but for whatever reason it was on and various artists songs were playing in the background as we swallowed Goldfish by the han...
  • Ryan
    The last thing I expected was to read a book about R. Kelly this year. I've never listened to his music. I wouldn't even be able to identify him in a line-up. That's how little I know or care about R. Kelly.Nevertheless, I had a birthday gift certificate to spend at Barnes & Noble and saw this book on the New Releases table. I picked it up and read the cover. Turns out, R. Kelly has a long multi-decade history of abusing underage girls. This book...
  • Cara Deane
    Soulless: The Case Against R Kelly by Jim DeRogatis. Man.. I read this book this weekend. As riveting as Surviving R Kelly was— this book is basically a written documentary but with 20+ years of an investigative journalist stalking R Kelly. Deservedly. Unapologetically. This is WELL written and the author is at times a kick in the pants. But what he details in its pages, is a cautionary tale to all— that we can’t just turn the other cheek a...
  • Nick Spacek
    absurdly well-written, exhaustively researched, and personal enough to make a connection with the reader, but keeping derogatis from being the book's focus. i burned through this book in 24 hours and feel gutpunched after reading it.
  • Lexi
    Audiobook. This could have been so unwieldy given the author spent 19 years reporting on this disgrace. Instead, it’s clear, moves quickly but with detail and is an incredible and convincing work (not that you wouldn’t already be convinced, hopefully). Really excellent piece of work. I like that producers left in several takes where De Rogatis doesn’t pretend he wasn’t impacted by these women, and his voice breaks a little when speaking a...
  • Laura
    For the exhaustive effort and work this author has put in for the last nineteen years investigating allegations about R Kelly, I give the book a million stars. This author is a true hero to me- never giving up on this story and these women. I did find the book a little long with a little too much detail but I can’t bear to decrease the rating because this man listened to women being abused and freaking did something about it! I would highly rec...
  • Phil Overeem
    You might think you don't need or want to read this, but you do. It's an important work of journalism, and of cultural criticism. Plus, it is brave as can be--and dedicated to the truth as rationally as it can be described. And it is a book of this moment.
  • Kerry
    “The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women”. This is an excellent report of one journalist’s attempts over a 20 year period to reveal the truth about R. Kelly.
  • Sarah Paolantonio
    After watching all of Surviving R. Kelly when I heard about this book I knew I would buy and read it. I want to support the spreading of this story as much as I can as an individual. The story is familiar to me. I had been following along since Jessica Hopper interviewed DeRogatis for The Village Voice years ago. I have a vivid memory of being at a party at my sister's house when "Ignition (Remix)" came on and her and her college friends made a s...
  • Lacey
    "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.""Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly" lays out the crimes against R. Kelly in a straightforward and riveting way. I hesitate to say that journalist John DeRogatis broke the story about R. Kelly; from what he wrote, R. Kelly's illegal predilections were an open secret among his family members and acquaintances for decades. That was, in fact, one of...
  • Mark Mellon
    I’m mostly familiar with the author from his biography of Lester Bangs (my favorite rock critic in Creem back in the ’70’s) and other writing about rock’n’roll. Let me confess that, old, white fossil that I am, I don’t know anything about R. Kelly’s music. DeRogatis covered him, however, as part of his beat as the music critic on a Chicago newspaper. Hometown boy Kelly was a prominent part of DeRogatis’s coverage, a talented young...
  • Emily
    Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly is the culmination of nearly two decades of reporting by journalist and music critic Jim DeRogatis. It functions as a recap of R. Kelly’s history of abusing underage girls, an examination of the industry machine that enabled and insulated him, and a behind-the-scenes look into DeRogatis’ reporting on the subject. It is also definitely a victory lap for the author, although, since he spent the last twenty ye...
  • Bradley
    In November 2000, DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that would change his life. The fax alleged that R&B singer R. Kelly had a problem with underage girls which immediately sparked an investigation by DeRogatis that has been ongoing for nearly two decades. As the journalist who broke that story and has consistently been covering it for 19 years, DeRogatis documents his journey proving that Kelly had exhibited consistent predatory behaviors agai...
  • John Spiller
    If I rated this book on the tenacity of Jim DeRogatis' efforts to uncover and reveal R. Kelly's serial victimization of powerless girls, then this book would be 5-stars. But to put it in terms DeRogatis would understand, that would be like saying "We Are The World" is a great song because it was so well-intentioned. I applaud DeRogatis for stepping outside his comfort zone -- he was a music critic not an investigative journalist -- to pursue a st...
  • SuZanne
    This nonfiction book, many years in the making, is shocking not just in its well-researched and well-documented revelations of decades of sex crimes by famous R&B and hip-hop star R. Kelly, but also in its revelations of the disturbing simultaneous changes in the journalism industry. For me, once a photojournalist and newspaper editor in Southern California, it was disheartening to read this book. How many decades it took to bring R. Kelly to tri...
  • Kassy Harris
    This was a hard read. Well-written and interesting, the topic was what made Soulless so difficult to get through. DeRogatis is the original reporter who helped break the R. Kelly story and it really shows in this book. DeRegotis has been there since the beginning and it's obvious how much he cares about the case. The R. Kelly story is brutal, disheartening, and unfortunately, not a surprise. However, what was surprising to me was the extent of ...
  • Mandy
    By the end I understood why there was so much self-insert by the author, but it was very distracting to read, having no idea who he was prior to this. The book is interesting and had a lot in it, but it was pretty repetitive and I skimmed some LONG descriptions of just people around Kelly's inner circle that really didn't have to be included. I understood why he wanted to tell us that he first watched one of the child pornography videos on his da...
  • Woodstock Pickett
    Very disturbing, but also very engrossing. And I am encouraged that excellent investigative journalism is not dead, not just yet. The author eventually was able to work with Buzzfeed News, after his print journalism employer struggled to stay afloat. I am in my mid seventies, a basic white bread woman from suburbia and after my teenaged kids were teens no longer, I lost track of current music - R&B, hip hop, rock, all of it. So I didn't know anyt...
  • Chris
    Holy shit. So many young women (and girls, just teenage girls) were victimized by this superstar and no one would listen; no one cared. But journalist Jim DeRogatis listened to them. He heard their stories, he verified their accounts as thoroughly as he could, and he reported what happened. And he continued reporting even when the world turned a blind eye on the abuse and laughed at the "pee tape." (He points out that it is, in fact, the "rape ta...
  • Savanna
    This was a pretty rough book. The saving grace of it all is that I think DeRogatis is an excellent reporter, and the story was clearly meant to inform and enrage, not titilate or scandalize. Also, the audiobook is good for this one because DeRogatis reads it himself, and it's a bit fun to hear the subtext of "no one paid attention to me as I busted my ass reporting this for years, but we got justice in the end" that permeates his voice. If you li...
  • Madison Lialle
    Truly the hardest book I have ever read. It was heartbreaking and emotional, and I was beyond frustrated with the world at numerous points in the book. Definitely not a book to read if you want to have a fun time, but it is a necessary read to understand the horrors of how long this man has continued to harm young black girls and women across several decades. DeRogatis aims to uplift the voices of Kelly's victims and their families, and I believe...
  • Sus Faherty
    feels very weird to put a star rating on a book like this. It was incredibly well written -- I was worried that after almost 20 years of reporting, DeRogatis would get bogged down in the details, but it kept a good pace throughout most of the book. The beginning, although important, was a little slow (it was about Kelly's childhood and DeRogatis's background), but once it picked up I couldn't put it down. I've been fascinated by R Kelly's crimes ...
  • Simone
    "The saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody."I don't quite know what inspired me to decide to read this book. It is hard going for sure. And yet, looking is exactly what is required here. Far too many people are content to look away. Considering that this spanned almost 20 years, I thought DeRogatis did a great job of keeping the narrative streamlined and focused. He also, more than anything...
  • Courtney
    This is a really important book that closely examines how R. Kelly's celebrity and wealth has protected him from legal action and public scrutiny for decades. It also speaks to domestic abuse and the modus operandi of a pedophile. DeRogatis gives a chilling account of the damage R. Kelly has done to his own community as well as communities all over the country. He does get repetitive at times but for the most part, this is a very well written boo...
  • Christian Holub
    A really important book built on years of reporting and interviews with many of the women allegedly hurt by R&B superstar R. Kelly over the years. "Do we hold art accountable for the artist's behavior?" is a debate that has and will continue forever, but the lease you can do is familiarize yourself with the available information. Here's my EW interview with DeRogatis about the book: