An urgent, timely examination of a frightening type of abuse of power.

When Tanya Selvaratnam met Eric Schneiderman, they fell quickly and effortlessly in love—fueling each other’s growing political ambition. But their power dynamic soon took a dark turn, as Schneiderman criticized Selvaratnam and began to try to control her, even telling her that he would have to kill her if they broke up. Sex turned frighteningly violent. At a friend's urging, she opened up to a domestic violence expert, who confirmed what Selvaratnam, on some level, already knew: she was in an abusive relationship. Eric’s behavior mapped a pattern: entrap, isolate, demean, control, abuse. Selvaratnam considered avenues for protection—an ethics complaint, a civil claim, going to the police. But her abuser was the top law enforcement officer in the state. She feared he would be tipped off, and that he would crush her.

Selvaratnam’s story is harrowing, but not as rare as you might think. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. A combination of memoir, reporting, and research, Assume Nothing is an urgent, timely examination of a frightening subgroup of abuse of power. It tells Selvaratnam’s incredible story, while offering tools and solutions for a problem that persists, dangerously, behind the closed bedroom doors of people we know and love.

“Courageous and terrifying… a tour-de-force of self-revelation and, ultimately, of redemption."

Andrew Solomon, National Book Award-winning author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon

“Read it. It has the power to change how we all think—and what we put up with.”

Cindi Leive, journalist and senior fellow, USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism

“Assume Nothing is a gut-wrenching, personal tale told by one of the bravest women of the #MeToo era.” 

Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money and Staff Writer for The New Yorker 

“This book is a necessary and important addition to the conversation around #MeToo—and a gift to women everywhere.”

Danzy Senna, author of CAUCASIA and NEW PEOPLE

“Crystal prose, precise and calm, grants Selvaratnam’s narrative of manipulative abuse, a profound ethical clarity. A grave book, a powerful and essential book.”

Kiran Desai, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Inheritance of Loss

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Carolyn O'Keefe
Deputy Director of Publicity
Henry Holt and Company/ Metropolitan Books
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Photographs by Thomas Dozol and Béatrice de Géa