Top positive review
Disturbing and well worth reading
Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2014
I used to be a fan of Duke University and then I read "It's Not About the Truth.".
This was an emotional true story that was well told and included many memorable characters, heroes and villains. In this book conflicts run from the elite Ivy envious Duke University and the local Durham residents, from the black woman accuser and white male defendants, from liberal academia to team athletes. The inherent resentment of self proclaimed intellectuals whose very salaries and existence expanded from the revenue of major sports created (not lacrosse, football and basketball). Many academics looked condescendingly on the student athlete. That resentment simmered until this false claim of rape gave them an excuse to boil over into the perfect storm of false accusations.
The actions in the book ultimately lead to the truth that the accused were all innocent. It also resulted in many financial settlements to avoid the embarrassment of lost law suits.The book portrays Duke University as containing many shills interested in their own welfare and not the students they are paid to teach.There are few leaders but many politicians running the campus, with their own political agenda, who could care less for the students.
There were many who could be villains in this book, but the main culprit was the ultimately disgraced DA. His lies to the court and withholding evidence will cause many in the future to unfortunately doubt prosecutor integrity. He behaved so badly he was disbarred and the man who appointed him apologized for having done so. The DA acted without facts, he never even interviewed the accuser until too late. Political gain drove him to drive for prosecution through public pandering. He hid evidence that would have exonerated the accused. A disgrace no doubt, yet he received no prison term despite his proven disregard for the law. The 88 Duke professors who basically agreed in the guilt of the players (and took out an ad implying such) despite no evidence demonstrated to many in academia the outcome when a lack of balanced views on campuses results in such one sided anti-student behavior.
The coach seemed a likely hero (he did co-write the book), and his leadership and loyalty to his players was repeatedly proven. Unlike the academics, he didn't "throw the players under the bus." The heroes included the lacrosse players who stood stalwart against the accusations.The coach's wife and daughter were also heroic in their strength against all sorts of attacks in their personal lives.
Despite all the inappropriate behaviors in this mess, the only person who lost his job was the coach. Huh? A travesty no doubt, but on follow up I read he has moved forward and continued his positive successful coaching career elsewhere.
We can take away from this very good book that the wealthy can afford a lengthy defense, but what about the rest of us? Will we encounter a DA like this and be overwhelmed by their actions? Will our collegiate children be intimidated by politically one-sided professors, so they fear to speak out? In this book we see some professors that teach their own agenda and administrators who look out for their own jobs. Will universities that claim they have their students education as a priority eventually experience a decrease in contributions that support these inappropriate behaviors?
Only after facing huge financial damages from the coach did Duke apparently apologize and settle out of court.
"It's Not about the Truth" keeps the reader engaged and emotionally involved. Anger and frustration come through in every chapter. While the topics aren't new, it is a reminder that weasels exist despite the level of education or legal title. And heroes are formed by what they do, not by their social status or age. The included letters by the coach's daughter and wife are powerful. Reading how the Group of professors and top administrators try to defend their original biased actions simply exposes how they have fallen. And with no accountability whatsoever.
Maybe this could happen anywhere. But these events in this location with these law enforcers, professors and administration was truly as the author describes, "the perfect storm." Scary, but true. A book that is disturbing and well worth reading.