The Price of Silence

The Price of Silence

The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities

Book - 2014 | First Scribner hardcover edition
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An authoritative account of the Duke lacrosse team rape case illuminates the ever-widening gap between America's rich and poor, and demonstrates how far the powerful will go to protect themselves.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2014
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781451681802
1451681801
9781451681796
1451681798
Characteristics: xiii, 653 pages ; 24 cm

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oquequefoi Apr 20, 2014

Imho Cohan very definitely takes sides—which is why the book fails on so many levels. It is 600 pages cobbled together with excerpts from contemporary media accounts, hyped opinion pieces, and interviews with Mangum and Nifong. The last two shouldn’t be considered, in view of their convictions, as the most reliable of witnesses, so I expected Cohan to present a rebuttal, or, at least interview the opposing side for balance. Nope, no interviews with the falsely-accused, their families, the defense attorneys, the state bar, or the attorney general; no one at all from the other side. (And the adjectives used for the defense attorneys often degrade them in subtle ways.) Cohan frequently makes no effort to contradict Nifong or point out the fabulous (i.e., "fable-loaded") nature of some of his attempted explanations. By using contemporary media accounts to cover various incidents, the book only succeeds in reproducing the same factual errors and distortions from those accounts (a period of hype and witch-hunt coverage). Many aspects of these events are therefore missed or wrongly reported. Even to suggest, as Cohan does, that there may still be doubt as to whether or not some kind of assault happened, and that maybe, just maybe, some kind of DNA connection might be inferred (which theory was vetted and rejected long ago), and to leave that doubt in the reader's mind, reduces his book from a poorly researched account to one which results in reaching (or suggesting) a false conclusion. If this kind of sloppy research, clumsy patching together of disparate media accounts, and sly innuendo, counts for history, then I suppose we may expect future "non-fiction" entries in the field of showing that the Scottsboro Boys were wrongly exonerated; that Dreyfus actually spied for the Kaiser, and that Nicholas Romanov was a great benefactor of the Jewish people. Lastly, six hundred pages can weight a lot, but books are meant to be read, not weighed.

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