The first book released on the now exposed Duke Rape Hoax, It's Not About The Truth, written jointly by Don Yaeger and former Duke Lacrosse Coach Mike Pressler, is a fast, enjoyable read that provides some fascinating insights into just what was going on behind the scenes during this year long ordeal.
For the layman who may have taken a passing interest in the Duke Hoax, this book is a treasure trove of information, clearly documented and easy to follow from beginning to end. It concisely describes the egregious actions of D.A. Mike Nifong, most notably his outrageous media tactics. The uninitiated reader will enjoy learning the backdrop of this compelling story that unfolded in Durham that Spring.
For the "Blog Hooligan" or "Duke Hoaxphile," the book provides a quick compendium of previously availble information that most who've followed the case know by heart. But it also is replete with unique insights and explosive facts not previously revealed, making it a very worthwhile read for even the most discerning "Blog Hooligan."
Where It's Not About The Truth succeeds wonderfully is in truly portraying the real tragedy of this cruel Hoax - the destruction it wrought on these young men, their families, and the family of Coach Mike Pressler in particular.
In heart-wrenching detail, the book offers us a rare and clear glimpse into the true victims of the Hoax. It paints a picture of a respected, highly successful coach and his family, suddenly ensnared in a chaotic situation beyond their worst nightmares. It illustrates the behind the scenes wrangling and maneuvering engaged in by the Duke administration, most especially those in the athletic department, who gradually caved, lied to and ultimately abandoned the players, their coaches, and their families, leaving them to face the wolves alone.
There are poignant and genuine interviews with many of the team members, as well as their families, describing personal anecdotes that never came to light in the media's rush to extract the juiciest and more outlandish storylines of the Hoax. It is also peppered with occasional bits of humor by the players and some biting sarcasm by the author.
Most notably, what the reader will take away from this book is the dignity and class, strength and courage exhibited by Mike Pressler and his family who had everything they had loved, believed in, and been a part of for 16 years torn from them in a couple of weeks of incredible hell and torment. Among those delivering the blows were a cruel news media, twisted protesters, unseen hatemongers, and, worst of all, the university they had dearly loved and faithfully served.
It is a moving tribute to a man and his family, who came through the fire, in this reader's eyes, courageous, kind, and worthy of the highest regard. When bitterness and anger could have taken over their lives, Mike Pressler and his family behaved in a way that epitomised the axiom "grace under pressure".
When the Duke administration failed them and the press vultures circled, it is clear that much of the strength and character shown by the Duke lacrosse players and their families, very closely mirrored their unfairly deposed leader. The details and painful memories of the events are recounted with such clarity and unflinching honesty, that the pain and confusion of that time literally falls from the page into one's conscience, making this inside view unforgettable.
It's Not About the Truth also leaves one with a firm impression that the Pressler family will recover, and their pain will be healed, since they have far more courage and caring than those responsible for causing the conflagration that consumed them.