It might seem like a small thing, but if a writer is going to ask me to stick with him for 614 pages, I wish he would at least show the courtesy of running it through a spell checker, and in this instance I might argue that he should let an editor cut some very over detailed explication I m all for balance, but I don t think it s necessary to quote every single statement of every participant in such excruciating detail to get there.It won t make me look for other books by the same writer, but it was obviously a highly politicized and emotionally charged story A lot of people were probably looking to find fault.I think Cohan is fair, but maybe the overwrought atmosphere of this story caused him to be a little bland and legalistic in describing the events I m left with a sense of tedium Just because the case itself dragged out forthan a year, it doesn t mean he had to give nearly equal narrative weight to each moment of that year I hope there werenuances to the participants than he was able to convey. I started at Duke as a Naval ROTC, Delta Sigma Phi, varsity swimmer, when the drinking age for beer in North Carolina was 18 Liquor required one to be 21 We could buy pitchers of beer in the dining hall for 2 on our meal cards in those days beer on points Our big fraternity parties were held off campus and we wore suits and ties Twenty years later, when this scandal erupted, Duke had become a different social place.I ignored the lacrosse scandal when it was happening for the simple reason that this book is 600 pp it amounted to a year long game of posturing, accusations, and a media circus without a trial This book gets four full stars from me because of William Cohan s incredible ability to string together a cohesive narrative portraying in what feels like equal measure the perspectives of each party to the scandal using actual excerpts and quotes from those involved Before I started reading the book, I wasn t aware of the actual outcome of the scandal so for me, this book presented a fantastic opportunity to walk through the scandal chronologically faking the time to view, from each participant s perspective, the unfolding of events.Mr Cohan lost a star from this reviewer for the all too long final 25% of the text in which much of the first 25% was repeated in various forms A bit of editing would have gone a long way to tighten up the end.I will say this from first hand experience the Duke of 2006, one at which living groups routinely hired strippers, was a dramatic departure from the Duke I knew Dean Sue Wasiolek, AVP for Student Affairs Dean of Students, is a little sister of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity quoted in this book and of which I am member it s unfathomable to me that Dean Sue witnessed and managed the degradation of student life so evident during this time period I will also say, from first hand experience as one who has inadvertently found himself in the presence of boys gone bad, I have every reason to believe that these lacrosse players are guilty of the non rape abhorrent behavior detailed by Cohen If you are curious about the scandal, and are one who is willing and interested to view the world from the perspective of the many different parties involved, then this book is for you. Bestselling Author William D Cohan, Whose Reporting And Writing Have Been Hailed As Gripping The New York Times , Authoritative The Washington Post , And Seductively Engrossing Chicago Tribune , Presents A Stunning New Account Of The Duke Lacrosse Team Scandal That Reveals The Pressures Faced By America S Elite Colleges And Universities And Pulls Back The Curtain, In A Riveting Narrative, On The Larger Issues Of Sexual Misconduct, Underage Drinking, And Bad Boy Behavior All Too Prevalent On Campuses Across The Country Despite Being Front Page News Nationwide, The True Story Of TheDuke Lacrosse Team Rape Case Has Never Been Told In Its Entirety And Is Complex Than All The Reportage To Date Would Indicate The Price Of Silence Is The Definitive, Magisterial Account Of What Happens When The Most Combustible Forces In American Culture Unbridled Ambition, Intellectual Elitism, Athletic Prowess, Aggressive Sexual Behavior, Racial Bias, And Absolute Prosecutorial Authority Collide And Then Explode On A Powerful University Campus, In The Justice System, And In The MediaWhat Transpired At Duke Followed Upon The University S Unprecedented And Determined Effort To Compete Directly With The Ivy League For The Best Students And With Its Division I Rivals For Supremacy In Selected Sports Most Famously Men S Basketball, Where Duke Has Become A Perennial Powerhouse And The Winner Of Four National Championships As Cohan Brilliantly Shows, The Pursuit Of Excellence In Such Diverse Realms Put Extraordinary Strains On The Campus Culture And Warned Some Longtime Duke Observers Warped The University S Academic Ethos Duke Became Known For Its Work Hard, Play Hard Dynamic, And Specifically For Its Wild Off Campus Parties, Where It Seemed Almost Anything Could Happen And Often DidCohan S Reconstruction Of The Scandal S Events The Night In Question, The Local Police Investigation, Duke S Actions, The Lacrosse Players Defense Tactics, The Furious Campus Politics Is Meticulous And Complete Readers Who Think They Know The Story Are In For Than One Surprise, For At The Heart Of It Are Individuals Whose Lives Were Changed Forever As The Scandal Developed, Different Actors Fought To Control The Narrative At Stake Were Not Just The Futures Of The Accused Players, The Reputation Of The Woman Claiming She Was Raped, And The Career Of The Local Prosecutor, But Also The Venerable And Carefully Nurtured Name Of Duke University Itself The Duke Brand, Exceedingly Valuable When Competing For Elite Students, World Class Athletes, Talented Professors, And The Financial Support Of Its Nationally Prominent, Deep Pocketed Alumni The Battle For Power Involved The Duke Administration, Led By Its President, Richard Brodhead, A Blazing Academic Star Hired Away From Yale The Duke Board Of Trustees, Which Included Several Titans Of Wall Street The Faculty, Comprising A Number Of Outspoken Critics Of The Lacrosse Players The Athletes Parents, Many Of Whom Were Well Connected In Washington And New York And Able And Willing To Hire Expensive Counsel To Defend Their Sons And, Ultimately, The Justice System Of North Carolina, Which Took Over The Controversial Case And Rendered Its JudgmentThe Price Of Resolving The Scandal Proved Extraordinarily High, Both In Terms Of Unexpected Human Suffering And The Stratospheric Costs Of Settling Legal Claims The Price Of Silence Is A Story Unlike Any Other, Yet Sheds Light On What Is Really Happening On Campuses Around The Country As Colleges And Universities Compete Urgently With One Another, And Confirms William Cohan S Preeminent Reputation As One Of The Most Lively And Insightful Journalists Working Today I was interested in hearingabout this scandal that happened a few years back The author was talking about it on the news and it sounded interesting However, I think this book had lots of filler, and contrary to what I heard in the interview, there weren t really any new revelations in this book If you want to learnabout this event, I m sure there are better accounts out there, and I wish I had chosenwisely. I wasn t sure if I wanted to read a 600 plus page book about a crime that did not actually happen But I was interested in learningabout this case, which had such dramatic allegations and then fell apart spectacularly Cohan writes and reports well enough that the book held my interest until the end.What I learned If you are boorish enough to call up an escort service and ask that two female strangers come to your house and dance naked in front of you and 40 of your drunken friends, don t be shocked if one of the strangers turns out to be a physically damaged, mentally fragile, prescription drug addled creature who is willing to make up outrageous lies and report them to police, nurses, doctors, prosecutors, and the public She may have been raped in the past, and she may actually believe the lies she is telling If you are racist enough to complain that you ordered white strippers, scream racial slurs at nonwhite strangers in public, and say, Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt, don t be surprised when people of all races despise you, even if it turns out that you did not commit any felonies If you are stupid enough to write an email in which you fantasize about skinning two strippers alive because they allegedly cheated you out of 20, and you send that email to 40 of your teammates, don t think for a minute that anyone will believe you when you say it s a literary parody la American Psycho. Just change your name now, because nobody will ever want to hire you.The lacrosse players did not deserve what happened to them Nobody deserves to be falsely accused of rape and kidnapping Being a jerk is not a crime but it may cause people to assume that something must have happened that night. I m going to steal from a comment I made to a friend instead of rewriting my thoughts for review Despite the subtitle, I thought it wasof a retelling of the specifics of this scandal than a serious look at corruption and wealth in elite universities In my opinion, he completely failed at making it a larger story about privilege and power, because he was so bogged down in the intricacies and local context of specific power, race, and class issues for Duke and Durham At the end, he tried to make connections with other scandals, but it didn t go anywhere I think he really missed an opportunity to investigate thosefundamental issues of disparate power and opportunity and the ways in which elite universities have particular responsibilities and vulnerabilities because of their desire to win the rankings Every now and then, he makes some small assertion about fundamental problems, but he then quickly returns to the details I get the feeling that he intended to write one book, became obsessed with the intricacies of the Duke case, and didn t have an editor who could would help him regain focus in the manuscript It was disappointing In many ways, I thought that piece on fraternities that was circling around I think it was by Caitlin Flanagan was a much better attempt to get at those issues Buried in his narrative are interesting tidbits about the power and influence of universities boards, the legal system, the two tiered system of academia, the financial world, and sexual assault none of it is explored in a way that is revelatory as the author apparently can t see the bigger picture On a basic level, the book also suffered from a lack of a strong editorial hand substantial and unnecessary biographical detail and repetitiveness bog down the narrative There is no reason for its length or the digressions of the author into unrelated topics I half expected to read about what the stakeholders had for breakfast and their favorite colors. Meticulously researched, brutally honest, and absolutely epic in scope, this work of journalism starts out as true crime, recording a sordid incident at Duke University, where several wealthy, white lacrosse players may or may not have sexually assaulted a young black stripper The narrative broadens as the chapters pass, however, to become a searching examination of race prejudice, class prejudice, liberal hypocrisy, human greed, and base passions Absolutely no one in this book walks away with clean hands Not the athletes, the school administrators, the angry townspeople, black and white, the angry academics, black and white, and the journalists black and white who are looking for a sensational story at any price Everyone is motivated by opportunism, selfishness, greed, self righteousness and hypocrisy There are no heroes, no true victims, and no admirable characters either Just about everyone is revealed to be twisted, sick, and dishonorable in some way, including the accuser who ultimately goes to jail after stabbing her boyfriend to death long after the black community and the self proclaimed black elite have entirely forgotten her and moved on to the next cause Yet this book is not only not depressing, it is exhilarating to read, because William D Cohan has behaved as the most heroic type of crusading journalist and exposed ugliness and hypocrisy on every level of society He s the kind of journalist Ben Hecht used to write about This book is 600 pages in microscopic font I read about 150 of those pages non consecutively in a single sitting before realizing that I was never going to finish this book nor was I personally inclined to.What appeals to me most about this book is the representation of Duke as a bacchanal whether or not this representation is fair, I believe there are specific decisions that Duke made its history to bring about these intended and unintended consequences I sometimes sit and wonder whether a world in which Duke did not have a Not Quite Ivy sized chip on its shoulder, a world in which wealthy students didn t have to be aggressively courted to build up an endowment and bring up a bottom line, would have resulted in a happier, healthier,harmonious Duke I wonder whether an admissions process that valued different kinds of attributes in its students not just student body presidents and extracurricular do alls would bring in a balance of personalities that would have moderated the social scene and the party culture.These are the questions that interest me the most, these are the questions the book begins to ask but does not sufficiently answer to my liking. Full disclosure I am a NC native I attended prep school and college in Raleigh.I majored in criminal justice and spent 13 years employed within the federal court system and private law firms My son was an applicant to Duke in 2006, first for early decision and then for regular admittance My husband was an All America athlete from the north who came south on a college scholarship to swim at NC State I was also a member of that close knit team My brother in law and his entire family are Duke alumni A prep school classmate and close friend was involved in the prosecution of this case and is mentioned in the book The Price of Silence was THE topic of discussion at my 40th high school reunion in Raleigh this past April I have read other books concerning this lacrosse scandal including Taylor Johnson s Until Proven Innocent.Disclaimers aside, I feel as if I ve just finished reading War and Peace not only for the length of the book 652 pages , but because it took that space to adequately cover the WAR that exploded over this scandal It is exhaustive and exhausting but WELL WORTH the time And at the end of it, there is very little peace Cohan s task was a huge one He navigates you through the battles and the carnage in a manner that keeps you with him despite incredible but essential detail.This book should be required reading in every law school and a part of every criminal justice and ethics curriculum Business schools could benefit as well There are so many lessons to be gleaned from so many mistakes Cohan articulates them one by one The Price of Silence will be the go to reference of the lacrosse scandal in years to come I looked forward to reading it and was not disappointed Well done I didn t know much about the Duke lacrosse case, so I found the details documented here extremely interesting It s easy to see why the case was so controversial, and Cohan does a great job of summarizing it from the multiple different viewpoints involved However, the book occasionally feels like a collection of press releases, especially when Cohan quotes extensively from original documents, and the book never really lives up to its subtitle Those expecting a look at the corrupting power of the elite may be disappointed.
The Last Tycoons The Secret History of Lazard Fr res Co., about Lazard Fr res It won the 2007 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.His book
- 843 pages
- The Price of Silence
- William D. Cohan
- 14 January 2019 William D. Cohan