UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND THE SHAMEFUL INJUSTICES OF THE DUKE LACROSSE RAPE CASE. UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT is more terrifying than any thriller you will read this year. Stuart Taylor, Jr., and KC Johnson trace what happened when three young men were falsely accused of rape. Rather than being defended by Duke University, they were defamed, threatened with castration, thrown to the rogue prosecutor. Many Duke professors as the "Group of 88" egged on the mob who had begun to harass the lacrosse players. There were almost no heroes at Duke, although a very few professors ultimately spoke out against the rush to judgment which proved to be a rush to the wrong judgment. The women's lacrosse coach Kerstin Kimel is depicted here as the kind of person you wish you had been when you look back at a crisis you lived through. Her decency and bravery shine in this dark book. KC Johnson is another kind of hero: the American professor who sensed that something wrong was going on at Duke and set out to document the events in a blog that ultimately helped turn the tide against the Duke mob. One of the most terrifying sections of this book shows that rather than being punished after the truth was undeniable these professors in the Group of 88 were rewarded with greater control of Duke committees. One of the most exciting sections shows how bloggers became heroes when the national media, including Nancy Grace and the New York Times, had joined the mob. This section gives hope that other national lies will be exposed promptly and exposed repeatedly until the country pays attention. The times have changed for the better in this regard even if the Times has not.
Knowing that Brodhead, the master of sly innuendo, as a literary critic habitually ignored the facts and rushed to judgment, whatever the cost to his victim's reputation (see Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 62 [June 2007] pp. 29-47), I recognized the weakling Taylor and Johnson portray in "Richard Brodhead's Test of Courage": "Confronted with a crisis of epic proportions, with Duke's hard-won reputation at risk, he faced his ultimate test of courage. And in an extraordinary moral meltdown, he threw in his lot with the mob." The only criticism I have of this book is that the publishers should have put "Rape" in quotation marks, since no rape occurred.