cover image Outrage: The Story Behind the Tawana Brawley Hoax

Outrage: The Story Behind the Tawana Brawley Hoax

Robert D. McFadden, Robert D. Macfadden. Bantam Books, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-05756-0

The Tawana Brawley case attracted national attention in 1987 when the black teenager from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., claimed that she had been kidnapped, gang-raped and defiled by white racists, among them law officers. Although subsequent investigation found her story to be a fabrication, a media circus erupted, focusing on charges of racial injustice and the antics of Brawley's legal advisers Al Sharpton, Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason. In an impressive expose that distills much new information from scores of interviews, McFadden and a team of fellow New York Times journalists present evidence that Brawley concocted her story, with her mother's complicity, because the teen had been on late-night escapades and feared beatings by her stepfather, a man who had fatally shot his ex-wife. Conveyed in cinematic style, this probe is notable for its fresh revelations and its perspectives on racism, politics and media distortion. (Sept.)