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Writers prep first round of lax books

For nearly 12 months, the blogs have torn apart the Duke lacrosse case from top to bottom.

And that conversation is quickly moving from the Internet to bookstores worldwide, with at least two books being written about the scandal slated to be released in the coming months.

Former men's lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler joined forces with Sports Illustrated's Don Yaeger on a project and blogger KC Johnson is collaborating on a book with Stuart Taylor, a reporter and columnist for National Journal Magazine.

"For a long time I have been outraged by a certain type of media sensationalism, particularly politically correct sensationalism," said Taylor, whose book is titled "Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case."

"This book will try to persuade readers to have the same opinions we do," Taylor added.

Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College who has written hundreds of thousands of words about the case on his Durham-in-Wonderland blog, said he is looking forward to reaching more people once the book hits stores in September.

"I don't think any of the arguments would be unfamiliar to people who have read the blog," Johnson said.

In contrast, Yaeger is structuring his book as a narrative tale.

He is no stranger to controversial sports issues, having authored the 1998 book "Pros and Cons: The Criminals who play in the NFL," which blasted the league because 21 percent of its players had been arrested or indicted for serious crimes.

"I'm not trying to tell a legal tale, I'm telling a story of the people," Yaeger said.

One of those people, Pressler, was planning his own book until Yaeger presented him with an opportunity to combine efforts on "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered."

As a result, Yaeger's book will have previously untold details from Pressler's personal diary, the author said.

"This is a case that has everything for those that want to think the worst of student-athletes," Yaeger said. "It's pretty amazing, it really does touch just about every sensitivity that our society has."

Several other authors are rumored to be working on their own lacrosse books, but none have set release dates yet.

With so much commentary available online for free, it remains to be seen if people will fork over the cash for the books in print.

Taylor, at least, is not afraid of going up against the analysis available from his own co-author.

"One thing that is a little foreboding about it is that it's so much," Taylor said of Johnson's blog. "For the vast majority of readers, a book is a lot more accessible than a blog."

Kenneth Rogerson, research director for Duke's DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy, noted that Taylor and Yaeger's backgrounds as reporters make them particularly well suited to write about the lacrosse case.

"Journalists can be some of the best people to write books because they take all of the information that they have gathered and put it all in one place," Rogerson explained.

Books aren't going away simply because of the Internet, he said.

"Does the medium make a difference?" Rogerson said. "Not quite yet."

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