More than a year and a half after the dramatic confrontation between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, opinions remain sharply divided on which one was telling the truth, and on the episode's significance and meaning for American society.
Opinion polls conducted on the first anniversary of the hearings showed that public sentiment in Thomas' favor had weakened, while Anita Hill has become a national celebrity, a heroine credited with putting sexual harassment on the national agenda and thus a symbol of the feminist and civil rights movements who is said to have inspired a political "year of the woman.".
The press has characterized the Hill-Thomas confrontation as an impenetrable mystery whose truth can never be known - an American version of Rashomon. But journalist David Brock dissents from this conclusion. His investigation shows that while there may indeed be no way of knowing exactly what transpired between Thomas and Hill, a great many things can be known about Anita Hill that were not previously disclosed which sharply contradict her public image and raise serious doubts about her credibility.
Brock corrects numerous misconceptions and introduces new factual evidence to answer many questions left open by a notably uninquisitive national press. In the course of his investigation, the official record of the Senate hearings is examined more carefully than the senators' histrionics and the distorting lights of national television cameras permitted at the time.
Evidence is brought forth that has never before been made public, including sworn affidavits, confidential Senate interviews of witnesses, and sections of the FBI file on the Thomas nomination. Numerous details from the report of special investigator Peter Fleming on the leak of Hill's charges, veiled by a media blackout, are unsheathed. And new information gleaned from extensive interviews is reported.
. This book is not about whether Clarence Thomas should have been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Nor does it question whether sexual harassment is a genuine offense. Rather it seeks to determine whether sexual harassment occurred in this case. While partisans of Hill may remain unpersuaded, no matter what the weight of evidence suggests, Brock believes that after hearing all the facts, no reasonable reader will be able to conclude that it did.