This true story of an epic courtroom showdown, where two of the nation's largest corporations were accused of causing the deaths of children from water contamination, was a #1 national bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Described as “a page-turner filled with greed, duplicity, heartache, and bare-knuckle legal brinksmanship by The New York Times, A Civil Action is the searing, compelling tale of a legal system gone awry—one in which greed and power fight an unending struggle against justice. Yet it is also the story of how one man can ultimately make a difference. Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young, flamboyant Porsche-driving lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything, including his sanity. With an unstoppable narrative power reminiscent of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, A Civil Action is an unforgettable reading experience that will leave the reader both shocked and enlightened.
A Civil Action was made into a movie starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall.
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In America, when somebody does you wrong, you take 'em to court. W. R. Grace and Beatrice Foods had been dumping a cancer-causing industrial solvent into the water table of Woburn, Massachusetts, for years; in 1981, the families of eight leukemia victims sued. However, A Civil Action demonstrates powerfully that--even with the families' hotshot lawyers and the evidence on their side--justice is elusive, particularly when it involves malfeasance by megacorporations. Much of the legal infighting can cause the eyes to glaze. But the story is saved by great characters: the flawed, flamboyant Jan Schlichtmann and his group of bulldogs for the prosecution; Jerome Facher, the enigmatic lawyer for Beatrice, who proves to be more than a match; John J. Riley, the duplicitous, porcine tannery owner; and a host of others. It's impossible not to feel the drama of this methodical book, impossible not to grieve for the parents who lost children, and impossible not to share Schlichtmann's desperation as he runs out of money. A Civil Action reads like one long advertisement for a few well-placed Molotov cocktails. (But that wouldn't make for a very long book, now would it?)From the Inside Flap:
"The legal thriller of the decade." --Cleveland Plain Dealer
Now a Major Motion Picture!
In this true story of an epic courtroom showdown, two of the nation's largest corporations stand accused of causing the deaths of children. Representing the bereaved parents, the unlikeliest of heroes emerges: a young, flamboyant Porsche-driving lawyer who hopes to win millions of dollars and ends up nearly losing everything, including his sanity. A searing, compelling tale of a legal system gone awry--one in which greed and power fight an unending struggle against justice--A Civil Action is also the story of how one determined man can ultimately make a difference. With an unstoppable narrative power, it is an unforgettable reading experience.
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