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The Price of Justice: Death, Corruption, and an Epic Fight Against America's Most Powerful Coal Baron

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  183 ratings  ·  39 reviews
A nonfiction legal thriller that traces the fourteen-year struggle of two lawyers to bring the most powerful coal baron in American history, Don Blankenship, to justice

Don Blankenship, head of Massey Energy since the early 1990s, ran an industry that provides nearly half of America's electric power. But wealth and influence weren't enough for Blankenship and his company, a
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2013 by Times Books (first published April 30th 2013)
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Nancy Oakes
May 15, 2013 Nancy Oakes rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people concerned with social or for that matter any form of real justice
When I first requested this book from LibraryThing I thought it sounded interesting, and once I picked it up, I didn't realize just how blah a word "interesting" would come to be in this case. That cliché about not being able to put the book down was absolutely true for me. I'll get right to the point and say that this is one of the most outstanding books I've read this year. It reads much like a legal thriller, but this story of corporate greed, judicial and political corruption, and sheer, unm ...more
(Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book via a Goodreads Givewaway.)

In riveting, fast-paced prose, Laurence Leamer's The Price of Justice recounts the saga of Caperton v. Massey, an epic legal battle that began in the coal fields of West Virginia and ended (in 2009) at the United States Supreme Court. A seasoned writer, Leamer does a remarkable job in briskly chronicling this long, complex legal battle. A less elegant book might have gotten bogged down the minutiae of the legal
A very well written and thoroughly researched account of two lawyers, David Fawcett III and Bruce Stanley, who stood up to Don Blankenship, the head of Massey Energy. Blankenship's business practices were questionable and it came to light when Hugh Caperton, the owner of Harman Mining, was destroyed and went bankrupt because of him. Throughout the trial, Blankenship's negligence also was detected when there were many deaths in the coal mines directly related to the disregard of safety measures t ...more
For over fifteen years, in courtrooms small and large, a slurry of lawsuits centered on the actions of a larger-than-life CEO of a large coal company. The Price of Justice chronicles this real-life drama through the perspective of the two prosecuting attorneys who spent countless hours in their pursuit to bring Don Blankenship to justice. The lawyers worked to show through the stories of victims who came forward over the years what can happen when a company gets too big and when a leader becomes ...more
Peter Ross
A gripping legal thriller that is not only compelling but important. This book captures a critical piece of recent history in a saga that is continuing in the courts. Superb reporting and writing.
Robert Federline
This is an excellent book about corruption in the coal mining industry, and a few brave souls who dared to stand against it. Although a true story, the book reads very much like a novel. The writing is mostly crisp and fresh and face-paced.

In the interest of full-disclosure, it must be noted that I am personally acquainted with one of the lawyers named, David Fawcett. With that said, the major flaws I find in the book involve the author's description of him and of his relationship with his fathe
Thomas Stevenson
If this was a mystery you might think the author's imagination was too creative. In fact this is a real story - a very long one - with many twists and turns. Ostensibly this is about legal attempts to curtail the machinations of Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy. But this is also a story of the US legal system and why so many issues linger in the courts and why injustices are common. The author has been a frequent interview guest but this does not take away from the actual story of two lawye ...more
Although this author does not do the best job capturing the intensity of a court room drama (the court scenes just dragged on forever!), he does a fantastic job of capturing the corruption and political dealings in the justice system of West Virginia. The descriptions of the WV supreme court and the level of corruption playing out behind the scenes in the courtroom and during cases is gripping and tragic. The descriptions of Blankenship and Massey's destruction of the state of West Virginia was ...more
There are many excellent, comprehensive reviews- so, my 2 cents worth is a series of superlative adjectives: compelling, gripping, hopeful, despairing and joyous, dark, almost unbelievable, and extremely well written. I now have two more heroes on my Appalachian Mountains list: Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley.
As compelling as any nonfiction story of years of court battles could possibly be. Leamer creates characters the reader really cares about. Anyone who doesn't understand how our judicial system really works is in for an eye opener. Highly recommend this one,
This is a legal thriller about greed and corruption. Unfortunately, it is a true account of events I followed with horror as they were happening. Well written fast paced narrative about the control exercised by the coal industry in West Virginia.
Daniela Leamer
This was a riveting book and an important book in that it highlights a case of outrageous corporate abuse of money and power and these two lawyers' quest to hold the CEO of Massey Energy accountable for his actions through our court system.
Extremely well-written account of the way that justice is for sale in our country. If this doesn't wake us up to the abuses of power that still exist in this country, I don't know what will. Highly recommended read for everyone.
Narrative non-fiction. I read this for my local library's non-fiction book club (October 2014). This is an excellent book and very heartbreaking too. My best friend's stepfather died in a coal mining accident in the 1990s, but to my knowledge I do not think it had anything to do with Don Blankenship (or Massey) or the evils he has done to people. I know most of the bigger cities and some of the smaller towns mentioned in this work, I have been to many of them, and as I said I am friends with the ...more
Tony Krause
It was a coincidence I was reading The Price of Justice when the state of West Virginia was in the news about the river contamination caused by a company in coal business. Eight counties in the state was affected with contaminated river water. Reading in the paper about the contaminated river could be added to The Price of Justice as a another chapter to the book. Greed and corruption continues in West Virginia with no justice attained. An excellent true story of how corporations, a stae legal s ...more
Linda Munro
Oh my, here we go again; this book has been on my ‘I want to read’ list since February 18, 2013.

This is a nonfiction book, about the rich and powerful; a man whose only goal in life is to make more & more money; if the price to that goal is someone else’s wealth or even someone else’s life, then so be it.

This book is billed as a nonfiction legal thriller, I am sorry to say, I did not agree. The introduction was fast paced and had me believing that I would be reading a thriller, after that,
For those who've read John Grisham's "The Appeal", you'll find the essence of that story to be the same as "The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption", by Laurence Leamer. In both, the CEO of a major corporation makes huge contributions to the campaign coffers of a candidate for the state supreme court, with the expectation that the pending appeal of a large jury verdict against him will be overturned by a more "friendly" court. And as in both books, this is exactly what happens ...more
Highly recommend this book. It's a true story that is pretty similar to the John Grisham book "The Appeal." Two lawyers from Pittsburgh sue a subsidiary of Massey Energy (and come to target Massey's truly horrible CEO Don Blankenship) for running a small coal mine operator out of business. They win a huge verdict after trial. But, the case winds its way through West Virginia's appeals system for years. Ultimately, Massey (through Blanekenship) spends millions getting new judges elected to the We ...more
Luis Perez
This is an excellent book. It made my blood boil throughout and made my heart go out to the hard-working people of WEst Virginia who seem to be nothing but pawns in a world of corporate greed.

It's not that common to see lawyers portrayed as good guys -- heck, they're almost as despised as journalists, and maybe rightly so -- but it's refreshing to see that even in this much-maligned profession, there are some good guys, and gals. This book is meticulously researched and well-crafted. A good bal
A great story told by a great storyteller. Any courtroom junkie will love it.

Rumor has it that he is working on a book about SPLC Civil Rights
lawyer Morris Dees. I can't wait for that one!
Gripping, I read it in two days. If it is accurate, it is truly stunning. Very well written and readable.
With election day just two days away it has been announced that a new record amount has been reached in campaign spending. Much more poignant news having finished this book about buying off judges to protect profits while sacrificing the safety and well- being of workers. Shameful and anger-producing. Read it and weep is too cliched but truly what I feel like.
Laurence Leamer has written a non-fiction book that reads like a thriller. Devoted mostly to the destruction of the Harman Coal Company and its CEO Hugh Caperton by Massey Energy and its malevolent chairman, Don Blankenship--and the resulting lawsuits--the book's heroes are attorneys Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley. Their indefatigable efforts to hold Massey and Blankenship to account for their egregious actions is a must read for anyone interested in Appalachia, the energy market, or the environ ...more
Reading as part of our Gold 'n' Bluestockings/WV Reads 150 book group.

This is nearly impossible to review. I know a number of the central characters, a couple fairly well. I was one of the (many) lawyers in one of the cases discussed near the end. I agreed with parts, disagreed with parts, and thought it was all very well-written, if very one sided (which, to be fair, is made clear from the title).

And I shall say no more.
Corporate greed, political corruption, interesting but not news.
A bit of a mess, this. The climactic moments are decisions by appellate courts, and the efforts to render them accessible fall rather short. Nor, for all their doggedness, are either of the two central lawyer characters made compelling enough to carry the load. Same goes for the archvillain. An important story, but not one told with much insight.
Brilliant book. If you don't get absolutely steaming angry after reading this you don't have a should. The author does an incredible job of telling a very complicated story in an easy to understand way that reads like a legal thriller. Incredible work that every concerned American should read.
Deanna Hoard
Everyone should read this book, but especially every West Virginian. It's an important book, but it also is very readable and actually exciting. I've heard it compared to a John Grisham novel and, in my experience, the comparison is fairly accurate.
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Laurence Leamer has written fourteen books including five New York Times bestsellers. He has worked in a factory in France, a coal mine in West Virginia and as a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote village in Nepal two days from a road. He has written one novel but is primarily known for his nonfiction, especially a trilogy on the Kennedys. His new book, The Price of Justice, is the story of two Pit ...more
More about Laurence Leamer...
The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963 Madness Under the Royal Palms: Love and Death Behind the Gates of Palm Beach Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger King of the Night: The Life of Johnny Carson

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