Dan's Reviews > A Civil Action

A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
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Jul 31, 11

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Read in July, 2011

I have friends who live in Woburn; I think i'll drink bottled water when I go visit.

This is the story of Jan Schlictmann and the litigation that he and his firm brought against two corporate behemoths (W.R. Grace and Beatrice Foods) regarding the seepage of chemicals (TCE notably) in Woburn, MA throughout the 60s and 70s. The book focuses mainly on the trial - on the conversations, on the emotion, on the preparation. It is not, however, a legal piece. This is a story more about the people and struggles that come with being plaintiff-side lawyers. Its very, very well done and thorough. Though the author writes from the plaintiff's perspective and tends to favor their position, he comes across as neutral and honest as could be expected. Its a fairly quick read (two or three weeks off and on for me). It's definitely worth it. Though, like i said, you may have trouble drinking tap water again afterwards.
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