I just wrapped up reading A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr, and let me tell you, it was a good one. Originally released in 1996, and later made into a movie starring John Travolta (which I have not yet seen, but will), the novel details the ground water contamination case of Woburn Massachusetts. It became a best seller and won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction.
If you’re into legal thrillers (John Grisham, Scott Turow, etc) give this one a shot. I found it particularly interesting because it gives a ton of information about personal injury law, both procedural specifics and ideology, and since my company does work with several personal injury lawyers, I found that it gave me a new appreciation for the profession (although, I do realize that there is still a certain level of “ambulance chasing” that exists). Below are some reviews of the novel. Just let me know if you want to borrow it.
Inside Cover Reviews:
“Gripping…a page turner filled with greed, duplicity, heartache, and bare-knuckle legal brinksmanship.” – Newsweek
” Do not think about skipping this important work…A fascinating work of literary reportage, as deeply involving as In Cold Blood.” – Boston Globe
“ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR…A suspenseful narrative full of intellectual surprises and bold-faced characters.” – Time
“Both readable and riveting…it works brilliantly…Harr captures detail, color, and anecdote, sketching them in clear and unself-concious prose….Even minor characters come alive on every page.” – Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Page turning stay-up-way-past-the-hour-reason-tells-you-to-turn-off-the-lights stuff. I cannot say enough wonderful things about it….A Civil Action is easily one of the best books of the year.” – Linnea Lannon, Detroit Free Press
“Important….Mr. Harr grants the litigation masterly treatment….A Civil Action is a consequential work , one deserving of attention.” – The New York Times Book Review
“A compelling human drama told in exquisite detail….As engrossing as it is unsettling.” – USA Today
Back Cover Reviews:
“Whether in truth or fiction, I have never read a more compelling chronicle of litigation.” – John Gisham
“A page-turner. Rich and vivid…eventful and gripping.” – The New York Times