A Civil Action

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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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About the author

Jonathan Harr is the author of the national bestseller A Civil Action, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and The Lost Painting, a New York Times bestseller. He is a former staff writer at the New England Monthly and has written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. He lives and works in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he has taught nonfiction writing at Smith College.
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4.3
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Aug 10, 2011
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Pages
512
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ISBN
9780307804785
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Lawyers & Judges
Political Science / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
True Crime / White Collar Crime
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

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The Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) is a program within the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that is responsible for developing toxicologic assessments of environmental contaminants. An IRIS assessment contains hazard identifications and dose-response assessments of various chemicals related to cancer and noncancer outcomes. Although the program was created to increase consistency among toxicologic assessments within the agency, federal, state, and international agencies and other organizations have come to rely on IRIS assessments for setting regulatory standards, establishing exposure guidelines, and estimating risks to exposed populations. Over the last decade, the National Research Council (NRC) has been asked to review some of the more complex and challenging IRIS assessments, including those of formaldehyde, dioxin, and tetrachloroethylene. In 2011, an NRC committee released its review of the IRIS formaldehyde assessment. Like other NRC committees that had reviewed IRIS assessments, the formaldehyde committee identified deficiencies in the specific assessment and more broadly in some of EPA's general approaches and specific methods. Although the committee focused on evaluating the IRIS formaldehyde assessment, it provided suggestions for improving the IRIS process and a roadmap for its revision in case EPA decided to move forward with changes to the process. Congress directed EPA to implement the report's recommendations and then asked the National Research Council to review the changes that EPA was making (or proposing to make) in response to the recommendations.

Review of EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Process provides an overview of some general issues associated with IRIS assessments. This report then addresses evidence identification and evaluation for IRIS assessments and discusses evidence integration for hazard evaluation and methods for calculating reference values and unit risks. The report makes recommendations and considerations for future directions. Overall, Review of EPA's Integrated Risk Information System Process finds that substantial improvements in the IRIS process have been made, and it is clear that EPA has embraced and is acting on the recommendations in the NRC formaldehyde report. The recommendations of this report should be seen as building on the progress that EPA has already made.

The federal Superfund program for cleaning up America's inactive toxic waste sites is noteworthy not only for its enormous cost - $15.2 billion has been authorized thus far - but also for its unique design. The legislation that created Superfund provided the Environmental Protection Agency with a diverse set of policy tools. Preeminent among them is a civil liability scheme that imposes responsibility for multimillion dollar cleanups on businesses and government units linked - even tangentially - to hazardous waste sites. Armed with this potent policy implement, the agency can order the parties who are legally responsible for the toxic substances at a site to clean it up, with large fines and damages for failure to comply. EPA can also offer conciliatory measures to bring about voluntary, privately financed cleanup; or it can launch a cleanup initially paid for by Superfund and later force the responsible parties to reimburse the government.

In this book, Thomas W. Church and Robert T. Nakamura provide the first in-depth study of Superfund operations at hazardous waste sites. They examine six Superfund cleanups, including three regions and both 'hard' and 'easy' sites, to ask 'what works?' Based on detailed case studies, the book describes various strategies that have been applied by government regulators and lawyers and the responses to those different strategies by businesses and local government officials.

The authors characterize the implementation strategies used by the EPA as prosecution, accommodation, and public works. They point out that the choice of strategy involves setting priorities among Superfund's competing objectives. They conclude that the best implementation strategy is one that considers the context of each site and the particular priorities in each case. Looking toward the reauthorization of Superfund, they also offer recommendations for improvements in the organization of the program and discuss proposals for change in its liability scheme.

Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. 

An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo facing the sea, and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, lit by a single bulb, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome, Francesca Cappelletti, makes a discovery that inspires a search for a work of art of incalculable value, a painting lost for almost two centuries.

The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn’t alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.

Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others–no one knows the precise number–have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.

Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ–its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.

Praise for The Lost Painting

“Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller . . . rich and wonderful. . . . In truth, the book reads better than a thriller. . . . If you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk . . . [you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Jonathan Harr has taken the story of the lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste—and about the greed, envy, covetousness and professional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read.”—The Economist
From an award-winning New York Times reporter comes the full, mind-boggling true story of the lies, crimes, and ineptitude behind the Enron scandal that imperiled a presidency, destroyed a marketplace, and changed Washington and Wall Street forever.

It was the corporate collapse that appeared to come out of nowhere. In late 2001, the Enron Corporation—a darling of the financial world, a company whose executives were friends of presidents and the powerful—imploded virtually overnight, leaving vast wreckage in its wake and sparking a criminal investigation that would last for years.

Kurt Eichenwald transforms the unbelievable story of the Enron scandal into a rip-roaring narrative of epic proportions, taking readers behind every closed door—from the Oval Office to the executive suites, from the highest reaches of the Justice Department to the homes and bedrooms of the top officers. It is a tale of global reach—from Houston to Washington, from Bombay to London, from Munich to Sao Paolo—laying out the unbelievable scenes that twisted together to create this shocking true story.

Eichenwald reveals never-disclosed details of a story that features a cast including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul O’Neill, Harvey Pitt, Colin Powell, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alan Greenspan, Ken Lay, Andy Fastow, Jeff Skilling, Bill Clinton, Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone. With its you-are-there glimpse into the secretive worlds of corporate power, Conspiracy of Fools is an all-true financial and political thriller of cinematic proportions.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • Winner of The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award • “A new classic of science reporting.”—The New York Times

The riveting true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River melds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a fascinating scientific detective story, and an unforgettable cast of characters into a sweeping narrative in the tradition of A Civil Action, The Emperor of All Maladies, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

One of New Jersey’s seemingly innumerable quiet seaside towns, Toms River became the unlikely setting for a decades-long drama that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements in the annals of toxic dumping. A town that would rather have been known for its Little League World Series champions ended up making history for an entirely different reason: a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground, burying tens of thousands of leaky drums in open pits and discharging billions of gallons of acid-laced wastewater into the town’s namesake river.

In an astonishing feat of investigative reporting, prize-winning journalist Dan Fagin recounts the sixty-year saga of rampant pollution and inadequate oversight that made Toms River a cautionary example for fast-growing industrial towns from South Jersey to South China. He tells the stories of the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer, and brings to life the everyday heroes in Toms River who struggled for justice: a young boy whose cherubic smile belied the fast-growing tumors that had decimated his body from birth; a nurse who fought to bring the alarming incidence of childhood cancers to the attention of authorities who didn’t want to listen; and a mother whose love for her stricken child transformed her into a tenacious advocate for change.

A gripping human drama rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, Toms River is a tale of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND KIRKUS REVIEWS

“A thrilling journey full of twists and turns, Toms River is essential reading for our times. Dan Fagin handles topics of great complexity with the dexterity of a scholar, the honesty of a journalist, and the dramatic skill of a novelist.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Emperor of All Maladies
 
“A complex tale of powerful industry, local politics, water rights, epidemiology, public health and cancer in a gripping, page-turning environmental thriller.”—NPR

“Unstoppable reading.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“Meticulously researched and compellingly recounted . . . It’s every bit as important—and as well-written—as A Civil Action and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”—The Star-Ledger
 
“Fascinating . . . a gripping environmental thriller.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“An honest, thoroughly researched, intelligently written book.”—Slate
 
“[A] hard-hitting account . . . a triumph.”—Nature
 
“Absorbing and thoughtful.”—USA Today
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