A rollicking tour behind the scenes of the tobacco wars, this captivating account reads like a true-crime thriller, complete with unforgettable characters and fast-paced drama. At the center of the action is Ron Motley, a handsome multimillionaire attorney who conducted class-action lawsuits in five states against cigarette makers. His thrill for the hunt is matched only by his monster ego and his use of outrageous metaphors, delivered in a South Carolina drawl. (His verdict for one particularly ineffective assistant: She's "as useless as tits on a bull.") There's the Philip Morris researcher who commits suicide by ingesting liquid nicotine, setting off a round of soul-searching among her fellow scientists; and there's "Deep Cough," code name for the manager at R.J. Reynolds who leaks information about the tobacco manufacturer's secret manipulation of nicotine to addict smokers. Sprinkled throughout are death threats, stolen documents, secret European laboratories, and wiretaps. Who would have thought that tobacco trial history and legislation could be so thrilling? Dan Zegart, who has written for Ms. and The Nation, spent five years traveling with Motley and his merry gang of supporters to deliver this colorful eyewitness account. The result is an impressive, convincing case against the tobacco industry that's straightforward and free of histrionics. If you enjoyed The Insider, the 1999 movie about a whistleblower at Brown & Williamson Tobacco, or followed the nasty internal battle at CBS over 60 Minutes's efforts to report the story, then you'll be overwhelmed by Civil Warriors. The Insider is but a chapter in this complex, comprehensive history. --Jodi Mailander Farrell
A landmark narrative of an epic legal battle, Civil Warriors is the gripping behind-the-scenes account of how one tenacious lawyer led the charge against the titans of the tobacco industry.
Drawing on five years of eyewitness reporting, thousands of pages of internal documents, and riveting firsthand stories of plaintiffs, lawyers, jurors, and scientists, Civil Warriors weaves the compelling story of attorney Ron Motley, who, along with other die-hard lawyers, scientists, and tobacco-busters, fought tirelessly to bring the tobacco industry to justice.
Taking us onto the front lines of Motley’s crusade, investigative journalist Dan Zegart follows the attorney to a dangerous underworld where maverick scientists and corporate whistle-blowers step from the shadows to reveal the truth behind the industry “spin.”
We meet the unforgettable cast of characters that draw Motley on toward his goals ... the mysterious ex-Reynolds employee known as “Deep Cough,” who told where evidence on nicotine-laced tobacco was hidden ... the researchers who proved the addictive nature of nicotine — and were advised by the FBI to check their cars for bombs every morning.
And we witness how Ron Motley led his quest for truth, justice, and hundred-billion-dollar awards ... to penetrate, finally, the “control room of the conspiracy,” an inner circle of lawyers who protected tobacco for thirty years. Civil Warriors is at once a grand adventure and a towering work of investigative journalism — an eye-opening report on the way justice really works in America today.
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