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, as they set about destroying corporate and personal rivals, challenging the Constitution, purchasing the West Virginia judiciary, and willfully disregarding safety standards in the company's mines - in which scores died unnecessarily.
As Blankenship hobnobbed with a West Virginia Supreme Court justice in France, his company polluted the drinking water of hundreds of citizens while he himself fostered baroque vendettas against anyone who dared challenge his sovereignty over coal country. Just about the only thing that stood in the way of Blankenship's tyranny over a state and an industry was a pair of odd-couple attorneys, Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley, who undertook a legal quest to bring justice to this corner of America. From the backwoods courtrooms of West Virginia they pursued their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and to a dramatic decision declaring that the wealthy and powerful are not entitled to purchase their own brand of law.
The Price of Justice is a story of corporate corruption so far-reaching and devastating it could have been written a hundred years ago by Ida Tarbell or Lincoln Steffens. And as Laurence Leamer demonstrates in this captivating tale, because it's true, it's scarier than fiction.
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"Starred Review. [R]iveting and compulsively readable tale ... Blankenship is a villain for all time, and Stanley and Fawcett are lawyers who bring honor to their profession." - Publishers Weekly
"An eye-opening story about the relations among politics, business and justice." - Kirkus
"Laurence Leamer does a superb job of condensing this fifteen-year legal brawl into a highly readable and entertaining narrative. Greed, arrogance, injustice, corruption it has it all, and, sadly, it's all true. Fortunately, it also has some heroes. This is a book I wish I had written." - John Grisham
"The Price of Justice is the nail-biting, harrowing story of two courageous trial lawyers facing down corporate greed, Wall Street law firms, powerful politicians and corrupt judges in the hardscrabble and dangerous coal fields of West Virginia to protect the safety of miners and the health of our nation. I have nothing but admiration for these lawyers and this modern-day David and Goliath tale." - Morris Dees, Founder and Chief Trial Counsel, Southern Poverty Law Center
"Laurence Leamer has produced a masterful legal thriller that will stun readers at every page. He tells a riveting story of intrigue, corrupt politics, and the corrosive effects of power if left unchecked. But the real story is about a pair of vigilant lawyers who ensure that in America's democracy - even in its back-country courthouses - justice can't be sold to the highest bidder. Leamer's new book is a tour-de-force; it will stand up against the best legal dramas of our time." - Ken Gormley, bestselling author of The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr
"Don Blankenship and Massey Energy have caused catastrophic environmental damage in Appalachia. But thanks to two intrepid lawyers, there is hope in the ravaged land. The Price of Justice is bound to be an environmental and legal classic." - Bobby Kennedy Jr., senior attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council and President, Waterkeeper Alliance
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Laurence Leamer is a best-selling author and journalist. Leamer is a former Ford Fellow in International Development at the University of Oregon and a former International Fellow at Columbia University. He is regarded as an expert on the Kennedy family and has appeared in numerous media outlets discussing American politics. Leamer has also written best-selling biographies of other American icons, including Johnny Carson, the Reagan family, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Price of Justice: A True Story of Corruption and Greed in Coal Country (2013) is his most recent work
Leamer was on the staff at Newsweek, and has written for The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, Playboy, and many other publications. He lives in Palm Beach and Washington, D.C.
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