on 24 January 1997
Cornwell leads the reader through an incredible series of events. He holds a mirror to bosses who don't notice or are too self possessed to care. He shows bureaucrats that fail to act responsibly. Describes a chemical company that is apparently without a conscience and medicos that are hindered by a system. Lawyers cut a deal, that in popular parlance is intended to deliver a win-win solution to the chagrin of the trial judge. And the families who grieve, a son that's pilloried and the reader left to wonder about mass killers and what really gets them started. A must for HR managers, bureaucrats, medicos and lawyers and anyone who cares about others.
on 28 April 1997
The Prozac litigation was an interesting case where the law and science never met, as far as the plaintiffs and some of the media were concerned. The author writes with a British bias concerning the American legal system, and this shows in a lack of understanding of what was going on.
This trial was about medicine and the law, and the author seems to understand neither. He poo-poos the state of scientific knowledge about how antidepressants work on the brain ("surely a mere chemical couldn't do THAT") but accepts without thinking challenge that a chemical could make a human being murder another.
That the book is very poorly written is shown in the lack of depth of the interviews, and the facts. The author is very unkind in his physical descriptions of the participants (nice though, that his fact checker let him subtract 10 years from one's age) and their legal skills. In fact, the only lawyer he singles out was the poorest lawyer in the trial, hands down.
A better account could and should have been written. The author has a few preconceived notions to peddle and that it all. Jonathan Harr could have written this better.
Speaking of which, if you liked the Judge in A Civil Action, you'll love the judge in this case-- small time with a conpiracy theorist leaning, and less going for him that Harr's federal judge.
on 28 July 1997
This case would be a good test for central casting. The author has already cast Nick Nolte as John McGoldrick, one of the lead lawyers for Lilly. Kevin Spacey might be a better pick. Fred McMurray is unfortunately passed away, or he would be a terrific Ed Stopher. Joe Freeman should be played by the guy who is "Perry White" on Superman and who was the prosecutor on "My Cousin Vinny." Paul Smith shall be played by Snuffy Smith, although he is a fictional character. Nancy Zettler should be played by Roseanne Barr.Judge Potter could be played by "Mister Hart" from Paper Chase, or maybe Jack Nicholson, in a stretch. (Think The Shining)
The book fails to mention the contributions of many young associates toiling in and around the courtroom.
on 7 January 1999
It figures that Emilio below only bought the paperback. He doesn't disclose his agenda (scientologist, or just someone who NEEDS a shrink) but he obviously has no idea what he is talking about. If Emilio lives near you watch out, because he may go postal or try to poison the water supply. (He probably moved his lips while reading the book, and he clearly needed help typing his review). Take a pill Emilio. Cornwell hasn't a clue. Oh yea, it is all a conspiracy.