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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, a 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 mining 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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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, a 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 mining 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.

30 review for The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    When I first requested this book from LibraryThing I thought it sounded interesting, and once I picked it up, I didn't realize just how blah a word "interesting" would come to be in this case. That cliché about not being able to put the book down was absolutely true for me. I'll get right to the point and say that this is one of the most outstanding books I've read this year. It reads much like a legal thriller, but this story of corporate greed, judicial and political corruption, and sheer, unm When I first requested this book from LibraryThing I thought it sounded interesting, and once I picked it up, I didn't realize just how blah a word "interesting" would come to be in this case. That cliché about not being able to put the book down was absolutely true for me. I'll get right to the point and say that this is one of the most outstanding books I've read this year. It reads much like a legal thriller, but this story of corporate greed, judicial and political corruption, and sheer, unmitigated disregard for human life in return for one man's drive for greater profit in the coal industry is all too real. While there are several issues covered in this work of investigative journalism, at the heart of this story is the question of whether or not corporations should be allowed to fund the very court justices who are involved in rulings involving the corporation, followed by the correctness in allowing the justice in question to remain as a judge. In this instance, it all started with a verdict handed down by a West Virginia court in the case of Caperton v. Massey Coal Company. Mr. Caperton had sued Massey because it had canceled its contract with Harman Mining to supply Harman with needed coal. Caperton, the owner of Harman, was severely affected by Massey's fraudulent cancellation, and his company went out of business. He found himself in huge trouble and a mounting pile of debts including miners' pension funds. His attorneys, Bruce Stanley and Dave Fawcett, worked hard to get Caperton an award for damages; Massey, headed by Don Blankenship, appealed the decision and the case was set to be ruled on by the West Virginia Supreme Court. However, before the judgment could be appealed, an election of a new WV Supreme Court Justice was underway, and Blankenship set up a nonprofit through which he was able to contribute millions to eliminate the incumbent (Warren McGraw) and bring in someone he knew would take his side in the case. Although legally not allowed to directly support his candidate of choice (Brent Benjamin), Blankenship used the money to pay for a slur campaign against McGraw. Even though Blankenship's participation in the campaign against McGraw came to light, the appeals trial continued with Benjamin as a justice, and ended up in Massey's favor. Later developments would take the case right up to the US Supreme Court, but as Leamer notes, the battle was far from over. In the meantime, Massey (and Blankenship) was allowed to continued its fraudulent practices while the utter disdain for following mandated safety and environmental measures led to tragedy among many mine workers and their families. For several reasons the topics involved in this book struck a personal chord. I wish I could say that I was surprised at some of the blatant misdeeds going on in the courts and among politicians as outlined by Mr. Leamer in this most excellent book, but frankly, I'm not. Aside from those issues, I was also deeply disturbed by the blatant disregard that this one man in the coal industry showed for his workers and other human beings whose lives were turned upside down, ruined or extinguished by his unscrupulous business & political practices. His absolute control was backed up by threats, intimidation, money and protection from court officials and politicians who looked out for their own financial and political interests, rather than for the interests of the victims. Had the above-mentioned subjects been all there was to this book, it still would have been good, but Mr. Leamer also examines the price paid in personal terms by everyone involved on the side of obtaining justice, including the dedicated attorneys fighting this man for over 14 years. Other reviewers of The Price of Justice have correctly noted that this book reads like a legal thriller, and while I'm not a huge fan of that genre, the book kept me turning pages until the very end. Definitely and highly recommended -- absolutely one of the best books I've read this year.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Jeffers

    I know this is bit of a niche book that’s likely to have little in the way of a "broad audience," but it’s about a topic that’s actually pretty close to my heart. I grew up in Ohio, but my entire family has roots in West Virginia. My hometown is so close to the state line that my “local” TV news was actually based out of Huntington and Charleston, so I was often a little more aware of West Virginian happenings than I was of my actual home state. And though I claim to be a little bit of both, I h I know this is bit of a niche book that’s likely to have little in the way of a "broad audience," but it’s about a topic that’s actually pretty close to my heart. I grew up in Ohio, but my entire family has roots in West Virginia. My hometown is so close to the state line that my “local” TV news was actually based out of Huntington and Charleston, so I was often a little more aware of West Virginian happenings than I was of my actual home state. And though I claim to be a little bit of both, I have to admit that the place I grew up leans a little more Appalachian than Midwest. So I’ve always cared about West Virginia, and I get really mad when people shit on the state just to shit on it. I know the place has a lot of issues, but most of the people shitting on it don’t understand much about the state. As Leamer—a DC-based journalist—points out, “Many people view West Virginians as another people, remote and distant, unworthy of concern.” And that’s a shame, I think, because so many of the problems that plague the state could really benefit from some legitimate national attention. In fact, Leamer demonstrates that pretty well. So this book is about a legal battle against Don Blankenship and his coal company, Massey Energy. Don Blankenship is an absolutely abhorrent human, a Machiavellian, egomaniacal sociopath. He strikes me as the kind of person who watches It's a Wonderful Life and thinks it's a shame how mean everyone is to Mr. Potter. As chairman and CEO of the largest coal company in West Virginia, he was the kind of businessman who would do anything if it meant profits and would destroy anyone who even placed a toenail in his way. The fact that he isn’t rotting in jail is a travesty. The legal case here began when Massey used unfair business practices to force a smaller coal company into bankruptcy. The owner of the smaller coal company sued Massey and won a $50 million settlement that of course Massey appealed. Before the case went before the appellate court, Blankenship funded the campaign of a judge he knew would be friendlier to him than the incumbent he was running against. That judge refused to recuse himself when the case finally did come before the court and, naturally, Massey won the appeal. The decision was so obviously biased that it ended up before the US Supreme Court in 2010, Caperton v. Massey. The whole thing so wacky and absurd that when John Grisham wrote a novel based on the situation and went on the Today show to promote it, Matt Lauer asked him if it was a little far-fetched. "No," Grishm said, "it's actually happening in West Virginia." Despite the fact that the legalese and the business technicalities could be a bit dense, I liked this book and I very much appreciate what it was trying to do. But it sometimes felt like Leamer was playing up the down-home West Virginia stereotypes -- the number of times he referred to a "hollow" irritated me. It also felt a little like he had an axe to grind against Blankenship. I completely agree with that direction that axe is pointed, but I worried a little that he wasn't being quite as objective as he needed to be in order to effectively make his arguments. Finally, I think he published this book far too soon; the criminal indictments for the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion are still playing out as I write this review and I think that information should have been included in here. Still, this book is worth a read, simply because it shines a light on just how corrupt our legal system can be. When there's so much money at stake and when it's all about whose back can be scratched by whom, is it possible to obtain true, unbiased "justice"? It's all pretty disheartening. The worst part is that Massey continued using the same shady practices to intentionally harm other companies, even while fighting this case. The lawyers who fought Caperton have both sued Massey -- together and individually -- multiple times, and very little changed until 29 miners died. Even then, not that much has changed. The same symptoms have allowed other companies to run amok in West Virginia. There's very little national coverage because who cares that a bunch of hillbillies have no drinking water? Who cares that companies deny for years that they've knowingly given a bunch of hillbillies cancer? Without that kind of attention, West Virginia will continue to suffer, and that breaks my heart because those are my friends and my family, their friends and their families.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

    (Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book via a Goodreads Givewaway.) In riveting, fast-paced prose, Laurence Leamer's The Price of Justice recounts the saga of Caperton v. Massey, an epic legal battle that began in the coal fields of West Virginia and ended (in 2009) at the United States Supreme Court. A seasoned writer, Leamer does a remarkable job in briskly chronicling this long, complex legal battle. A less elegant book might have gotten bogged down the minutiae of the legal (Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book via a Goodreads Givewaway.) In riveting, fast-paced prose, Laurence Leamer's The Price of Justice recounts the saga of Caperton v. Massey, an epic legal battle that began in the coal fields of West Virginia and ended (in 2009) at the United States Supreme Court. A seasoned writer, Leamer does a remarkable job in briskly chronicling this long, complex legal battle. A less elegant book might have gotten bogged down the minutiae of the legal proceedings, but The Price of Justice holds the reader's attention by telling the story in dramatic, human terms. It's a page-turner in the best possible sense of that term, and I can't recommend it enough.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    A very well written and thoroughly researched account of two lawyers, David Fawcett III and Bruce Stanley, who stood up to Don Blankenship, the head of Massey Energy. Blankenship's business practices were questionable and it came to light when Hugh Caperton, the owner of Harman Mining, was destroyed and went bankrupt because of him. Throughout the trial, Blankenship's negligence also was detected when there were many deaths in the coal mines directly related to the disregard of safety measures t A very well written and thoroughly researched account of two lawyers, David Fawcett III and Bruce Stanley, who stood up to Don Blankenship, the head of Massey Energy. Blankenship's business practices were questionable and it came to light when Hugh Caperton, the owner of Harman Mining, was destroyed and went bankrupt because of him. Throughout the trial, Blankenship's negligence also was detected when there were many deaths in the coal mines directly related to the disregard of safety measures that were suppose to be applied. The two lawyers fought Blankenship all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. This book was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. The determination of these two men to fight for what they felt was right was very inspiring. I really liked that there was a cast of characters in the beginning of the book. There were so many people introduced in this book that the cast really helped me keep straight who was who. I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kendra

    For over fifteen years, in courtrooms small and large, a slurry of lawsuits centered on the actions of a larger-than-life CEO of a large coal company. The Price of Justice chronicles this real-life drama through the perspective of the two prosecuting attorneys who spent countless hours in their pursuit to bring Don Blankenship to justice. The lawyers worked to show through the stories of victims who came forward over the years what can happen when a company gets too big and when a leader becomes For over fifteen years, in courtrooms small and large, a slurry of lawsuits centered on the actions of a larger-than-life CEO of a large coal company. The Price of Justice chronicles this real-life drama through the perspective of the two prosecuting attorneys who spent countless hours in their pursuit to bring Don Blankenship to justice. The lawyers worked to show through the stories of victims who came forward over the years what can happen when a company gets too big and when a leader becomes too powerful. In trying to bring about justice for their clients, the lawyers uncovered corruption among judges. The discovery of judicial corruption elevated this case to the Supreme Court of the United States. For those who love crime fiction, such as The Appeal by John Grisham, this is a must read, due not only to the page-turning events of the various cases taken on by the attorneys but also by the fact that the lawsuits, the actions, and the people introduced in the narrative are real.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peter Range

    A gripping legal thriller that is not only compelling but important. This book captures a critical piece of recent history in a saga that is continuing in the courts. Superb reporting and writing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Federline

    This is an excellent book about corruption in the coal mining industry, and a few brave souls who dared to stand against it. Although a true story, the book reads very much like a novel. The writing is mostly crisp and fresh and face-paced. In the interest of full-disclosure, it must be noted that I am personally acquainted with one of the lawyers named, David Fawcett. With that said, the major flaws I find in the book involve the author's description of him and of his relationship with his fathe This is an excellent book about corruption in the coal mining industry, and a few brave souls who dared to stand against it. Although a true story, the book reads very much like a novel. The writing is mostly crisp and fresh and face-paced. In the interest of full-disclosure, it must be noted that I am personally acquainted with one of the lawyers named, David Fawcett. With that said, the major flaws I find in the book involve the author's description of him and of his relationship with his father. His late father was a true gentleman of the law, and their relationship was closer than the reader is led to believe. Additionally, anyone who knows David Fawcett and his skills as a lawyer should be offended by the stilted description of him as being slow on his feet, and unable to swiftly match wits with others in the courtroom. The meat of the story, however, is moving and rings very true. The corruption in the coal mining industry is believable, and the overflow into the legal system of such corruption is sadly too familiar. What is more unique is the willingness and effort of members of large law firms to stand against such corruption, rather than participating in it. The wheels of the law grind slowly. It takes great courage and stamina to stay the course and to face steep odds against you. That courage is compellingly recounted for attorneys Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley, as well as former coal executive, Hugh Caperton. These three men strive heroically against the entrenched power of Don Blankenship and the A.T. Massey Coal Company in a fight to serve justice, rather than private greed. When opposing the established power in a region, you must fight not only to present the truth and facts, but to overcome the fear and prejudice of those that are held in thrall by the reigning power. Those holding power also have tremendous political influence which weights the scales of justice against all who oppose them. Don Blankenship was not content, however, to rely solely upon his past victories and reputation; he also sought to directly influence those who are supposed to be the servants of justice. To that end, he spent enormous amounts of money to influence a judicial election, resulting in a precedent-setting United States Supreme Court opinion. It is to their credit that Fawcett, Stanley and Caperton persevered to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court. It is an even sadder commentary, however, that corruption can still prevail even in the face of a chastisement by the highest court in the land. Integrity should never be for sale. When it is, as this book movingly demonstrates, the Price of Justice may demand everything from you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Stevenson

    If this was a mystery you might think the author's imagination was too creative. In fact this is a real story - a very long one - with many twists and turns. Ostensibly this is about legal attempts to curtail the machinations of Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy. But this is also a story of the US legal system and why so many issues linger in the courts and why injustices are common. The author has been a frequent interview guest but this does not take away from the actual story of two lawye If this was a mystery you might think the author's imagination was too creative. In fact this is a real story - a very long one - with many twists and turns. Ostensibly this is about legal attempts to curtail the machinations of Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy. But this is also a story of the US legal system and why so many issues linger in the courts and why injustices are common. The author has been a frequent interview guest but this does not take away from the actual story of two lawyers attempts to get justice for their clients. It also explains what it takes to get a case before the Supreme Court.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Reading as part of our Gold 'n' Bluestockings/WV Reads 150 book group. This is nearly impossible to review. I know a number of the central characters, a couple fairly well. I was one of the (many) lawyers in one of the cases discussed near the end. I agreed with parts, disagreed with parts, and thought it was all very well-written, if very one sided (which, to be fair, is made clear from the title). And I shall say no more. Reading as part of our Gold 'n' Bluestockings/WV Reads 150 book group. This is nearly impossible to review. I know a number of the central characters, a couple fairly well. I was one of the (many) lawyers in one of the cases discussed near the end. I agreed with parts, disagreed with parts, and thought it was all very well-written, if very one sided (which, to be fair, is made clear from the title). And I shall say no more.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    READ THIS BOOK!! There are many excellent, comprehensive reviews- so, my 2 cents worth is a series of superlative adjectives: compelling, gripping, hopeful, despairing and joyous, dark, almost unbelievable, and extremely well written. I now have two more heroes on my Appalachian Mountains list: Dave Fawcett and Bruce Stanley.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniela Leamer

    This was a riveting book and an important book in that it highlights a case of outrageous corporate abuse of money and power and these two lawyers' quest to hold the CEO of Massey Energy accountable for his actions through our court system. This was a riveting book and an important book in that it highlights a case of outrageous corporate abuse of money and power and these two lawyers' quest to hold the CEO of Massey Energy accountable for his actions through our court system.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Meno

    This is a legal thriller about greed and corruption. Unfortunately, it is a true account of events I followed with horror as they were happening. Well written fast paced narrative about the control exercised by the coal industry in West Virginia.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    As compelling as any nonfiction story of years of court battles could possibly be. Leamer creates characters the reader really cares about. Anyone who doesn't understand how our judicial system really works is in for an eye opener. Highly recommend this one, As compelling as any nonfiction story of years of court battles could possibly be. Leamer creates characters the reader really cares about. Anyone who doesn't understand how our judicial system really works is in for an eye opener. Highly recommend this one,

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    Extremely well-written account of the way that justice is for sale in our country. If this doesn't wake us up to the abuses of power that still exist in this country, I don't know what will. Highly recommended read for everyone. Extremely well-written account of the way that justice is for sale in our country. If this doesn't wake us up to the abuses of power that still exist in this country, I don't know what will. Highly recommended read for everyone.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven Meyers

    As portrayed in ‘The Price of Justice’ the coal baron Donald Blankenship could be the poster boy for the evils of unbridled capitalism. His venal buddies in the state’s judicial system also highlight a form of corruption that makes a mockery of what Lady Justice represents. It is a story about greed, arrogance, and abuse of power. The setting is in the coal country of our nation’s second poorest state West Virginia. Its industrial and political leaders aggressively guarded big coal manufacturers As portrayed in ‘The Price of Justice’ the coal baron Donald Blankenship could be the poster boy for the evils of unbridled capitalism. His venal buddies in the state’s judicial system also highlight a form of corruption that makes a mockery of what Lady Justice represents. It is a story about greed, arrogance, and abuse of power. The setting is in the coal country of our nation’s second poorest state West Virginia. Its industrial and political leaders aggressively guarded big coal manufacturers even over the detriment of the employees and local citizens. As one of the lawyers representing the plaintiff states, “Nobody’s nastier than people fighting over money.” ‘The Price of Justice’ moves along at a nice pace. I was expecting a book similar to Jonathan Farr’s excellent 1995 work ‘A Civil Action.’ That one was a water contamination case in Woburn, Massachusetts during the 1980s. Mr. Farr’s book showed how the law, financial means, and personal motivations were deeply intertwined. Law cases, especially against powerful companies, were messy, convoluted, and uncertain. I finished ‘A Civil Action’ with a more cynical view about our legal system. Mr. Leamer’s 2013 book was more of the same but also added corruption in the judiciary. Blankenship used the court system much like Donald Trump, it was a weapon to intimidate and destroy people of lesser means as well as an advertisement to the public, warning them of what was in store if they ever became Blankkenship’s enemy. The coal baron bully was feared in West Virginia for damned good reasons. The author does an effective job of fleshing out many of the people who inhabit ‘The Price of Justice.’ Some of the legal tactics used were legal but morally repulsive. Selection of state judges in West Virginia is done through public elections. At the end of each judge’s term, they must run for re-election to remain on the court. I found this a quirky way of placing supposedly impartial people on a court. I live in Maine where judges are primarily appointed by the governor with senate confirmation. They must be reappointed if they wish to serve additional terms. It appears to have worked quite well for our state. On the flip side, ‘The Price of Justice’ shows how Blankenship used the West Virginia system to place judges sympathetic towards his corrupt objectives. Less than one percent of petitions to the United States Supreme Court are ever accepted for review. Blankenship's and his cronies' awful actions cleared that high bar, found their antics before the nine justices, and altering the legal landscape. The book does not include any photographs, so I found myself searching the web quite a bit to place faces to names. As one of the attorney’s aptly states, “(Blankenship had) a stunning disregard for the individual human life and an obsession with profit at any cost.” ‘The Price of Justice’ is another example of how bullies with enough money and political power can get away with a lot of stuff that people with lesser means never could. Mr. Leamer's book was an absorbing read but depressing. Granted, the story has examples of impassioned heroic individuals who were willing to spend years in David-versus-Goliath battles to right wrongs, but it was discouraging to see them thwarted again and again because of legal corruption or the quirks of the legal system. Their courage was admirable, but as was said towards the conclusion of the book, none would dare call this justice. Read it and weep.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mitzi Cyrus

    This book is so well written; it reads easily, like fiction, and I wish it were fiction. Don Blankenship has to be one of the slimiest people on the face of the earth, and Leamer outlines some of Blankenship’s worst traits and actions. What is most disconcerting is that Blankenship is now running in the Republican primary race for a seat in the US Senate. It is unfortunate that his conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards was not deemed a felony; if it had been we would This book is so well written; it reads easily, like fiction, and I wish it were fiction. Don Blankenship has to be one of the slimiest people on the face of the earth, and Leamer outlines some of Blankenship’s worst traits and actions. What is most disconcerting is that Blankenship is now running in the Republican primary race for a seat in the US Senate. It is unfortunate that his conviction for conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards was not deemed a felony; if it had been we would be spared having to watch his run for an office that should require at least an element of respectability. Leamer’s book outlines the lengthy battles of attorneys, first to prove Blankenship guilty of destroying mine owner Hugh Caperton, then to prove he was responsible for the deaths of two miners at Aracoma and 29 miners at Big Branch; it also tells of Blankenship’s disregard for the living conditions of anyone near his mines when he pours slurry back into abandoned mine shafts, which then seeps into local wells and water supplies. I strongly encourage any West Virginian who plans to vote for a senator to read this book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    I do not often read non-fiction books. This read was appealing because it had an ongoing legal thriller aspect to it. Well-written and good pacing. One mild disappointment (necessary, of course) is that the book ended before everything happening around the cases had completed. The evil adversary, Don Blankenship for example is still free and rich. In researching what had happened to Blankenship subsequent to the end of the book, I was pleased to see that he did go to prison but only for one year I do not often read non-fiction books. This read was appealing because it had an ongoing legal thriller aspect to it. Well-written and good pacing. One mild disappointment (necessary, of course) is that the book ended before everything happening around the cases had completed. The evil adversary, Don Blankenship for example is still free and rich. In researching what had happened to Blankenship subsequent to the end of the book, I was pleased to see that he did go to prison but only for one year and only for a misdemeanor. Following his prison sentence having been served, he entered West Virginia politics running for the US Senate. I was happy to see that he failed in the Republican primary and even though he ran on a Constitution Party platform, that effort likewise failed. The most important thing that was disclosed in the book was a US Supreme Court ruling that a judge who is ruling in any case involving someone who contributed to his or her election must recuse themselves.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rosanna

    Just happened upon this courtroom drama based on Massey Energy and Don Blankenship. I found it both well written and fascinating. My guess is the author started the book well before the tragedy that made Massey famous. Most of the book takes place in courtrooms and it centers around how Blankenship treated other business partners. He reminded me a lot of Trump. It is always inspiring to read about every day heroes who stand up to justice. It isn't always a thrill a minute, but it is so important Just happened upon this courtroom drama based on Massey Energy and Don Blankenship. I found it both well written and fascinating. My guess is the author started the book well before the tragedy that made Massey famous. Most of the book takes place in courtrooms and it centers around how Blankenship treated other business partners. He reminded me a lot of Trump. It is always inspiring to read about every day heroes who stand up to justice. It isn't always a thrill a minute, but it is so important. I was grateful for everything I learned.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shiela Rozich

    The convoluted and confusing world of the American legal system has always been an enigma for me. Though there are many excellent legal fiction writers, finding a non-fiction that can bridge the gap between legalese and fiction is very welcoming. The legal system is still a mystery to me but Laurence Leamer does a commendable job of presenting this story so a lay-person could read it without falling asleep

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bill Shannon

    It isn't the author's fault that the book was published BEFORE Don Blankenship went to prison, but there is something that somehow feels unsatisfying about the resolution, or lack thereof. That said, the book is extremely well written, and functions beautifully as a piece of political agitprop regarding the swamp of West Virginia politics. It's a very interesting and engaging book, and yet because it's real life, didn't have the ending I was hoping for. It isn't the author's fault that the book was published BEFORE Don Blankenship went to prison, but there is something that somehow feels unsatisfying about the resolution, or lack thereof. That said, the book is extremely well written, and functions beautifully as a piece of political agitprop regarding the swamp of West Virginia politics. It's a very interesting and engaging book, and yet because it's real life, didn't have the ending I was hoping for.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brian Currie

    Hmm this is a story about how Greed has had a huge influence on Politics and Slowed Justice in the Coal Industry in the USA. Surely none of this applies in other similar indusrties in Canada or throughout the world. Or does it? Listen and figure for yourselves.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Eh, it was interesting, but slow to read in places.

  23. 5 out of 5

    BeckyT

    Some heavy-handed editorializing detracted from this book's timely, important content. Some heavy-handed editorializing detracted from this book's timely, important content.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Earley

    Only read about 150 pages before giving up. The trial proceedings were very tedious.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Crandolph

    Very informative however if you are not from WV it may not be as interesting.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Wow. Don Blankenship? More like Don Piece-a-shit.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matt Kolbet

    Though it can feel a trifle slow at times, it's thorough and presents a discouraging picture of how corruption reaches into higher courts in the country. Though it can feel a trifle slow at times, it's thorough and presents a discouraging picture of how corruption reaches into higher courts in the country.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    For those who've read John Grisham's "The Appeal", you'll find the essence of that story to be the same as "The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption", by Laurence Leamer. In both, the CEO of a major corporation makes huge contributions to the campaign coffers of a candidate for the state supreme court, with the expectation that the pending appeal of a large jury verdict against him will be overturned by a more "friendly" court. And as in both books, this is exactly what happens For those who've read John Grisham's "The Appeal", you'll find the essence of that story to be the same as "The Price of Justice: A True Story of Greed and Corruption", by Laurence Leamer. In both, the CEO of a major corporation makes huge contributions to the campaign coffers of a candidate for the state supreme court, with the expectation that the pending appeal of a large jury verdict against him will be overturned by a more "friendly" court. And as in both books, this is exactly what happens. Unfortunately, as opposed to Grisham's fictional novel, we can't just walk away thinking, well, it's just a story, since Leamer's narrative is a true story. Because Leamer's book is factual, he didn't have the luxury and flexibility to make his book quite as engaging as Grisham's novel, but that's one of differences between fiction and non-fiction. Nonetheless, "The Price of Justice" is thoroughly researched and engaging, describing the personal interaction of David Fawcett and Bruce Stanley, lawyers for the plaintiffs, and defendant Don Blakenship, head of a major Appalachian coal company, Massey Energy. The book details the environmental damages, coal mining disasters, litigation, legal delays, and appeals of the law suits attempting to hold Blakenship accountable for his unjust, unsafe and illegal business practices. When you finish the book, it's hard not to think about the influence of big money in influencing elections, and the need for campaign finance reform.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linda Munro

    Oh my, here we go again; this book has been on my ‘I want to read’ list since February 18, 2013. This is a nonfiction book, about the rich and powerful; a man whose only goal in life is to make more & more money; if the price to that goal is someone else’s wealth or even someone else’s life, then so be it. This book is billed as a nonfiction legal thriller, I am sorry to say, I did not agree. The introduction was fast paced and had me believing that I would be reading a thriller, after that, I fo Oh my, here we go again; this book has been on my ‘I want to read’ list since February 18, 2013. This is a nonfiction book, about the rich and powerful; a man whose only goal in life is to make more & more money; if the price to that goal is someone else’s wealth or even someone else’s life, then so be it. This book is billed as a nonfiction legal thriller, I am sorry to say, I did not agree. The introduction was fast paced and had me believing that I would be reading a thriller, after that, I found the book was only good enough to keep reading a chapter here and there. Although, I have to say, when I attempted to tell my husband about the book, he knew immediately who the central character was; in fact, he spit out the name before I had even finished my first sentence. He then proceeded to tell me exactly what the book was about; I guess that must mean he watches more news programs and documentaries than I do, because he had the entire story correct. I am only giving this book 3 stars, because I though the writer could have and should have continued the story in the same language that he had written the introduction, rather than writing the book as if he was part reporter, part novelist. This is a story that everyone needs to read, contemplate, research and contemplate some more. Why is it that I believe a great percentage of the public would read the book and think of it as a story rather than the truth?

  30. 5 out of 5

    Therese

    Narrative non-fiction. I read this for my local library's non-fiction book club (October 2014). This is an excellent book and very heartbreaking too. My best friend's stepfather died in a coal mining accident in the 1990s, but to my knowledge I do not think it had anything to do with Don Blankenship (or Massey) or the evils he has done to people. I know most of the bigger cities and some of the smaller towns mentioned in this work, I have been to many of them, and as I said I am friends with the Narrative non-fiction. I read this for my local library's non-fiction book club (October 2014). This is an excellent book and very heartbreaking too. My best friend's stepfather died in a coal mining accident in the 1990s, but to my knowledge I do not think it had anything to do with Don Blankenship (or Massey) or the evils he has done to people. I know most of the bigger cities and some of the smaller towns mentioned in this work, I have been to many of them, and as I said I am friends with the daughter of a coal miner, so it was very easy for me to picture these places and the people discussed in the book. Regardless, even if you are not familiar with any of that, I do believe it would be an interesting book for those who want to know what people go through in coal mining, what it is like for the little businesses going against big operations, and also for anybody interested in law cases, the courts, and corruption. Apparently a John Grisham book called The Appeal was based off of the real life events explained in this non-fiction work. If you remember the Upper Big Branch mine explosion, these are the people and events leading up to that event (it is also discussed), through a fight of over 15 years, one which led all the way to the Supreme Court due to corruption in electing judges in the state supreme court of West Virginia. I highly recommend this one, definitely a good read!

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