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A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   If you like courtroom dramas, then A Civil Action is a book for you. It deals with courtroom ethics, a community under duress and a hot-shot young lawyer. Following in John Grisham's footsteps, Jonathan Harr portrays this in a captivating fashion, but this is no work of fiction: it really happened.

A Civil Action is the true story of a community: Woburn, Massachusetts, and a neighborhood of people who experience a lot of pain when child after child contract leukemia. Around the time these children are stricken, the city of Woburn had recently opened two new wells to pump water into the homes where all these children lived. Child after child passes away and the parents are grief-stricken. Then they discover that their drinking water is contaminated with TCE, a chemical solvent that has been thought to be a probable carcinogen. They also learn that two companies with large factories are situated near from the wells and used this solvent and possibly dumped large quantities into the ground, leaving them to leak into the ground-water system and contaminate the water. They get together, have a meeting and hire a lawyer.

The lawyer's name is Jan Schlichtmann, a then-prominent young Boston attorney. He spends the next four years and over one million dollars preparing this case for trial. Once it gets there, everything goes downhill.

To find out what happens, you'll have to read the book. I would highly recommend it. This book keeps your attention, pushing you to read more every day


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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