Upgrade to the Flash 9 viewer for enhanced content, including the ability to browse & search through your favorite titles.
Click here to learn more!
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and a National Book Award nominee
Winner of the Scribes Book Award from the American Society of Writers on Legal Subjects
“Jonathan Harr’s 1995 book about the lawsuit over the leukemia deaths of Woburn children is playing an extraordinary role in what some legal educators describe as a movement to modernize the training of lawyers in America. Across the country, A Civil Action is required reading in courses in at least 50 law schools, including Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Georgetown and here at American University, where it is read in some civil procedures classes, one of the most important an aspiring lawyer will take.”
—New York Times
A Civil Action tells the story of the landmark Woburn lawsuit—one of the most tortuous and complex civil lawsuits in the history of American law. Eight Massachusetts families, whose children were stricken with cancer, sued two corporate giants, blaming them for carcinogens in the municipal water supply. Granted unprecedented access to the major participants, Harr recounts the nine years it took to build the case, prepare for trial, go to court in 1986, and later appeal the jury's verdict. It is a fascinating, revealing, and remarkable account that offers students an inside view of trial law.
“A Civil Action is the kind of the book that every law school student should read. It describes precisely what lawyers do in striving for justice.”
—Roy M. Mersky, William Stamps Parish Professor of Law and Director of Research, University of Texas at Austin
“A fascinating work...that is much less about environmental pollution or corporate irresponsibility or even cancer victims than it is about the practice of law in America today. It is ultimately, subtly, then, a book about our society's most basic moral values.”
—The Boston Globe
“Enthralling.... The book's passages describing case strategy and preparation are positively illuminating.”
—New York Law Journal
“Without a doubt, A Civil Action is one of the best books published this year, and one of the best books published about the modern legal system.”
—Benjamin Lund, Lawyers Review
“I teach a course in Civil Procedure to first-year law students. After reading A Civil Action late last Fall, I added it to our required reading for the Spring semester. We are now going through the book section by section because it matches up so well with the classroom discussion of matters such as Rule 11, discovery, summary judgment, trial preparation, and trial. The reaction from the students has been overwhelmingly favorable. They have the unique experience of connecting parts of this real case to their otherwise, somewhat dry, academic discussion.”
—Richardson R. Lynn, Associate Dean, Academics, Pepperdine University School of Law