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Tragic Indifference: One Man's Battle with the Auto Industry Over the Dangers of SUVsby Adam L. Penenberg
Synopses & Reviews
Tragic Indifference is the gut-wrenching account of the biggest product liability case in history: the Ford-Firestone fiasco, where delaminating Firestone tires caused Ford Explorers to lose control and crash at highway speeds. The result was a massive recall, consumer panic, and congressional hearings. It all culminated in a lawsuit that would become a watershed for all future auto safety lawsuits.
In February 2000, reports began to surface of an alarming number of rollover cases involving Ford Explorers traveling on Firestone's Wilderness AT tire. As the stories drove a national frenzy of news coverage, no one seemed to know what was causing the devastation. Until one lawyer, who had been campaigningfor years to get Ford to acknowledge the dangerous flaws in the design of the Explorer — an engineering flaw greatly exacerbated by the use of Firestone's tires — stepped forward to demand that Ford executives take responsibility for the lethal design of their trucks.
More than a courtroom drama, Tragic Indifference reveals the web of individual stories beneath the national headlines. Weaving together harrowing depictions of the accidents and their consequences with the stories of the men and women who labor to police the auto industry and its reckless cost-cutting, Tragic Indifference will transform the way you view the government, the courts, and the media. Above all, this book shows the price the public pays in wrecked and mangled lives when companies focus more on shaving costs than making quality products.
At the center of the story is Tab Turner, a charismatic trial attorney from Arkansas, who has made a career out of forcing Ford and other automakers to own up to their unsafe practices and to admit that they knowingly trade human lives for profits. Given the almost complete lack of government regulation over the auto industry, Turner has become, in essence, the court of last resort for victims of callous auto companies.
Tragic Indifference also recounts the struggles of Turner's client Donna Bailey, a single mother and outdoor enthusiast who led troubled teens on backpacking trips, as she fought back from the brink of death to confront those ultimately responsible for her accident. Her case became a benchmark for all others that followed.
"Gripping...all the elements of a Hollywood thriller." Mother Jones
"A dramatic account...important, infuriating." The Boston Globe
"Penenberg meticulously marches the reader through a human and journalistic drama... [and] invites you to feel the sweat, the exhaustion, the fear, the frustration and the pain of all concerned." USA Today
"A swift, dramatic account... Penenberg fills the narrative with rich, detailed characters." San Francisco Chronicle
Book News Annotation:
An existing engineering flaw in Ford Explorers was exacerbated by the use of Firestone's Wilderness AT tire, resulting in a national scandal that erupted in the American press in the winter of 2000. Investigative journalist Penenberg tells the story of Tab Turner, a trial lawyer who worked on behalf of paralyzed client Donna Bailey to hold the companies accountable in a work that is simultaneously a defense of tort law against its big business attackers and their political allies and an indictment of the greed of Ford and Firestone.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Adam L. Penenberg is a well-known investigative journalist who has written for theNew York Times, Forbes, Wired, Inside, Playboy, and Mother Jones. He garnered national attention in 1998 for exposing a fabricated New Republic story on hacker crime by Stephen Glass, which is portrayed in the movie Shattered Glass. His previous book was Spooked: Espionage in Corporate America.
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