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Something's wrong in Libby, Montana. Residents are dying at a rate 60 times higher than the national average from a battery of insidious diseases, and they will continue to suffer for decades to come. The cause: a so-called miracle mineral that generations of families felt thankful for, until they discovered that the "miracle" was too good to be true - and that the town's disturbing mortality rate was hardly an accident.
The scope of the treachery goes far beyond Libby. Even before the dust had settled following the September 11 terrorist attacks, those who live and work in lower Manhattan were voicing well-founded concerns about air quality around Ground Zero. Tests conducted at the site yielded conflicting results - and possibly evidence of a continuing corporate and governmental cover-up that mirrors a pattern of deception threatening not only the physical health of millions of Americans but the financial stability of our economy.
In 1989, the EPA banned the manufacture, importation, processing, and distribution of commercial asbestos - but the ban didn't hold. Asbestos is big business, rivaling tobacco in its profitability. By 1991, powerful corporate lobbyists succeeded in having the ban overturned. Today, asbestos remains an ingredient in more than 3,000 products on sale in the United States and many more that are exported to developing nations around the globe.
The author remarks at one point that this issue needs a book like Jonathan Harr's A Civil Action. Maybe so; this isn't the book.
The Erin Brockovich movie and the Harr book work well mainly because of their character development and the people they portray. To be fair, this reading of Fatal Deception is an abridgement (which I didn't realize until it was too late), but Michael Bowker's characters are one-dimensional, and he doesn't appear to care about any of them very much. Bowker spends too much time pontificating and editorializing, and too little explaining the scientific or human aspects of his story.
Parenthetically, I thought it was interesting that the same company, W.R. Grace, figures in both this book and A Civil Action, and even though Bowker refers to the other case, he doesn't mention the connection. I wonder if this was abridged out or if he had other reasons for omitting it.
Finally, the reading couldn't be worse. Not only is it stiff and wooden, but John Slattery's grasp of the scientific and medical terminology is amateurish, including a quirky pronunciation of the word "asbestosis," which occurs dozens, if not hundreds, of times.
I'd suggest buying a different book.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
I am an asbestos victim. Lung cancer in 1987 (sucessful surgery) and now suffering from Asbestosis (scarring of lungs). I must depend on the use of oxygen 24 hours per day in order to breathe.
And I am one of the lucky ones. The information in this book should be required reading for everyone! Until this book was published I did not know the ban against asbestos had been lifted! My praise and thanks to the authors.
9 of 11 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Fatal Deception in three words, what would they be?
Very relevant warning.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Fatal Deception?
The whole story is a shocking account of ignorance as to the dangers of asbestos and the fact that nobody cares to stop that horrible tragedy.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
It does seem to be a good scrip for a movie. Erin Brokovich would make a good leading actress.
Any additional comments?
My British friend just got diagnosed with mesothelioma, to everyone's big surprise since all his life he was never exposed to it, he is a writer. Or we might only think so?????