Book Review of “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr

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A Civil Action, from what I have read thus far is about a town in Massachusetts, named Wodburn, where many children had been diagnosed with leukemia. While many of the children went into remission, mostly all of them ultimately died from the disease. Anne Anderson, a parent whose son was also diagnosed with leukemia began to notice many other children living in her neighborhood had also been diagnosed with the disease. Anne becomes determined to find the source of this leukemia outbreak in children. It was mentioned, the water supply in Wodburn but not the best. Many people had complained about not only the taste of the water but the color.

While the government stated the water was in good condition, the wells of those particular water supplies were shut off and re-open multiple times. Anne comes to the conclusion that the water supply in the town was the source of the multiple diagnosis of leukemia in children. She voiced her conclusion to many of the other parents and the doctor who diagnosed the children. Jan Schlictmann, that lawyer that would ultimately take on the case after another lawyer had turned it over. Schlictmann was a lawyer who seems to be determined but also irresponsible. He discoverers the the source of the contaminated water was from a big business who was polluting the water supply The book goes on to explain the course of the trial.

In terms of my opinion of the book, thus far it has been really interesting read. I especially like how the book is organized by climatic order by explaining importance first. Harr does this when he begins the book examining the main character, Jan Schlictmann current situation, foreshadowing the case of Anne Anderson and the town of Wodburn. In terms of themes, the major one noticed throughout was this section of the book so far is determination.

The reader is able to see this through two characters, Anne Anderson and Jan Schlictmann. In terms of Anne, she is determined to find the source of her son’s diagnosis. Her character looses nearly everything to fight for justice, with her marriage and ultimately her son. Through it all, Anne begins to loose hope but she still remains determined. In terms of Schlictmann, his character remains determined to not only win cases but also to get justice for his clients. He stops at no cost to get to the bottom of every case he takes on, even if that means sacrificing his own luxuries.

Lastly, in terms of character development, every character that has been seen thus far have been fully developed. I believe Harr does a good job especially, in showing Schliemann’s character on a personable, relatable level. Harr at times suggested that Schlictmann was irresponsible in terms of living a life he simply could not afford but more times than not it showed his determination to succeed, not only for himself as a lawyer but for his clients. Overall, I think the book is a great read in terms of structure and organization. I believe the sections that describe what each section in the chapter is about makes the book an easy read.

The book thus far relates heavily to what we are currently learning about law and society. If we are applying what has happened thus far with the contaminated water, the law is beginning to arise out of conflict between the company and society. Many of the parents want justice for what has happened to their children as a result of the company negligently contaminating the water supply in their society. The relationship of law and society is crucial to maintain societal obedience in this case. If the law does not structure the guidelines for companies contaminating the water supply, there could potentially cause disobedience of other company’s in that society. This will in turn cause more deaths among the children and also cause disobedience from the parents of these children who are dying as a result of contaminated water.

Cite this paper

Book Review of “A Civil Action” by Jonathan Harr. (2021, Feb 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/book-review-of-a-civil-action-by-jonathan-harr/

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