Recommendation: Film first (Dark Waters) and then the book

Where to read: This is a “sit at home in front of the fire with a nice comforting blanket” kind of book

Read with: Something very filtered

In brief: I am going to resist my usual tendency to have a rant about the subject matter, but I would very much suggest you read this. There is a good dose (pun intended) of legal procedure which might get a little tiresome if you don’t find that sort of thing interesting anyway, but I urge you to persist. If it helps, it is quite topical.

From Amazon (and presented without comment):

In 1998, Rob Bilott began a legal battle against DuPont that would consume the next twenty years of his life, uncovering the worst case of environmental contamination in modern history and a corporate cover-up that put the health of hundreds of thousands of people at risk. Representing a single farmer who was convinced the creek on his property had been poisoned by runoff from a nearby DuPont landfill, Rob ultimately discovers the truth about PFAS—unregulated, toxic chemicals used in the manufacturing of Teflon and a host of other household goods. DuPont’s own scientists had issued internal warnings for years about the harmful effects of PFAS on human health, but the company continued to allow these chemicals to leach into public drinking water. Until Rob forced them to face the consequences.

Exposure fits squarely into the the genre of “books about corporations behaving badly”, which might also include Bad Blood, Merchants of Doubt and American Overdose. It would also be a welcome addition to the legal section of your bookshelf (perhaps alongside Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Dammed and Watching Brief).

And now for a left-field hot take to make it spicy – Exposure also goes right alongside The Wife Drought. This litigation is the perfect example of both the kind of work made possible by the labour of a woman behind the scenes and the horrendous effect a total lack of professional balance can have on people (men, in this paradigm). This is not in any way a criticism of Bilott, who is very aware of it and scrupulous in crediting his wife, but I cannot help thinking that his female equivalent would most likely have been single or divorced.

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