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Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who'd Stop at Nothing to Win

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who'd Stop at Nothing to Win.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Paul M. Barrett(Author)

    Book details

The gripping story of one American lawyer’s obsessive crusade—waged at any cost—against Big Oil on behalf of the poor farmers and indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest.

Steven Donziger, a self-styled social activist and Harvard educated lawyer, signed on to a budding class action lawsuit against multinational Texaco (which later merged with Chevron to become the third-largest corporation in America). The suit sought reparations for the Ecuadorian peasants and tribes people whose lives were affected by decades of oil production near their villages and fields.  During twenty years of legal hostilities in federal courts in Manhattan and remote provincial tribunals in the Ecuadorian jungle, Donziger and Chevron’s lawyers followed fierce no-holds-barred rules. Donziger, a larger-than-life, loud-mouthed showman, proved himself a master orchestrator of the media, Hollywood, and public opinion. He cajoled and coerced Ecuadorian judges on the theory that his noble ends justified any means of persuasion. And in the end, he won an unlikely victory, a $19 billion judgment against Chevon--the biggest environmental damages award in history.  But the company refused to surrender or compromise. Instead, Chevron targeted Donziger personally, and its counter-attack revealed damning evidence of his politicking and manipulation of evidence. Suddenly the verdict, and decades of Donziger’s single-minded pursuit of the case, began to unravel.   
Written with the texture and flair of the best narrative nonfiction, Law of the Jungle is an unputdownable story in which there are countless victims, a vast region of ruined rivers and polluted rainforest, but very few heroes.

"Exhaustively reported and deftly written…reads like a John Grisham novel."—Forbes“Impressively even-handed. . . [Barrett] calls Texaco to account of dirty drilling, and holds Petroecuador, which maintained such practices for years, to the same standard.  He. . . thinks Mr. Donziger made a ‘deal with the Devil’, noting that the attorney even opposed the Ecuadorean government’s own environmental clean-up plan in order to preserve his lawsuit.” —The Economist"A well-crafted account." —Wall Street Journal"Those interested in the rule of law and the role of the courts and lawyers will find Law of the Jungle instructive, entertaining, and frightening." —The American Spectator“A mind-boggling house of mirrors… [Barrett] unravels and imposes order on a confusing, multiyear circus and convincingly sorts out the guilty from the merely depraved." —San Francisco Chronicle"Bloomberg Businessweek writer Paul M. Barrett offers a thorough account of the episode…The story is one of hardball corporate lawyers vs. hardball human rights lawyers, a rough kind of moral equivalency in a battle in which Donziger and his allies were finally tempted into acts that a U.S. judge would in the end rule to be racketeering." —National Review“A richly detailed and well-documented narrative of one of the most important environmental litigations in decades… Worthy of a Hollywood movie—but one that proves the point that truth is stranger than fiction.” -New York Law Journal"Details hardball tactics by both sides...Crisply told." —Dallas Morning News“An enthralling true-life courtroom drama…Almost Shakespearean in scope, featuring a flawed protagonist with good intentions but tragically overreaching ambitions.” —Booklist"An accessible, fast-paced read."—Fortune"Irresistable…a true-life, courtroom version of Heart of Darkness."—Kirkus Reviews“An enthralling, deeply researched volume about the intersection of law and individual rights…Barrett skillfully takes readers inside the players' minds and exposes the underside of high-stakes litigation.” –Library Journal“In a story possessing ‘no shortage of knaves and villains,’ Barrett skillfully weighs the ethics of both Donziger and Chevron and finds them wanting.” —Publishers Weekly“This chilling account of the bruising, bare-knuckled conflict between a deeply flawed do-gooder and a well-oiled legal steamrolling machine should give pause to anyone who believes that justice always prevails.  Barrett brilliantly shows that in the real world, the law of the jungle—an oxymoron if there ever was one—trumps the rule of law.” —Alan Dershowitz, professor, Harvard Law School, and author, Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law“Law of the Jungle is a riveting piece of storytelling. The environmental insults make you furious and your heart breaks for the people whose ways of life are violated—but what happens after that challenges your beliefs about fairness and justice....This isn’t a simple David and Goliath story; it’s an engaging passion play that unfolds from the Ecuadorian jungles to the courtrooms of New York.”—David Yarnold, President & CEO, National Audubon Society "Paul Barrett's Law of the Jungle is a cautionary tale -- a deeply reported, well-written reminder that to be credible and effective, the fight against environmental misconduct must be waged within the rule of law. Our legal system can be a powerful force for environmental progress, but its rules have to be respected."  —Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund“This smart and gripping book by a first-class investigative journalist teaches a vital lesson that everyone who cares about business and the American economy needs to understand: When confronted with fraudulent courtroom shakedowns, corporations must fight back as Chevron did.” —Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric and bestselling author of Winning“Paul Barrett's Law of the Jungle is the inside story of the international trial of the decade—a high stakes fight over oil, blood and money and a protagonist who is as fascinating as he is perplexing.”—Jeffrey Toobin, author of The Oath and the Nine“An engrossing, captivating account of litigation run amok. Barrett’s comprehensive, detailed book demonstrates all that is wrong with the American litigation system. Required reading for anyone who not only wants to learn more about protracted lawsuits in America but yearns for a page-turning legal thriller. I can’t wait for the movie.”—Kenneth R. Feinberg, court-appointed special master for compensating victims of the 9/11 attacks, BP oil spill, Virginia Tech massacre, asbestos insulation, Dalkon Shield IUD, and Vietnam defoliant Agent Orange“Paul Barrett’s Law of the Jungle creates an unforgettable rainbow of lawyers who do indeed live by the Law of the Jungle. You will be intrigued until the last page as to who will survive and your emotions will be struck to ask, who should?”—Victor Schwartz, general counsel, American Tort Reform Association; partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, Washington D.C.“Masterfully written and carefully documented, Law of the Jungle tells the real story behind the historic Chevron oil pollution case, which I saw from the inside as technical consultant and court expert for the rain forest plaintiffs.”—David L. Russell, P.E., chief executive, Global Environmental Operations Inc.From the Hardcover edition. Paul M. Barrett is an assistant managing editor and senior writer at Bloomberg Businessweek.  He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun, American Islam: The Struggle for the Soul of a Religion, and The Good Black:  A True Story of Race in America.  He lives and works in New York City.

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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Paul M. Barrett(Author)
  • Broadway Books; Reprint edition (September 22, 2015)
  • English
  • 6
  • Engineering & Transportation

Read online or download a free book: Law of the Jungle: The $19 Billion Legal Battle Over Oil in the Rain Forest and the Lawyer Who'd Stop at Nothing to Win


Review Text

  • By Skye Daley on July 7, 2015

    Well written and researched, and a phenomenally interesting topic

  • By Gregory A. Foltz on July 5, 2015

    The plaintiffs in the ill-fated quest to bring Chevron - Texaco to heel over drilling in the rainforest managed to do something I didn't think possible - turn a multi-national billion dollar oil company into a sympathetic figure. Here's a fun way to read this book: open up a copy of the code of ethics for trial attorneys and just check off the violations as you go.

  • By jeff black on December 28, 2015

    Good book with interesting legal twists.

  • By Naglerrich on February 20, 2015

    A very revealing story of how complex a situation can get. tThe author does a great job in evaluating all sides of the story equally and allows the reader to pass judgement.

  • By Ronald on December 14, 2014

    Anyone with a legal background or with an interest in the oil business will find this book intriguing. The story which it tells nearly brought down one of the largest and most respected law firms in the United States

  • By Chris Almstrom on December 7, 2014

    Interesting and, I think, even-handed account of "end justifies the means" activism. I am among those who abhor the environmental havoc wrought by oil extraction in places like Nigeria and Ecuador. But it's a shame to see well-meaning supporters of better practices being manipulated by cynical, mendacious hustlers. If we actually want our activism to achieve useful results, I think we have to avoid the mental and ethical laziness that leads too many of us to empower charlatans. We really don't need policy to be driven by shallow morality plays, like the campaign described in this "Law of the Jungle".

  • By Adam Epstein on October 7, 2014

    Ultimately, the fear of newspapers increasingly going by the wayside is that real, unbiased, exhaustive, honest-to-goodness investigative journalism will suffer a similar fate. Books like Law of the Jungle by Paul Barrett soothe some of those fears. I won't needlessly reiterate the praise bestowed on this book by others, or pay anything more than lip service to the apparent "negative reviews for hire" undertaken by those at the behest of an understandably rattled Mr. Donziger. Instead, I'll just offer this observation: Paul Barrett's books become best sellers because they are otherwise elusive, great stories that can only be discovered and told by those with peerless skill, experience, and meticulous attention to detail. In a country increasingly beset by those peddling shortcuts for everything, Law of the Jungle reminds us that the only enduring path to success is through integrity and hard work.

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