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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Andrea Peacock flirted with a career in law before turning her attention fulltime to journalism. So it makes sense that the author builds the case against WR Grace with the legal precision of a prosecutor hanging criminals out to dry. But Peacock's first book "Libby, Montana" is no mere amicus brief; it's a complex tale of heartbreak. Her hard-hitting expose concerns the nature of corporate greed, and Peacock makes sure to show how collusion between big business and local government can destroy the lives of ordinary people. For decades WR Grace, the same corporation featured in "A Civil Action," supplied the world with toxic asbestos-laden materials from its mine in remote northwest Montana. For 30 years, the company ignored signs that the dust from its operations was killing miners and their kin; now the record has come back to haunt Grace. Peacock overcomes the challenges inherent in exposing environmental crime, putting a human face on both sides of this fascinating story, making her case with rare humanity. A worthy read -- and if you don't believe me, Peacock has blurbs from Peter Matthiessen, Terry Tempest Williams, Jim Hightower and Jim Harrison, who all agree this book is too good, too important to be ignored.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was born in this town, Libby, Montana. Eventhough I grew up eighteen miles away in Troy, I knew most of the families mentioned in the book. My high school field trip was a day trip to the mine, the dry processing plant, the expansion plant, the loading docks. All through junior high and high school, we had track meets next to the railroad tracks where the trains were loaded with the ore. What she says in her book is true, no one told anyone that the ore was harmful, or even had asbestos in it. No one said a word, and if anyone asked, they were told it was "nuisance dust." It was such a cover-up that I had to read the Seattle PI account twice before I believed it.
I applied for a job at the mine when I went to college. That was thirty years ago. If I had gotten that job, chances are I would be dead, just like my father. Dad never worked at the mine, but he drove by it several times a week to maintain some radio equipment on top of the mountain. Several times a week for twenty-six years and he died of Mesothelioma.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
The fact that authors Jim Harrison, Terry Tempest Williams, Peter Matthiessen, and Charles Bowden all endorsed Andrea Peacock's book was enough for me to dive in. From the first page, it was a decision I never regretted.
Peacock is a very good writer with a keen and precise instinct for investigative reporting. Her ability to shine a light on one of America's most savage and tragic disasters makes the story not only interesting, but arresting as well. What happened in Libby, Montana, is a case study of corporate greed, government complacency, and the arrogance of power.
If you are interested in this subject (and you should be), Peacock's rendering of the tale will satisfy you on every level.
Highly recommended.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Besides bringing us, intimately and palpably, news of horrific corporate behavior, Peacock makes the place and life of Libby, Montana into a vision of America that transcends asbestos. It is a vision of geologic glory and frontier humanity that is as true as blood and stone and that is also the founding dream of American consciousness. In such a vision, in a town like Libby, when people who can make money from asbestos, people who might be you and I at whatever distance, when we, even if only in acquiescence, when we kill unknowing souls for profit for generation after generation, when that happens, the best of the American dream flows away from us like a river irredeemably polluted.
Peacock has given us a mirror on the triumphant nightmare of American greed. "Libby, Montana" is a perfectly heartbreaking book.
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on April 1, 2015
Format: Paperback
As the daughter of a man who died from mesothelioma, I read this book with high emotion. Andrea Peacock presents the facts with humanness, and as I know for fact, no lives will be the same. Profit as priority over lives is reprehensible. Please read this book - you may think asbestos is not a danger - but in fact it is still legal in the U.S and Canada.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
As a former Libby resident (1976-1982) and one who has since found out that I am one of the 'victims', I was looking forward to reading "Libby Montana". I was hoping for a journalist's straight forward and honest appraisal of the Libby tragedy.

Instead, I found myself reading a series of disconnected thoughts and needless ramblings - sprinkled with a lot of overworked sentimentality. I personally know (or knew) many of the folks named in the book. Instead of writing from a true journalist's viewpoint, Andrea Peacock instead presents a verbal 'Oprah Winfrey' show. She wanders back and forth through history with no really coherent thought process and hopes that by throwing in an occassional tear-jerking story now and then she will keep the reader interested. She has managed to turn would could have been an excellent documentary into a soap opera and by doing so only belittles the overall magnitude of the Libby disaster.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
Andrea Peacock did an excellent job of describing the
environmental disaster that has ravaged this small
Montana town.
Peacock's description of human suffering,
corporate greed, and "bought" politicians brings
this true story to life.
Highly recommended reading.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2007
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This catastrophe deserved a more comprehensive treatment. "When one person dies, it is a tragedy. When thousands die, it is war." What happened in Libby, Montana was like war on a population, but this book treats it like several personal tragedies. The W.R. Grace Company is a corporation without a conscience and deserves to be indicted for its crimes, not be allowed to avoid all responsibility by going into and then out of bankruptcy unscathed. The book on what happened in Libby still needs to be written.
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5 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Truth be told, asbestos will not kill 100% of everybody. Consider these stats: Industrial accidents comprise 1.1 million deaths, which exceeds the average annual deaths from road accidents (999,000), war (502,000), violence (563,000) and HIV/AIDS (312,000). Of this total deaths from asbestos exposure equals about 100,000 (9% of all industrial accidents, and only 2.9% of the total deaths above).
Yet the mesothelioma lobby would want you to believe that asbestos--which is a mineral known since ancient times--will kill everybody unless it's totally removed.
This reporter tries to ape Aron Brockovitch, and plays up to the hype. In fact, it gives just one side of the story. The other side is this: the people at Libby supported asbestos while the going was good, yet when demand died down, they turned against it. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Harsh but true. BTW, I have nothing against cancer sufferors, just pointing out that there's a lobby of lawyers who make a killing filing lawsuits on behalf of mesothelioma victims. And this book plays to that lobby.
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