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Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval Hardcover


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Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval + What Is Life Worth?: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Fund and Its Effort to Compensate the Victims of September 11th
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586489771
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586489779
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Kirkus Reviews
“An insider's account of how compensation decisions are made after major disasters…An opportunity to get to know a man whose work has affected thousands.” 

Newsweek Daily Beast“When bad things happen and damages are due, it has frequently fallen on Washington lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to decide how much cash goes to whom—thus his unlikely career as America’s King Solomon.” Washington Post“A clearly written and emotionally contained new book”

Washington Post

“In Who Gets What,” lawyer and master of disaster Kenneth R. Feinberg dissects the complicated business of settling claims after calamity… A glance at recent headlines may indicate a long shelf life for Feinberg’s book — who will compensate the victims of Jerry Sandusky? “Who Gets What” indeed."

Reed Richardson, Eric Alterman's blog on The Nation

“An interesting prism through which to view what kind of lives and livelihoods our democracy sees fit to value… This peek into a world 99 percent of us will never experience is perhaps the most powerful lesson of Feinberg's book. It reveals how our society's values have been radically skewed to greatly reward those who take excessive risks in creating impenetrable 'vehicles' that have almost no intrinsic societal value.”

Eric Posner, New Republic on line

“A helpful reminder that many institutions that we take for granted flourish only because the public does not pay attention to them. When political ruptures expose this machinery, savvy figures such as Kenneth Feinberg are called upon to play a paradoxical role. They convince the public that these institutions are fair by temporarily suspending their operation and using ad hoc procedures that better comport with public notions of fairness, until public attention wanders elsewhere.

New York Times Sunday Business
“Thoughtful… Mr. Feinberg is compassionate, tough, legally creative, highly persuasive and politically shrewd. He has an endless appetite for work, an admirable taste for public service and a zest for butting heads in high-stakes negotiations. He understands that he takes the heat for the public officials who call him in. He expects no one to be happy with how he slices the pie, at least not at first, and no one to be in a reasonable mood.”

Thomson Reuters“[Who Gets What] offers a narrative of Feinberg ‘bending the law’ -- as he describes it -- as he wrestles with the answers. In nearly every case Feinberg tackled, he was asked to refashion traditional legal conventions to serve a broader societal cause.”

JAMS (Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services)
“The book provides a terrific narrative of some of America’s hardest-to-solve problems and an even deeper insight into the mind of the man who brought resolution to each of them. We highly recommend it.”

About the Author

Kenneth R. Feinberg, one of the nation’s leading lawyers, has been front and center in some of the most complex legal disputes of the past three decades: Agent Orange, asbestos, the closing of the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, and 9/11. He is adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, and the University of Virginia.


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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MD914 on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I thought the book was a bit light. I expected more in depth about each crisis that Feinberg handled.
Interesting and a good read overall. Still, I felt slightly cheated. B/B+
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By L. Page on October 2, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is written by Kenneth Feinberg who was charged with the difficult task of managing the Victim Compensation Funds for 9/11
Victims as well as other disasters, including shooting episodes. He puts forward a short biography so the reader can understand
where he comes from in terms of background, education and values. I found it very interesting and feel that he did a fine job in all cases. Obviously, it is impossible for him to please all involved. He lays everything out in clear, logical language and I found it very helpful in understanding where the monies come from, how, why, and what are the factors to be considered when working out who gets what. I think it is an important record of those funds and how they work. There are many emotional factors and he works with
those in mind at all times but must remember his goal of fair distribution. He has given generously of his time and talents and is , in
my opinion, to be thanked and congratulated. His has been a valuable public service.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ken Feinberg has become the "go to person" when a limited amount of money is available to compensate a large number of disaster victims. His methods and observations form a fascinating study of how people react in these cases.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A suberb analysis of a current issue that is increasingly imposed on democraic populations. What is the responsibslity of a government for the protection of its citizens and if it fails what constitutes fair reinbursement ? Fineberg does the best to lay bare the profound and difficult problem of establishing ground rules and their application. A range of prolem situations are presented of which he has unique experience as the Master in chage of disbursement. One of a kind in new literature in public policy. Reommend reading for any serious student of social problems that looms ahead. Maurice James
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting regarding the criteria he used to decide how people should be compensated after tragedies occur. One also learns about the importance of other named individuals, including judges and members of the government.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark Merryfield on August 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Monetary Settlement

This a smart read on the monetary settlement, for victims, of five major horrific events in American history. Kenneth Fienberg walks us through his thought process to come to logical, legal and moral frame work on financial settlement victims of these tragedies receive. I do have a disagreement with the amount of settlement difference between Agent Orange, 9-11 and Hokie resolutions.

We don't get any clarity about how we should handle the next big disaster. It seems that we should have this dialogue before and not after there is a national tragedy that needs us to attend to our fallen Heros. Money is very important to get the families back on track, but it will not replace the loved one. Nothing is said about the programs that could be put in place to deal with the loss of loved ones. I see that as a flaw in what we are trying to accomplish. We give a check and go away and think that all is well. It is only the beginning as these brave families try to rebuild their lives. I was in NYC, shortly after 9-11, walking near the Trade Center and was literally brought to my knees with the memorial boards that were put up for loved ones lost in the towers. 9-11 was a monumental event that changed the world as we knew it and it is just and fitting that we stepped up for the fallen heros.

Personal responsibilty is touched on this book, but only in passing. The question I have is why don't more individuals have life insurance? The idea is income protection for one's family and loved ones. As a nation we are ok with a five hundred a month car payment, but don't have any family wealth protection.

We are fortunate to have someone like Kenneth Fienberg serving us during these national disasters.

If you are a tax payer, I recommend you read this book.
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