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Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval Hardcover – June 26, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


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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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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #737,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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