An account of the 30-year war waged by lawyers, scientists, whistle blowers, and health crusaders against the tobacco companies. Investigative journalist Zegart spent five years researching a complicated story of dying lung cancer victims who sued tobacco companies (such as Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, and Brown & Williamson) through the efforts of Ron Motley, a southern lawyer who won many product liability cases involving asbestos. Motley could not forget the memory of his mother, a heavy smoker, dying painfully of lung cancer, and he gradually built up a file of research scientists (who proved that the biochemistry of human cells was changed by the addictive nature of nicotine) and whistle blowers (who provided the evidence that tobacco companies suppressed public knowledge of the addictive qualities of nicotine). He also discovered evidence that at least one company spiked extra nicotine into the cigarettes to create permanently addicted customers. When many state attorneys-general combined their efforts to defeat Big Tobacco in court, it was found that companies had known for years from their own research that cigarette smoking was a leading cause of lung cancer but had lied about it.
An interesting story of a victory for justice led by a hero lawyer and gritty, never-say-die crusaders who worked around the clock for years. A glossary of the numerous characters coming in and out of the book could have aided the reader, however.