THE GREAT PRICE CONSPIRACY by John Herling

THE GREAT PRICE CONSPIRACY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In May, 1959...a conjunction of time, politics and economics had generated the urgency"" with which the Justice Department undertook to expose allegations of price fixing, bid rigging, market allocation, and other misdeeds in the heavy electrical equipment industry, largest customers of which are Government agencies. The widely-publicized case resulted in heavy fines as well as unprecedented jail sentences for several high corporate executives. Grove Press's very recent volume The Gentlemen Conspirators, by John G. Fuller, was criticized by its New York Times' reviewer as ""too spare for its subject"". The same cannot be said for Herling's book, which expatiates not only on the backgrounds of the accused executives as reflected in their lawyers' comments before the sentencing judge, but upon the entire liberal construction of the philosophical and political implications of the investigation. Herling helpfully provides appendices spelling out the Sherman Act and itemizing the various indictments, actions, and persons affected by them, with a comparison between sentences recommended by the Justice Department and those actually imposed by the Federal Judge. He also analyzes the potentials arising from the fact that no trials were held, since pleas of guilty or nolo contendere were utilized to expedite the case. In view of his own tone of moral indignation (comparable to Fuller's) and the prevailing liberalism of today's effective politics, it is not surprising that Herling obliquely circumvents posing an issue which economic conservatives are beginning to sense -- namely, whether the protean code of antitrust precedents has not actually placed the business community between Scylla and Charybdis. This matter remains to be assessed by future writers. Meanwhile, Herling's condition of the 1961 proceedings in Philadelphia are sufficiently vivid to renew the gooseflesh suffered by every organization man then and since.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1962
Publisher: McKay-Luce