978-0-670-86767-7 / 0670867675

The Power to Harm: Mind, Medicine, and Murder on Trial

by Cornwell, John

Publisher:Viking Adult



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About the book:

On 14th September 1989, Joe Wesbecker entered the Standard Gravure printing plant in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Half-an-hour later, he had shot 20 of his former co-workers - Wesbecker had been on mental disability leave from the plant for a year - before turning the gun on himself. It emerged that Wesbecker had been on Prozac, so his victims and their families sued its makers, Eli Lily and Company, for compensation. In the course of preparing their cases, lawyers created the most detailed profile of a murderer ever assembled. The jury rejected the plaintiffs' claims, but it soon came to light that Lily's lawyers had made a secret deal that led to their landmark court victory. Using case documents, interviews and his own coverage of the trial, the author recreates the tragic events - a story embedded in the crises of blue-collar life in takeover America. He also offers a new perspective on the genesis of violence, on the tears in America's societal safety net that only pharmacology now seems to fill, and on the struggle, in labs and law courts over the definition of identity itself.

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