New Books on Wealth Redistribution

Today is the official release date for “Kings of Torts,” an account of the legal scandals that sent Mississippi trial lawyer and Dickie Scruggs and his tobacco lawsuit partner Paul Minor to prison. The authors are Alan Lange of Jackson, Miss., founder of YallPolitics , and Tom Dawson, the retired federal prosecutor who was lead counsel in the Scruggs cases. (Author profiles.) From the book’s website,

Kings of Tort chronicles the sordid tale of judicial bribery and political intrigue in Mississippi, birthplace of the tobacco litigation and long known as one of the most tort-friendly jurisdictions in the nation. It features the story of Dickie Scruggs, who was largely credited with bringing down Big Tobacco in the early 1990s. From his ascent to a net worth of nearly a billion dollars to his seemingly unfathomable downfall stemming from his role in improperly influencing two local judges to influence cases involving fee disputes with other lawyers, the book documents how those in Scruggs’s own trusted circle of tort barons turned on him and cooperated with federal authorities. It also shows the political influence he wielded with judges, attorneys general, and even his own brother-in-law, former US Senator Trent Lott.

Press coverage here. The book is being published by Pediment Books.

Elsewhere, movie critic, radio talk show host and author Michael Medved is promoting his newest book, “The 5 Big Lies About American Business: Combating The Most Toxic Myths About The Market Economy.” He blogs about the book at CNBC:

At a time of near universal economic suffering, there should be more openness than ever to the revolutionary and ultimately life-changing realization that you gain, rather than losing, from the progress of the people around you. By the same token, bad luck for the privileged never brings more blessings for the impoverished. Severe losses for the business elite will lead directly to collapsing, companies, communities and even societies.

For some readers, the logic in my book will sound distinctly counter-intuitive – in attacking cherished, ubiquitous, but groundless beliefs like the profound, automatic superiority of small business over big business (actually, every small business yearns to get big), or the common assumption that government responds more directly to public needs and preferences than do private companies (actually, few bureaucracies ever go out of business by ignoring or insulting the people they serve, but arrogant, inefficient corporations close down every day).

Medved is one of the most thorough and calm presenters of information and arguments among the talk radio hosts we’ve encountered. He’s certainly picked a timely topic.

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