Jonathan Harr - book author
Jonathan Harr is an American writer, best known for A Civil Action.
Harr was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. His sister, Cynthia Lauwers, lives in North Andover, Massachusetts. He lives and works in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he has taught nonfiction writing at Smith College. He is a former staff writer at New England Monthly and has written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. Harr spent approximately seven and a half years researching and writing A Civil Action, which was published in 1995, and subsequently nominated for a National Book Award, and awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award. John Travolta and Robert Duvall starred in the film of the same name, and Robert Redford was on the production team. Harr later wrote The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece in 2005, which became a best seller.
Jonathan Harr is the author of books: The Lost Painting, A Civil Action, Funeral Wars: How Lawyer Willie Gary Turned a Petty Dispute About Coffins into a Multi-million Dolla, Tabloul pierdut, A OBRA-PRIMA DESAPARECIDA (Colecção: Grandes Narrativas, 338), Unbeugsam, El cuadro perdido, No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia, and Community Action, A Documentary Companion to a Civil Action: With Notes, Comments and Questions
The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn't alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.
Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others -- no one knows the precise number -- have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.
Jonathan Harr embarks on a journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ -- its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.
After finding that her child is diagnosed with leukemia, Anne Anderson notices a high prevalence of leukemia, a relatively rare disease, in her city. Eventually she gathers other families and seeks a lawyer, Jan Schlichtmann, to consider their options.
Schlichtmann originally decides not to take the case due to both the lack of evidence and a clear defendant. Later picking up the case, Schlichtmann finds evidence suggesting trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination of the town's water supply by Riley Tannery, a subsidiary of Beatrice Foods; a chemical company, W. R. Grace; and another company named Unifirst.
In the course of the lawsuit Schlichtmann gets other attorneys to assist him. He spends lavishly as he had in his prior lawsuits, but the length of the discovery process and trial stretch all of their assets to their limit.
The authors strike a humane, constructive note amidst chilling odds, advocating extensive lay involvement based on the Woburn model of civic action. Finally, they propose a safe policy for toxic wastes and governmental/corporate responsibility. Woburn, the authors predict, will become a code word for environmental struggles.