The Fall of the House of Zeus by Curtis Wilkie
The Rise and Ruin of America's Most Powerful Trial Lawyer

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“Over the past four decades no reporter has critiqued the American South with such evocative sensitivity and bedrock honesty as Curtis Wilkie.”
—Douglas Brinkley
The Fall of the House of Zeus tells the story of Dickie Scruggs, arguably the most successful plaintiff's lawyer in America. A brother-in-law of Trent Lott, the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Scruggs made a fortune taking on mass tort lawsuits against “Big Tobacco” and the asbestos industries. He was hailed by Newsweek as a latter day Robin Hood, and portrayed in the movie, The Insider, as a dapper aviator-lawyer. Scruggs’ legal triumphs rewarded him lavishly, and his success emboldened both his career maneuvering and his influence in Southern politics--but at a terrible cost, culminating in his spectacular fall, when he was convicted for conspiring to bribe a Mississippi state judge. 
Here Mississippi is emblematic of the modern South, with its influx of new money and its rising professional class, including lawyers such as Scruggs, whose interests became inextricably entwined with state and national politics.
Based on extensive interviews, transcripts, and FBI recordings never made public, The Fall of the House of Zeus exposes the dark side of Southern and Washington legal games and power politics: the swirl of fixed cases, blocked investigations, judicial tampering, and a zealous prosecution that would eventually ensnare not only Scruggs but his own son, Zach, in the midst of their struggle with insurance companies over Hurricane Katrina damages. In gripping detail, Curtis Wilkie crafts an authentic legal thriller propelled by a “welter of betrayals and personal hatreds,” providing large supporting parts for Trent Lott and Jim Biden, brother of then-Senator Joe, and cameos by John McCain, Al Gore, and other DC insiders and influence peddlers.
Above all, we get to see how and why the mighty fail and fall, a story as gripping and timeless as a Greek tragedy.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Curtis Wilkie

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Curtis Wilkie, a native Mississippian, graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963. He worked for the Clarksdale Press Register in the Mississippi Delta through the rest of the 1960s, during the height of the civil rights movement. A national and foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe for twenty-six years, he has covered eight presidential campaigns and was the paper's Middle East bureau chief from 1984 to 1987. Wilkie is the coauthor, with Jim McDougal, of Arkansas Mischief and has written for many national magazines, including Newsweek and The New Republic. He lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Published October 19, 2010 by Crown. 417 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

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Veteran journalist Wilkie (Journalism/Univ. of Mississippi; Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events that Shaped the Modern South, 2001, etc.) produces a meaty biography extolling the rise and fall of an infamously lucrative trial litigator.

Oct 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Fall of the House of Zeus...


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Curtis Wilkie is the author of The Fall of the House of Zeus, in which he chronicles the life of Dickie Scruggs, a trial lawyer who made millions in lawsuits targeting the asbestos and tobacco industries — and then wound up in prison for attempted bribery.

Dec 22 2010 | Read Full Review of The Fall of the House of Zeus...

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