It's that time of year again!
Read this woman's books. Now. I mean it.

Best legal book of the year.

Hands down: It's Gerald M. Stern's The Scotia Widows: Inside Their Lawsuit Against Big Daddy Coal.

Scotia Stern was actually the attorney who represented the "Scotia Widows," fifteen women who lost their husbands (one lost a husband AND a brother) in the Scotia coal mine explosion in Kentucky in 1976. And, in a masterpiece of succinct yet suspenseful legal writing, he tells the story of the accident (which was caused at least partially by faulty venting on the part of the coal mining company), the initial trial, the appeal, and the final settlement that would finally achieve some financial justice for the women.

If you're looking for a completely unbiased account, this is not the one; Stern has some strong feelings about the companies in question (and their "dedication" to the safety of their workers--one of the company's mottoes was "Higher Production--Lower Costs") and at least one judge in front of whom he made his case. If, like me, you feel the vast majority of judges are corrupt bastards, this book will not do anything to correct that assumption.

It's a fantastic book. And it tells one hell of a story in a mere 145 pages.