A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison (review by Cathy)

A Harvestt of Thorns

 

About the book:

 

A beloved American corporation with an explosive secret. A disgraced former journalist looking for redemption. A corporate executive with nothing left to lose.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women. Amid the rubble, a bystander captures a heart-stopping photograph—a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken by a multi-story fall, and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America’s largest retailers, Presto Omnishops Corporation.
Eight thousand miles away, at Presto’s headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company’s long-time general counsel, watches the media coverage of the fire in horror, wondering if the damage can be contained. When the photo goes viral, fanning the flames of a decades old controversy about sweatshops, labor rights, and the ethics of globalization, he launches an investigation into the disaster that will reach farther than he could ever imagine – and threaten everything he has left in the world.
A year later, in Washington, D.C., Joshua Griswold, a disgraced former journalist from the Washington Post, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about Presto and the fire. For Griswold, the challenge of exposing Presto’s culpability is irresistible, as is the chance, however slight, at redemption. Deploying his old journalistic skills, he builds a historic case against Presto, setting the stage for a war in the courtroom and in the media that Griswold is determined to win—both to salvage his reputation and to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto’s boardroom that could transform the fashion industry across the globe.

My review (5 stars)

When a fire breaks out in a factory in Bangladesh, the aftermath is felt as far-reaching as the United States.  As well it should since the garments the workers are making is from an American based clothing company.
I’ve been aware of “sweat shops” for many years, but reading this book and having the atrocities brought to my attention once more was very eye-opening.  My heart was broken for the characters in the factory as they faced unsafe working conditions, verbal and in some cases physical abuse.   Young girls that worked in order to help their families pay bills that worked such long hours bent over sewing machines was hard to fathom.
I loved Cameron, the general council for Pesto Corporation even though at times I questioned some of his actions.  The company is thrown into damage control with him leading the way.  As he grapples with his own demons, he travels to meet with those in charge of the factory trying to make sense out of how certain  other factories became involved in the manufacturing of Pesto’s clothing.
Joshua, a journalist that receives information about the investigation was also another character that I liked quite a bit.  He too, is facing some personal problems which added to my interest of him.
What really made reading this book interesting to me is the lengths that corporations will go to in order to make a profit no matter what.  It’s all about their bottom line.   I’ll be more mindful of that fact when I shop and where things are made.
This book will definitely make you think and even if it’s not something that you would normally read, I really recommend it.
I received a complimentary copy of A Harvest of Thorns from the publisher and have given my honest opinion.
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