Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A Harvest of Thorns

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison.    368 pages.

In Bangladesh, a garment factory burns to the ground, claiming the lives of hundreds of workers, mostly young women and girls. One photograph, captured by a bystander, is an image seared into minds around the world: a teenage girl lying in the dirt, her body broken and over her mouth a mask of fabric bearing the label of one of America's largest retailers, Presto.

At Presto's headquarters in Virginia, Cameron Alexander, the company's general counsel, watches the media coverage, wondering if the damage can be contained. When he launches an investigation into the disaster, he uncovers much more than he imagined.  A year later, in Washington, Josh Griswold, a prize-winning journalist who's down on his luck, receives an anonymous summons from a corporate whistleblower who offers him confidential information about the fire and about Presto, itself.  When he begins to build a case against Presto, it's not just to provoke a revolution of conscience in Presto's boardroom, but to transform the fashion industry across the globe.

While the Presto Corporation is not real, an actual fire did occur on November 24, 2012 in the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh which killed 117 workers and injured over 200 more.  The author based his book on all of the research that he did, and that definitely lends a very real feel to this book.  I found it to be fascinating, filled with details, interesting characters and a steady pace.  I wasn't sure what was going to happen by the end of the book, which kept me turning the pages.

It's definitely a sobering read, and the fact that the author includes several pages at the conclusion of the book that give information about the 2012 fire, as well as corporate practices, underlines the fact that this is a fiction book based soundly in facts.  The author also includes information on how to learn more about supply chains and corporate responsibility, which I appreciated.
this is a photo from the 2012 fire

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