Judith Armatta

Judith Armatta is a lawyer, journalist and human rights activist



From: Judith Armatta's list of 3 favorite books of 2023

Bottle of Lies: The Inside Story of the Generic Drug Boom

By Katherine Eban

This book saves lives -- and that is not hyperbole! It opened my eyes to the dangers of the poorly regulated generic drug industry.

I was horrified to learn I had been taking a prescription drug for several years that was manufactured by a disreputable company in India that, like a number of other foreign manufacturers, skimps on or adulterates active ingredients. While I didn't die as a result, some people prescribed medication for heart ailments and cancer did.

The book reads like a thriller. Eban spent years investigating the generic pharmaceutical industry, accompanying a whistle-blower through his nearly decade-long saga of losing his job, being blackballed, and impoverished. 

The book was recommended to me by a doctor who has been studying generics and advocating for tighter regulation. Every doctor, nurse, and pharmacist should read it, as well as the patients.

Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power

By Garry Wills

Books that astound me teach something important I didn't know. After 15 years of schooling, I still have much to learn, which keeps me reading. 

In Negro President, I learned that Jefferson achieved the presidency because of the then-clause in the US Constitution that gave slave owners additional votes equal to three-fifths of a person, based on the number they owned. The slaves didn't have a say in it. While Wills admires Jefferson and has written much about him, he reveals how Jefferson helped maintain slavery in the South.

This proves two maxims: 1) we're none of us all good or all bad, and 2) the US was indeed created in slavery. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand racism in the US, then and now.

Wrapped in the Flag: A Personal History of America's Radical Right

By Claire Conner

I thought I knew all there was for an average, responsible citizen to know about the John Birch Society until I read Claire Conner's memoir of growing up with parents in the movement. 

It was far more influential then and now than I understood. The Society has a prominent place in the history of today's radical right. Conner's personal story helped me understand how an ideology can consume one's thoughts, actions, and emotions to the exclusion of even one's children.

It also illuminated the Herculean effort it takes to break free. This memoir is eminently readable. I was shocked, angered, and heartbroken over Conner's personal journey. As well, I greatly admire what she was able to achieve.


SEE ALSO SHEPHERD AUTHORS' FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2023: https://shepherd.com/bboy/2023