‘This is a book that should be in any library with a business section. The story is more instructive that tales of colourful villains such as Alan Bond or of corrupt corporations such as Enron ... Haigh’s is a story of people who were unable, or chose not, to deal with profoundly conflicting interests. Subtle and thorough, it’s a page-turner.'
Peter McLennan, Australian Book Review
‘The asbestos that for 90 years was Hardie’s core business eventually became a liability, and the story of how the company tried — and continues to try — to distance itself from its past makes for fascinating reading.’
Lachlan Jobbins, Australian Bookseller & Publisher
'deserves reading by anyone wanting to understand an increasingly rotten strand in modern business culture.'
Jack Waterford, Canberra Times
‘a serious, sombre and, at times, heart-rending account befitting a tragic and awful story ... At all times Haigh’s research is impeccable. This is the book’s great strength — it could become the reference book on all matters relating to asbestos.’
Matthew Charles, Herald Sun
'This is a very sad story about Australia's greatest occupational health disaster ... The entire tragic set of events is well set out by the author.'
Richard Archer, Journal of Occupational Health and Safety
'Haigh's book is much more than just an analysis of the current events involving Hardie and its responsibility to right past wrongs. It is, as it claims, an industrial history which traces the development of the asbestos industry in Australia in a broader global context with particular reference to parallel developments in the United States ... Overall, Haigh as written an important book and it will fill many significant knowledge gaps for those who have followed, and continue to follow, the Hardie saga.'
Harry Knowles, Labour History
‘This well-written and researched book should appeal to the legal mind, since it recounts how human folly on a grand scale led to an ever-increasing stream of personal damages claims and a commission of enquiry.’
Philip Burgess, Law Society Journal
‘This is a stunning and gripping account of the worst of Australian business and its ethics.’
‘Haigh’s powerfully written book provides a valuable account of [Hardie’s] legacy.’
Leon Gettler, The Age
‘meticulously researched and powerfully written ... This fine book should be required reading for those who wish to understand corporate capitalism and also to promote business ethics.’
Ross Fitzgerald, Weekend Australian
‘This sobering study in corporate citizenship is a must for students of modern capitalism and its inherent pitfalls. Journalist Gideon Haigh ... has interviewed the major players in this drama and has compiled a benchmark study of responsibility and big business.’
Steve Woodman, Weekend, Newcastle Herald
'Asbestos House is impeccably researched, yet written with great journalistic flourish ... Haigh gets behind the scapegoating of Hardies to present a balanced but critical view of its progressively corrupted corporate culture that enables us not to dismiss them as just a rotten apple but to look at the biased wheel of the barrow, not just of corporations, but of a range of utilitarian Australian and global institutions that slowly but surely slip into making people a means to an end.'
Gordon Preece, Zadok Perspectives
‘At first glance this important book is a shameful story of intrigue, conspiracy and scandal. But it is far more than that. Its background is a social history of industrial Australia and the entrepreneurs who built it. Caught up in a dreadful medical disaster, their inherited paternalistic attitude to their employees failed to meet the challenge and they slipped into a world where defending their commercial interests took precedence over their humanity. The lessons are as relevant today as they were when the tragedy first unfolded.’
‘Asbestos House, is a scholarly and compelling corporate history ... it reflects upon all aspects of this important episode in Australian commercial and social life, while never losing sight of the human tragedy at the heart of the story,'
Mary Padbury, Blake Dawson Waldren chairman of partners