Magazine article Newsweek

More Old Muck on GM

Magazine article Newsweek

More Old Muck on GM

Article excerpt

Is Bradford Snell the next Nader? Nah.

THIRTY-TWO YEARS AGO NO ONE HAD heard of Ralph Nader, a lawyer working on a book, about General Motors. Then came Unsafe at Any Speed," Nader's landmark expose that blasted GM's Corvair. Today, another unknown Washington lawyer is writing the final chapters of his own book about GM. For two decades Bradford Snell has worked full time on an exhaustive, highly critical history of the world's largest carr maker. Now, after countless drafts, the book-all 1,300 pages--is nearing completion. Though few people have seen the manuscript, Snell is already being touted as a muckraker on par with Nader. That may be hyperbole, but Snell's work is already causing a buzz.

Why such a stir? Last month PBS aired a documentary based largely on Snell's research. The film, "Taken for a Ride," alleges that GM conspired to destroy the trolley industry in the 1940s. GM shot back at PBS, calling the film "an electronic cheap shot." There will be harsher words when Snell's book arrives. Among his allegations: that GM collaborated with the Nazis. A GM spokesman hasn't seen the manuscript--nor has NEWSWEEK--but he dismisses what he's heard about Snell's work as "old, discredited myths" and calls the Nazi charge "totally false and irresponsible." Though the allegations are ancient history, he expects a war of words when the book hits shelves late next year. "This book lays open the entire corporation for re-evaluation," he says. …

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