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Silent Shock

Silent Shock: The Men Behind the Thalidomide Scandal and an Australian Family’s Long Road to Justice

Michael Magazanik

The baby started to come out. Head first, everything OK. But then I saw that there were no arms. And then no legs. The little girl had only a torso and a head.

Lyn Rowe was born in Melbourne in 1962, seven months after her mother Wendy was given a new wonder drug for morning sickness called thalidomide.

For fifty years the Rowe family cared for Lyn. Decades of exhausting, round-the-clock work. But then in 2011 Lyn Rowe launched a legal claim against the thalidomide companies. Against the odds, she won a multi-million-dollar settlement.

Former journalist Michael Magazanik is one of the lawyers who ran Lyn’s case. In Silent Shock he exposes a fifty-year cover up concerning history’s most notorious drug, and details not only the damning case against manufacturers Grünenthal—whose enthusiastic promotion of their lucrative drug in the face of mounting evidence beggars belief—but also the moving story of the Rowe family.

Spanning Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Sweden and, of course, Germany, Silent Shock is an epic account of corporate wrongdoing against a backdrop of heroic personal struggle and sacrifice.


Sydney Morning Herald


Age Good Weekend
ABC News
612 ABC Brisbane
Radio New Zealand—Nine to Noon
ABC Radio National Drive
Jewish News

Michael Magazanik
About the Author

Michael Magazanik has worked as a journalist for the Age, the Australian and ABC-TV, and is now a lawyer with Slater & Gordon. He lives in Melbourne with his partner and three children.

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22 May 2015
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Praise for Michael Magazanik
andSilent Shock

‘Magazanik exposes myths and concealments on a grand scale… A compelling read. Highly recommended.’

‘Magazanik—a lawyer on the Rowes’ legal team and a former journalist—has woven an extraordinary story…Magazanik has moulded [the Rowes’] story into a modern Australian myth, the battlers who took on the pharmaceuticals and won.‘

‘A harrowing read of the damage wrought by this infamous drug.’

‘A frightening account of secrets in the pharmaceutical industry and the inspiring story of a family and their legal team that just wouldn’t give up.’

‘Silent Shock is an ambitious, important book…Magazanik does an excellent job.’

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