The Mark Blog

The Top Ten Books About Whistleblowers

Edward Snowden
PEN Center USA is highlighting the ten best books about whistleblowers. The current administration has been relentless in its legal pursuit of government whistleblowers. We worry that this unprecedented campaign may have a chilling effect on free speech in the United States. Check out some of the most influential and explosive books on the subject below.
1. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald
PEN Center USA First Amendment Award winner Glenn Greenwald’s new book details the bombshell revelations he received about American surveillance practices from Edward Snowden. Buy it here.
2. State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration by James Risen
James Risen has been threatened with jail time for protecting the confidentiality of one of this book’s sources. You can purchase the book here. Read more about Risen’s situation on our Freedom to Write page here.
3. All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
The definitive book on one of the biggest whistleblower stories of the 20th century, in which Bernstein and Woodward exposed the Watergate conspiracy with the help of an anonymous whistleblower nicknamed “Deep Throat.” Buy it here.
4. The Pentagon Papers leaked by Daniel Ellsberg
Ellsberg leaked these shocking government documents about the war in Vietnam, an action which caused him to be charged with conspiracy, espionage, and theft of government property. You can download them for free here.
5. Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron by Mimi Swartz with Sherron Watkins
Watkins was a Vice President at the energy giant Enron when she discovered and exposed the accounting irregularities that would lead to the complete collapse of the corrupt business. Purchase a copy here.
6. No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller by Harry Markopolos
Markopolos discovered the massive Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. He spent years gathering evidence for the SEC, who routinely ignored his claims. More here.
7.  The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice by Kathryn Bolkovac and Cari Lynn
Kathryn Bolkovac was a human rights investigator who discovered that her employer was involved in human trafficking and forced prostitution and exposed their misdeeds at great personal risk. Buy it here.
8. Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment by James H. Jones
This is the definitive history of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, a horrific and unethical medical experiment performed on poor, black American sharecroppers. This shameful experiment was courageously exposed by Peter Buxtun, an employee of the Public Health Service who leaked information to the news media and helped end the program. Check it out.
9. The Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption in Government & Industry by Myron Peretz Glazer and Penina Migdal Glazer
This is a compendium of the stories of 64 famous “ethical resisters,” as the authors call them, who shined a light on government and corporate misdeeds. Purchase the book here.
10. The Whistleblower’s Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Doing What’s Right and Protecting Yourself
This is the ultimate legal guide to protecting yourself if you are thinking about becoming a whistleblower yourself. Buy it here.