Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

8 Books About Whistleblowers You Need To Read

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Kate Krug


Kate is a 2011 Drake University grad, where she received her BA in magazine journalism. A hopeless romantic with a cynical heart, Kate will read anything that comes with a content warning, a love triangle, and a major plot twist. Twitter: @katekrug Blog:

National Whistleblower Appreciation Day is celebrated every July 30th in the United States. This day has its roots in the first whistleblower law implemented in 1778. The global observation of World Whistleblower Day occurs at the end of June. Whistleblowers play a significant role in both public and private sectors, and their level of publicity or notoriety varies depending on the case.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a whistleblower is someone who exposes illegal or fraudulent activities within an organization or business, often an employee or someone closely related to the organization. Whistleblowers risk retaliation from their employers for bringing such matters to light. While there are laws in place to protect whistleblowers, such laws differ from country to country.

The U.S. Congress has consecutively recognized National Whistleblower Day since 2013, and this year marks its 10th anniversary. The day commemorates the contributions of individuals who have come forward to report fraud, abuse, and wrongdoing. The list of whistleblowers includes some well-known names and some who are not as famous but deserve recognition for their bravery and story. Acknowledging these individuals’ courage in standing up against corruption and encouraging others to do the same is essential.

Cover of Whistleblowers by Allison Stanger

Whistleblowers: Honesty in America from Washington to Trump by Allison Stanger

If you’re interested in learning about whistleblowers or seeking an overview of some of the most famous cases, this book is an excellent introduction. The author, Stanger, traces the history of whistleblowing from Esek Hopkins in the Revolutionary War to the present-day controversies surrounding Donald Trump. The book provides a comprehensive picture of how our perception of whistleblowers has evolved over time, how these individuals are treated, and how crucial they have become to our society.

Cover of README.txt by Chelsea Manning

Readme.txt by Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in Iraq, gained notoriety for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, including military and diplomatic records. However, her memoir delves deeper than just her efforts to uncover corruption and promote government transparency. Manning also shares her personal journey as a transgender woman, discussing the challenges of navigating hormone therapy and transitioning while in the public eye.

Cover of Classified Woman by Sibel Edmonds

Classified Woman by Sibel Edmonds

Edmonds, a former contract translator for the FBI, gained public attention when she blew the whistle on her termination after less than seven months of service. She exposed unreported security breaches, cover-ups, and crucial information withholding during the turbulent months following the 9/11 attacks. Her memoir documents the bullying and retaliation she endured from her colleagues and her inspiring journey toward creating safe havens for whistleblowers.

Cover of Against a Tide of Evil

Against a Tide of Evil: How One Man Became the Whistleblower to the First Mass Murder of the Twenty-First Century by Mukesh Kapila

Mukesh Kapila, a former head of the United Nations in Sudan, was a witness to appalling acts of violence that occurred due to the UN’s inaction in Darfur. He exposed the human rights abuses and, as a result, faced repercussions in the form of losing his position within the UN and various roles within the British government. Nevertheless, he persisted in his quest to bring justice to those guilty of the Darfur genocide, which is considered one of the earliest mass killings of the 21st century.

Cover of Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden

Back in 2013, Snowden made headlines when he disclosed top-secret documents from the U.S. National Security Agency. These documents shed light on the extent of the U.S. government’s surveillance of not just its own citizens but people worldwide. His memoir provides a detailed account of his role in constructing the infrastructure, his reservations, and what ultimately led him to face two charges of violating the Espionage Act of 1917.

Cover of What The Eyes Don't See

What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a renowned pediatrician, uncovered the alarming truth about the water supply in Flint, Michigan. She conducted a pioneering medical investigation that exposed hazardous levels of lead in the drinking water. Despite opposition from her state government, she bravely voiced her concerns and sparked a crucial recognition of the water crisis — all beautifully laid out in her memoir.

the audiobook cover of Thicker Than Water

Thicker Than Water by Tyler Shultz

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a health tech start-up, was imprisoned due to her wrongdoings. Tyler was one of the first individuals to raise concerns about patient safety and other issues that didn’t seem right. He also had family members on the Theranos Board of Directors, which added to the complexity of the situation. This story was originally released as a four-part Audible Original, shedding light on the events that led to Holmes’ downfall.

Cover of RESET

Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

Ellen Pao’s fight against gender discrimination and harassment is a powerful example of the importance of standing up for oneself in the face of adversity. Her refusal to settle and determination to bring about change is an inspiration to anyone facing similar challenges in the workplace. Through her experiences and efforts as CEO at Reddit, Pao shows that it is possible to effect change and create a more equitable workplace for all.

Looking for some more books that talk about corruption in government or in business? Check out these other great lists from Team Book Riot!