Crisis of Conscience: Whistleblowing in an Age of Fraud (Hardcover)

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"A call to arms and to action, for anyone with a conscience, anyone alarmed about the decline of our democracy." — New York Times-bestselling author Wendell Potter

"Powerful...His extensively reported tales of individual whistleblowers and their often cruel fates are compelling...They reveal what it can mean to live in an age of fraud." — The Washington Post

"Tom Mueller's authoritative and timely book reveals what drives a few brave souls to expose and denounce specific cases of corruption. He describes the structural decay that plagues many of our most powerful institutions, putting democracy itself in danger." —George Soros

A David-and-Goliath story for our times: the riveting account of the heroes who are fighting a rising tide of wrongdoing by the powerful, and showing us the path forward.


We live in a period of sweeping corruption -- and a golden age of whistleblowing. Over the past few decades, principled insiders who expose wrongdoing have gained unprecedented legal and social stature, emerging as the government's best weapon against corporate misconduct--and the citizenry's best defense against government gone bad. Whistleblowers force us to confront fundamental questions about the balance between free speech and state secrecy, and between individual morality and corporate power.

In Crisis of Conscience, Tom Mueller traces the rise of whistleblowing through a series of riveting cases drawn from the worlds of healthcare and other businesses, Wall Street, and Washington. Drawing on in-depth interviews with more than two hundred whistleblowers and the trailblazing lawyers who arm them for battle--plus politicians, intelligence analysts, government watchdogs, cognitive scientists, and other experts--Mueller anatomizes what inspires some to speak out while the rest of us become complicit in our silence. Whistleblowers, we come to see, are the freethinking, outspoken citizens for whom our republic was conceived. And they are the models we must emulate if our democracy is to survive.

About the Author


Tom Mueller’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and The Atlantic. He is the author of the New York Times–bestselling Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

Praise For…


“Ambitious…Powerful…His extensively reported tales of individual whistleblowers and their often cruel fates are compelling…and they reveal what it can mean to live in an age of fraud.” — The Washington Post

“A masterful, eye-opening account of heroes ‘who are fighting a rising tide of wrongdoing by the powerful.’” — Fast Company

"Engrossingly examines the ethics, mechanics, and reverberations of whistleblowing of all kinds, emphasizing how bitterly controversial the practice remains, posing a clash between group loyalty and individual conscience.... Superb reporting on brave people who decided, 'It would have been criminal for me not to act.'" — Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“This exceptionally timely book is sure to strike a chord with readers paying close attention to the political landscape.” Publishers Weekly

"Mueller's powerful but disheartening story of pervasive fraud and a general collapse of ethical behavior with only glimmers of hope from the bravery of whistleblowers is fully accessible to general readers and substantive enough for academic audiences; a must-read." — Library Journal (starred)

"A fascinating history of the self-deputized referees who blow the whistle on illicit activities that put Americans' freedom, money, health, and lives at risk." — Booklist 

"An extraordinary book, both meticulously researched and a page-turner. Crisis of Conscience is a call to arms and to action, for anyone with a conscience, anyone alarmed about the decline of our democracy." — Wendell Potter, New York Times-bestselling author of Deadly Spin and Nation on the Take

"This is the definitive treatment of whistleblowing. Tom Mueller not only describes the ordeals and impact of those who change the course of history, but takes us on a journey through their souls." — Tom Devine, Legal Director, Government Accountability Project

Praise for Tom Mueller and Extra Virginity:
"In covering an industry that has its heroes and villains ... Tom Mueller does a splendid job of sorting out the players. ... I don't know anyone who has put it all together more thoroughly or entertainingly." — Los Angeles Times

"[Mueller's] history lessons are never less than interesting." —Dwight Garner, New York Times

"Mueller does for his subject what Susan Orlean did for orchids." — Columbus Dispatch


Product Details
ISBN: 9781594634437
ISBN-10: 1594634432
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019
Pages: 608