Narrated By: Kate Mulligan
Duration: 9 hours and 42 minutes
What to expect
A magisterial exploration of whistleblowing in America, from the Revolutionary War to the Trump era
Misconduct by those in high places is always dangerous to reveal. Whistleblowers thus face conflicting impulses: by challenging and exposing transgressions by the powerful, they perform a vital public service—yet they always suffer for it. This episodic history brings to light how whistleblowing, an important but unrecognized cousin of civil disobedience, has held powerful elites accountable in America.
Analyzing a range of whistleblowing episodes, from the corrupt Revolutionary War commodore Esek Hopkins (whose dismissal led in 1778 to the first whistleblower protection law) to Edward Snowden, to the dishonesty of Donald Trump, Allison Stanger reveals the centrality of whistleblowing to the health of American democracy. She also shows that with changing technology and increasing militarization, the exposure of misconduct has grown more difficult to do and more personally costly for those who do it—yet American freedom, especially today, depends on it.
Politics and government
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“A stunningly original, deeply insightful, and compelling analysis of the profound conflicts we have faced over whistleblowing, national security, and democracy from our nation’s founding to the Age of Trump.”
“The depth, breadth, and power of the national security state should concern every American who cares about our democracy. Allison Stanger has woven interviews, insights, and great stories into a compelling argument for why we must celebrate and protect whistleblowers as the indispensable guardians of our national ideals.”
“This clear-eyed, sobering book narrates a history of whistleblowing…A must read.”