Five of the best books about whistleblowers
For a popular television show, the success of your program is typically determined by your ratings. However, ITV’s Mr Bates vs The Post Office has gone beyond the norm by spurring the government to pass emergency legislation to overturn numerous wrongful convictions that devastated the livelihoods of sub-postmasters across the nation. Prior to the airing of the TV drama, extensive investigative journalism was conducted, which was made possible by the bravery of whistleblowers. Some of these individuals were specifically targeted by the Post Office, but employees at Fujitsu and the Post Office also played a role.
To honor those who speak out against injustice, here are five noteworthy books written by or about individuals who have challenged those in positions of authority.
Nick Wallis’ exposé on the post office scandal.
Nick Wallis can be credited with being the most prolific journalist in covering the ongoing Horizon crisis. His coverage of the events heavily relies on the tireless efforts of families fighting to clear their names. However, it wasn’t until individuals within the Post Office and Fujitsu began sharing their knowledge that the true extent of the avoidable and widespread miscarriage of justice was exposed.
Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg
Daniel Ellsberg, a former Pentagon employee and security contractor, became increasingly disheartened by the Vietnam War, prompting him to meticulously photocopy 7,000 pages of confidential documents and distribute them to news outlets.
The actions of Nixon to ensure Ellsberg’s guilty verdict resulted in the creation of the notorious “plumbers”, who broke into the Watergate Hotel and ultimately led to Nixon’s downfall. This autobiography, published in 2002, details Ellsberg’s remarkable experiences as a whistleblower.
The book “Permanent Record” written by Edward Snowden.
For many years, no one has leaked as much classified information as Ellsberg did. However, in 2010, Chelsea Manning surpassed his record by leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. Manning’s record was then beaten just three years later by Edward Snowden, a contractor for the NSA, who gave top-secret records to the Guardian and Washington Post.
The disclosures caused modifications to surveillance regulations globally, but also sparked intense opposition. In this publication, Snowden shares his version of the events, detailing what motivated him to enter and subsequently depart from the security industry.
Whistleblower: My Journey to Silicon Valley and Fight for Justice at Uber by Susan Fowler
At the young age of 26, Susan Fowler played a crucial role in the downfall of Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick. But her influence extended far beyond that. A blog post she wrote, containing 3,000 words, exposed the toxic culture of sexism and mistreatment at Uber. This post played a significant role in igniting the #MeToo movement, leading to Fowler being featured as part of Time’s Person of the Year in 2017. She now shares her personal account of this experience.
André de Ruyter’s “Truth to Power: My Three Years Inside Eskom”
Unfortunately, the majority of individuals are not familiar with André de Ruyter or Eskom, the government-owned energy company in South Africa. Due to widespread corruption and inadequate funding, the country is plagued with frequent power outages and no clear solution in sight. De Ruyter was appointed to combat corruption and maintain a stable energy supply, but he was ultimately pushed out and hospitalized after being poisoned. As expected, his recollection of his brief time at Eskom reads more like a suspenseful novel than a typical nonfiction account.