The author forces readers to confront fundamental questions about the balance between free speech and state secrecy, and between individual rights and corporate power as he traces the rise of whistleblowing through a series of riveting cases.
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.
... deserves attention, though its shortcomings are substantial and occasionally exasperating ... Most of Mueller’s very long book is devoted to original storytelling. His extensively reported tales of individual whistleblowers and their often cruel fates are compelling ... But sometimes the pictures Mueller paints are misleading. He prefers black-and-white versions to the grays that so often describe reality. His anecdotes feature good guys in white hats and bad ones in black ... The great crash of 2008 and the government’s reaction to it is another subject Mueller oversimplifies ... Mueller’s mistakes and omissions undermine a reader’s confidence.
In this hefty account, Mueller at times overdoes the descriptive details, but overall this is 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.