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Crisis of Conscience  - Tom Mueller - <span class="date-display-single">10/18/2019 - 7:30pm</span>

Crisis of Conscience

10/18/2019 - 7:30pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

Crisis of Conscience is an eye-opening—sometimes hair-raising—account of the social and legal evolution of whistleblowing, told through riveting legal cases and grounded in an examination of the economic, sociological and psychological forces that breed corruption and complicity, but also the moral decisiveness to call them out. We meet ordinary people who took extraordinary action against wrongdoing from inside drug companies and hospitals, the Ivy League and the Pentagon, trading floors and nuclear plants. Drawing on hundreds of in-depth interviews with whistleblowers, lawyers, watchdogs and experts—and spanning American history from the Revolution to Watergate, the Pentagon Papers to the Panama Papers and beyond—Mueller infuses this thoroughly researched history with vivid characters who give this ambitious, game-changing book an intimate, humanizing scale. Time and again, we are prompted to ask ourselves, “Would I do the same in this crisis situation?” Or better, “Did I do the right thing?” Because as the narrative reminds us, we all have whistleblower moments—and in these troubled times, need the whistleblowing instinct more than ever before.

In Crisis of Conscience, Mueller brilliantly contextualizes his on-the-ground reporting with extensive research to illustrate the complicated forces that got us into our current deeply compromised and deeply polarized moment. In doing so, he wrestles with fundamental questions about why good people participate in bad behavior, how groupthink overwhelms the individual conscience, and the nature and demands of patriotism. In today’s tribal climate, Mueller approaches whistleblowing with a refreshing freedom from partisan politics, making a forceful case against the bipartisan, profit above-all mentality that has corrupted much of American life, and celebrating the core values that might yet allow us to redeem it.


Crisis of Conscience helps to make sense of a mounting cultural anxiety, by offering a radically new framework with which to understand the world and our options for changing it. Tom Mueller forces us to confront the ugly realities of many of our most cherished institutions, public and private, and the vast harm they inflict on individuals. Ultimately, Mueller positions the whistleblower as an effective tool for social change and—despite the propaganda of their enemies—the truest embodiment of American values.


Presented in partnership with The Madison Institute and the American Constitution Society.

Tom Mueller

About Presenter Tom Mueller


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. He is a New York Times Bestselling Journalist and former Goldman Sachs insider. 


Crisis of Conscience

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