NOTE: This list has been culled from lists (and comments in some places) created by Nate Blakeslee and Jason Leopold, along with some doctoring to include my own preferences. Read and enjoy. Read and criticize. But read and pray that in today’s hard-scrabble and lightning-quick world of big money and ugly politics the lonely and determined investigative reporter will continue to work against those impenetrable odds we authors so admire.
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
By doggedly exposing President Nixon’s role in Watergate the authors dramatically changed American politics—and we’re still paying the price.
SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson
Serialized in the New Yorker, the book was finally published in 1962. It is credited with helping launch the contemporary environmental movement in America.
BARBARIANS AT THE GATE: The Fall of RJR Nabisco by John Helyar and Brian Burrough
The book is based upon a series of articles written by the authors for The Wall Street Journal. The title pretty much says it all.
UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED by Ralph Nader
This 1965 book detailed resistance by car manufacturers to the introduction of safety features, like seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It made Nader a household name.
THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH by Jessica Mitford
An exposé of abuses in the funeral home industry by documenting the ways in which funeral directors take advantage of the shock and grief of friends and relatives of loved ones.
THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair
This groundbreaking investigative work into Chicago's meat packing industry resulted in the creation of the Food and Drug Administration"
THE JOURNALIST AND THE MURDERER by Janet Malcolm
The journalist in question is the author Joe McGinniss; the murderer is the former Special Forces Captain Jeffrey MacDonald, who became the subject of McGinniss' 1983 book Fatal Vision. When Malcolm's work first appeared in March 1989, as a two-part serialization in The New Yorker, it caused a sensation, becoming the occasion for wide-ranging debate within the news industry.
THE HEAT IS ON by Ross Gelbspan
Considered by many the Holy Grail of the Environment. American writer and activist Gelbspan maintains the website heatisonline.org which he updates on a daily basis.
THE HISTORY OF THE STANDARD OIL COMPANY by Ida Tarbell
THE SHAME OF THE CITIES by Lincoln Steffans
Causes William Ong Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center