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Top new ICIJ investigative books

Whatever the state of the news media, long-form investigative journalism is finding a home in published books. Here are some of the best recent reads, all by ICIJ journalists.

Long-form investigative journalism is alive and well in the books that ICIJ journalists are writing. To start the new year, we present some of their volumes from 2013, in an update to our ongoing compilation of ICIJ members’ published books.

If you appreciate compelling, groundbreaking investigative reads, look no further than this reading list of the latest great work from around the world. Follow the links to learn more about each title, and the authors.

Michael Hudson :: The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America—and Spawned a Global Crisis

An investigative history that examines the rise and fall of subprime mortgage industry. Based on thousands of pages of court records and interviews with more than 200 industry insiders. Called “essential reading for anyone concerned with the mortgage crisis” by Library Journal and named Book of the Year by Baltimore City Paper. A follow-up to Hudson’s 1996 book, Merchants of Misery: How Corporate America Profits From Poverty.

Claudio Tognolli :: Assassinato de reputações – Um crime de Estado (Character assassination – A crime of the state)

Tognolli spent nearly two years recording and investigating charges made by Romeu Tuma Junior, the Brazilian secretary of Justice under the government of President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva. The book exposes numerous cases of corruption and illegal lobbying of the judiciary by the federal government, as well as wiretapping, media manipulation and retribution against political enemies.

Kristof Clerix :: Spionage, Doelwit: Brussels (Espionage. Target: Brussels)

Brussels, host to the NATO headquarters and the EU institutions, not only is the world’s diplomatic capital but for decades has been an espionage hotspot. The book Espionage. Target: Brussels reveals the 007 dimension of Brussels and is based on research in the former intelligence archives of Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia and Warsaw. Read the first chapter here (in Dutch).

Clerix’ previous book on espionage in Belgium, Vrij Spel, was published in 2006 and translated into French.

Thomas Maier :: Masters of Sex

Showtime’s dramatic series Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, is based on this real-life story of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Highlighting interviews with the notoriously private Masters and the ambitious Johnson, biographer Thomas Maier (ICIJ member, Newsday) sheds light on the eternal mysteries of desire, intimacy, and the American psyche. The book, originally published in 2009, was re-issued in July 2013 to mark the debut of the television show for which Maier is also a producer.

Rob Rose :: The Grand Scam

A narrative account of South Africa’s Bernie Madoff, a man named Barry Tannenbaum.  Tannenbaum methodically constructed the biggest con in South African history, which suckered the business elite of the country and CEOs across the world in an AIDS-drug investment scam. The book uncovers how he did it, and more importantly, why he did it.

Blaz Zgaga and Matej Surc:: In the Name of the State

With Slovene colleague Matej Šurc, Zgaga co-authored the trilogy “In the Name of the State”, an exposé of arms smuggling in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s: V imenu države: Odprodaja (In the Name of the State: Sell), V imenu države: Preprodaja (In the Name of the State: Resell) and V imenu države: Prikrivanje (In the Name of the State: Cover-Up). In 2013, the first two books were translated into Croatian and launched in the Croatian capital Zagreb, and the last one will follow soon. The best-selling trilogy was recognized with the CEI-SEEMO Award and the books read like spy novels.

From 2012

The Empire of SpiesRui Araujo :: O Império dos Espiões (The Empire of Spies)

Follows on from O Diário secreto que Salazar não leu (The Secret Diary Salazar Did Not Read), describing Allied and Axis espionage operations in Lisbon, and elsewhere in Portuguese territory overseas. Araujo takes the reader inside the hitherto-unpublished areas of the clandestine dimension of World War II. (In Portuguese).
Wicked Beyond BeliefMichael Bilton :: Wicked Beyond Belief

A new and revised edition of Bilton’s book about the Yorkshire Ripper and the biggest criminal manhunt in British history, updated to include Sutcliffe’s bid for freedom in 2008, and the court verdict in 2010. Bilton’s Four Hours in My Lai, co-authored with Kevin Sim, was also recently reprinted. (In English).
Fatal Honeymoon DiveJennifer Cooke and Lindsay Simpson :: Fatal Honeymoon Dive

How the tragedy of a bride’s drowning on her Great Barrier Reef scuba diving holiday in 2003 resulted in a decade-long saga in which her husband was charged — on two continents — with her murder. Co-authored with Lindsay Simpson and fully updated. Follows her Done Like a Dinner: Great Restaurant Crimes and Cannibals, Cows and the CJD Catastrophe. (In English).
Murder BureauAlexenia Dimitrova :: Otdel za Ubujstva (Murder Bureau)

A documentary investigation about a top-secret special bureau within the former State Security in Bulgaria responsible for the eradication, kidnapping or discrediting of Bulgarian émigrés around the world during the communism. (In Bulgarian). Dimitrova’s 2006 book about Bulgaria’s secret police, Iron Fist, is available in English translation.

La ConjuraMónica González :: La Conjura

One of the best accounts 0f the plot that led to the coup d’etat in 1973 and overthrow of President Salvador Allende. Published originally in 2000, this updated version by the CIPER director contains 100 extra pages of new information. (In Spanish). CIPER also recently published the second volume of their best investigative stories, also in Spanish.

Other People's WarsNicky Hager :: Other People’s Wars

A ten-year history of New Zealand and its allies’ involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, where most of the operations (special forces, intelligence, naval and air force) had never been revealed publicly. It is based on numerous interviews and tens of thousands of leaked New Zealand military and intelligence reports. Read the first chapter here. (In English).
Fools RuleWilliam Marsden :: Fools Rule: Inside the Failed Politics of Climate Change

A captivating polemic on the global failure to deal with climate change, despite mounting scientific evidence that immediate action is essential to curb its effects. This follows his 2008 book Stupid To The Last Drop which revealed how Canada’s richest province is squandering the chance for a sustainable future. (In English).

Spies Against ArmageddonYossi Melman and Dan Raviv:: Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars

In the same spirit as Yossi Melman’s best seller in 1990, Every Spy a Prince, he and CBS’s Dan Raviv have a new, fully updated and lively history of Israel’s espionage and security agencies. It is highly revealing about the secret war the Mossad is currently waging against Iran’s nuclear program, and how Israel secretly destroyed a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007. More information here. (In English).

Alegria TristeCarlos Subero :: La alegría triste de emigrar: Venezolanos que se fueron a Norteamérica

“The Sad Joy To Migrate” investigates the lives of Venezuelans who fled their country during the Chavez era for the USA and Canada. (In Spanish).

And finally…

How about the classics of the investigative journalism genre? Inspiring reads about journalists who struggled to overcome threats and lies to expose all manner of bullies, charlatans, grafters and kleptocrats?

Michael Hudson put together this treasury of books about some of the bravest, gutsiest investigative reporters around, from David Halberstam to Jessica Mitford.


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