If you’re looking for some great books to read this fall and you want something immersive and fascinating, then try a book of investigative journalism! The best journalism books are deep dives into a specific subject and are engaging, well-written, and as informative as they are captivating. Luckily for you, we’ve got seven great investigation journalism books to recommend, covering a range of subjects from massive criminal cover-ups, murder, the opioid crisis, politics, and social justice. Here we go!
Journalist Ronan Farrow grew up with famous parents in Hollywood's shadow, so when he caught wind of a story about a powerful Hollywood producer who was known to be a prolific sexual predator, he began digging—and immediately faced backlash, threats, and even blackmail. Catch and Kill is his account of how powerful people leverage their wealth and privilege to protect themselves, and how he relentlessly pursued the truth to bring down a predator and all of his enablers.
For almost twenty-five years, the opioid epidemic has spread across the U.S. to touch nearly every community, regardless of geography, class, or status. In Dopesick, Beth Macy investigates where it all began and how it spread so quickly. She follows the story of dealers in Virginia who wanted to get kids addicted, the use of opioids among the unemployed, and how doctor's prescriptions led to addiction crises—but also how people have come together to fight against drug companies and addiction.
In 2002, The Boston Globe first reported on the widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church—and their massive cover-up efforts. This book is comprised of that original reporting by journalists Carroll, Kevin Cullen, Thomas Farragher, Stephen Kurkjian, Michael Paulson, Sacha Pfeiffer, Michael Rezendes, and Walter V. Robinson, and it is a comprehensive look at a scandal that has gone on to have massive reverberations throughout the church, country, and world.
For a book about just how important—and high stakes—investigative journalism can be, pick up this account of Gary Webb, a journalist who first broke the story that the CIA had deep connections to illegal drug rings. Immediately, Webb faced immense backlash on all sides, and even his editors didn't have his back. His professional life tanked, and he died by suicide a few years later. This book looks at that controversy, the tragic events that followed, and the evidence to support that Webb's initial reporting was the truth.
Dag Hammarskjöld was the head of the United Nations during the Cold War, well-known for his commitment to world peace. But in 1961, he was found dead in an African jungle with a single playing card placed on his body, shocking the world—but his killers were never caught. The Golden Thread reviews recently declassified documents and new evidence to try and understand the powerful governments and agencies that might have wanted him killed, and speculates on who might actually be responsible.
Although John F. Kennedy has long been hailed as a great president whose life was cut short, Seymour Hersh takes a deep look at some of the darker aspects of the Kennedy family in this investigative journalism book. Hersh examines how JFK came of age with a permissive father who expected him to rise to greatness, but didn't hold him accountable for his actions. He reveals that as president, Kennedy's reckless behaviors continued, and they threatened his work, even if the rest of the nation couldn't see it.
We've known for decades about the risks that coal miners undertake in the course of their work, and thanks to the hard work of activists decades ago, Congress has enacted legislation that's supposed to protect them—but those promises have gone unfulfilled. In Soul Full of Coal Dust, Chris Hamby covers the resurgence of black lung disease, the surviving coal miners who've fought for justice, as well as a medical clinic worker turned lawyer who went up against the corporate lawyers.
Which investigative journalism book will you pick up next?
What to Read Next
Tirzah Price is a writer and contributing editor at Book Riot. Find her on Twitter @TirzahPrice.