The Book Goddess, October 15, 2011 (view all comments by The Book Goddess)
If you have ever questioned what really caused the downward spiral of the US economy in the past few years, look no further. This is, by far, the most un-biased and well researched book I have read on the topic to date. The research is thorough, but not dry. This book actually reads more like a good fiction story because you just can't believe you are reading about true actions and events. It was eye-opening to see how many different moving pieces there were to the crisis and how long ago it was actually set into motion. I also enjoyed that there was no "party" blaming. This was a straight-forward analysis of the actual players involved. It is absolutely disgusting to see how few of the major players were charged with crimes (read: None)...and it was disheartening to see how many of them still hold prestigous and polical positions...many in the current administration. The book will make you mad...so if you are prone to high blood-pressure, maybe not the book for you. But if you like to be educated about the current events in this country, this is a definite must-read. The rampant corruption in politics and the corporate business world was eye-opening...and I have worked in finance for over 10 years and currently work as an accountant. I really thought that I'd seen it all...not even close. It's also written in a very easy to understand manner...no need for advanced Economics degrees to understand what happened. I think this should be a mandatory read for all Business, Economic, Finance and Accounting students...as a warning for what can happen when greed rules the day and ethics go out the window. My eternal respect to those who were brave enough to come forward and try to enlighten the world as to what was going on, even when they were ignored, threatened and discounted. They should all be extremely proud of their actions and I hope they recieve the credit they deserve for daring to be a voice of honesty and reason.
Neesy, September 2, 2011 (view all comments by Neesy)
New York Times financial columnist, Gretchen Morgenson, and her co-author researcher Joshua Rosner have written a beautifully articulate history of the mortgage crisis, including defining all the arcane financial lingo. After reading it, I am happily informed enough to read the details in this week's lawsuits against the big banks--and am cognizant of Jim Johnson's critical pedagogical part in this national disaster.
Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon
0 stars -
Times Books -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Pulitzer Prize — winning New York Times business journalist Morgenson and Rosner, a financial and policy analyst, turn the financial meltdown of 2008 into a whodunit as they cast about for motives and culprits. Their character-driven account even begins with a cast of craven characters (as in a mystery novel): Fannie Mae executives, subprime lenders, and regulators. Morgensen and Rosner dig into the wreck and come up with key moments — President Clinton's 1994 landmark speech (and his embrace of a 'corrupt corporate model') aggressively promoting home ownership — and motives, chief among them the eagerness of subprime lenders to extend loans to people 'based on their credit future, not their past,' the laxity of regulators, and the timidity and cupidity of policy makers. The book ends with a withering look at current 'reforms' (ironically enough 'sponsored by the nation's most strident defenders of Fannie Mae,' Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd) and a prediction that we'll 'most certainly' have another 2008-style crash 'because Congress decided against fixing the problem of too-big-to-fail institutions when it had its chance.' A sobering account of some sordid recent history that's so clear and detailed that pros and novices will find its account rich and informative, and deeply depressing. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011
One of The Economists 2011 Books of the Year
In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson exposes how the watchdogs who were supposed to protect the country from financial harm were actually complicit in the actions that finally blew up the American economy. Drawing on previously untapped sources and building on original research from coauthor Joshua Rosner—who himself raised early warnings with the public and investors, and kept detailed records—Morgenson connects the dots that led to this fiasco.
Morgenson and Rosner draw back the curtain on Fannie Mae, the mortgage-finance giant that grew, with the support of the Clinton administration, through the 1990s, becoming a major opponent of government oversight even as it was benefiting from public subsidies. They expose the role played not only by Fannie Mae executives but also by enablers at Countrywide Financial, Goldman Sachs, the Federal Reserve, HUD, Congress, and the biggest players on Wall Street, to show how greed, aggression, and fear led countless officials to ignore warning signs of an imminent disaster.
Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, and with a new afterword that brings the story up to date, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must read.
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