Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner. Times, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9120-5
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)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-1-250-00879-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-4558-5166-9
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-1-4558-5158-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4558-5162-1
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4299-6577-4
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