cover image Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown

Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown

Edmund L. Andrews, . . Norton, $25.95 (220pp) ISBN 978-0-393-06794-1

“As I write in February 2009, I am four months past due on my mortgage and bracing for foreclosure proceedings to begin.” Thus begins this cautionary and critical examination of the housing crisis, a story that turned personal when New York Times economics reporter Andrews got caught up in the housing bubble after falling in love with a woman and a house. Bringing in $120,000 a year in salary—most of which went to child support and alimony to his ex-wife, Andrews says he was able to get a “don't ask, don't tell” mortgage with the assumption that his new wife, Patty, would be able to get a job to keep them afloat, an expectation that didn't work out as planned. Because of his economics journalism background, Andrews says he “should have avoided the mortgage catastrophe,” and he castigates himself as well as fellow borrowers, the financial industry that took advantage of them and a government that didn't put the brakes on the crisis that many economists warned about but that Alan Greenspan, the Bush administration and others ignored. This deeply personal exposé is timely and sobering in its candor. (June)