The New York Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals how the financial meltdown emerged from the toxic interplay of Washington, Wall Street, and corrupt mortgage lenders.
In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson, the star business columnist of The New York Times, 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, the FDIC, 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, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must hear.
©2011 Gretchen Morgenson & Joshua Rosner (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Naming names and taking no prisoners, they drill deep into one of the most disturbing scandals of our time, perpetrated in the name of helping "the little guy." Read it and weep. Read it and vow: Never Again! (Bill Moyers)
As a former commercial banker, I had some idea of the events leading up to the Financial Crisis of 2008, but the depth and breadth of the enabling institutions (e.g., Fannie/Freddie, US Congress, the Fed, etc.) on both sides of the political spectrum was at once enlightening and depressing. I think Morgenstern's history and argument structure is terrific and lacks the lazy criticism seen in so many other places.
This is an essential look into how Fannie Mae drove down lending standards, leading to the real estate bubble of the last decade and terrible crash that followed. The prose is a bit purple at times, but a great story.
I am new to audible so I don't have much to base my review on, but if you listen to this book you will know what happened to the housing and mortgage market and who was involved.
This book is so informative, though the substance is infuriating and unbelievable. I am glad that I listened; reading it would have been difficult for me. I liked the performance, feeling a bit comfortable with the voice having realized that he also narrated In The Plex, which I also enjoyed.
This is a great book with some good insight to the Financial Crisis. Although I did enjoy Sorkin's Too Big To Fail, Reckless Endangerment takes a look at the push from the government (including Dodd & Frank) for affordable housing. If you have read/listened to other Financial Crisis books and enjoyed them, add this to your list, you will enjoy it.
Too Big To Fail
Reckless Endangerment was an interesting overview of how we find ourselves in our recent financial crisis (at least with respect to issues in the United States). The authors do a nice job of tying individual events of the last twenty years and how they led, foreseeably to our current situation. Overall I enjoyed this book though it felt at times less of an historic review and more of an editorial.
Great overview of recent financial events.
No, but I don't think that at all harmed my opinion of the book.
Overall, an enjoyable book though the perspective felt a bit slanted at times.
Say something about yourself!
The authors name names, document dates and statements and explain in detail exactly how the financial crisis happened. Alarm bells were rung and ignored by our "leaders" while they cheered and facilitated the lemmings march over the cliff. Great book.
Disappointing – I expected more from the NYT columnist. The book begins with what can only be described as a rant attack on the GSE’s specifically Fannie Mae. The evidence? Large spending on lobbying efforts. No mention of the large amount of money spend by financial industry to eliminate the GSE’s. They then point out the capital requirements advantage held by Fannie Mae due to the assumption of credit risk and the implied backing of the US government. Ok, but that advantage was eliminated with the passing of the 2002 financial reforms. They mention the huge percentage of mortgage market held in portfolio but more importantly guaranteed by the GSE’s. True, but that share was dropping fast after the 2002 reform and the replacement private mortgages did not offer credit risk protection. As a result the majority of the mortgages issued by private lenders held significantly higher risk levels. They mention the financial restatement required by their regulator resulting in $9 billion in losses for Fannie Mae. True. But they don’t mention that the restatement was required because of FASB 133 and the assumption of no ineffectiveness and that KPMG, their auditor, felt that the accounting for hedge trades was correct. The restatement did not change the earnings over time, just the timing of the revenue by understating the value of the hedge transactions. They did not mention that a review committee for FASB 133 has since upheld the interpretation Fannie Mae used by issuing further clarification of the rules. They did not mention the billions in fines assessed to banks and financial institutions due to sales of mortgage pools to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac containing fraudulent underwriting data. Nor did they mention the underwriting restrictions placed upon the GSE’s by charter.
I am disappointed in the lack of analysis, the lack of supporting data, the overwhelming use of unnamed sources, the heavy reliance on opinion and the personal attacks on individuals. This book has very little to do with the causes of the 2008 financial collapse. I expected more from Gretchen Morgenson.
Jumps on his bed while licking the bottom of one foot. He persists in this life affirming act despite interference from the head nurse.
This is a worthwhile read for those of us who brood over the meltdown of 2008. It’s written for people who are not stupid but not well informed about the dodges of high finance. Admittedly, a few bank/government machinations are difficult to follow in the text, so that a reader must back up a bit and re-read, but that does not happen often; the authors set most of it down in clear English. They explain “derivatives” formulas well, when they pop up, so even I can understand them. The text begins in the 1980s, works its way forward, dumb move by dumb move, enabler legislation by enabler legislation, to the day when seawater floods over the gunnels of gigantic economic ships and they plummet to the ocean’s bottom. The books contention is that business and government manufactured their own submerged mines—out of greed, power and influence, ideologies, and bureaucratic ineptitude—strewing them as they went because it gained them political advantage and (in the case of the finance boys) because they just didn’t give a damn in their rush to make millions. Sound familiar? Ecce Americanus. Financial “wizards” and Washingtonian “public servants” played paddy-cake and you-scratch-my-back for twenty years before the fleet sank. The mines didn’t go off until the original ships’ officers were safe, dry, retired, and very rich. The crew drown, of course. God bless you Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barney Frank, and James A. Johnson. May history give it to you up the wazzu, like the events you precipitated did to so many of us.
The story was good but the book kept turning itself off. It performed poorly. I've listened to many books and this is the second time overall this has happened. Guess I just picked the wrong book. I'm returning this one.
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