|Authors: Gretchen Morgenson
and Joshua Rosner
Hardcover: 352 pages
List Price: $16.50
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|Reckless Endangerment: how
outsized ambition, greed, and
corruption led to economic
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Synopsis: 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
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.
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"Gretchen Morgenson is a national treasure. Year after year, she
has dragged Wall Street miscreants out of the shadows, exposing
schemes and deceits. Now, working with Joshua Rosner, she has
trained her expert eye on the mortgage mess that pushed the
American economy to the brink.
In stunning detail, Morgenson exposes the truth behind the
worst financial calamity of modern times, weaving a tale that is as
mesmerizing as it is horrifying. Reckless Endangerment names
the names and reveals the secrets of the plutocrats and
politicians whose greed and recklessness threatened the
foundations of capitalism. It is essential reading for anyone
struggling to understand how America entered the new era of
financial chaos."*****—Kurt Eichenwald, New York Times
bestselling author of Conspiracy of Fools and The Informant.
Reckless Endangerment chronicles the screwing of America by
just about everyone in power: dirty politicians, inept watchdogs
and an insatiably avaricious financial community that knew
better but didn't care. NY Times reporters Gretchen Morgenson
and Joshua Rosner have taken the time to investigate not just
players in the financial mess circa 2008 but the 15 years prior
when Bill Clinton decided to get behind the dubious notion that
everyone should have a stake in the American dream and own
their own home.
Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, this is the one
account of the financial crisis you must read. *****__ Laurence
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.
Morgenson 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. ****__ Publishers Weekly.
Gretchen Morgenson is a business
reporter and columnist at The New
York Times, where she also serves as
She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in
2002 for her "trenchant and incisive"
coverage of Wall Street. Prior to joining
the Times in 1998, she worked as a
broker at Dean Witter in the 1980s, and
as a reporter at Forbes, Worth, and
Money magazines. She lives with her
husband and son in New York City.
Joshua Rosner is a managing director at
the independent research consultancy
Graham Fisher and Co. and was among
the first analysts to identify accounting
problems at the government sponsored
enterprises and to warn of the coming
credit crisis. He advises regulators and
institutional investors on housing and
mortgage-finance-related issues. He
lives in New York City.
About the Authors: