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Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America Hardcover – May 22, 2012

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Editorial Reviews Review

Guest Reviewer: Simon Johnson on Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson
Simon Johnson is coauthor of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown and White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters To You.

Predator Nation demolishes the view that the global financial crisis was merely some sort of freak accident. Charles Ferguson makes a convincing case that the world’s banking system was brought to the brink of complete collapse in 2008–09 by a virulent combination of unchecked greed and criminal behavior.

This is an epic crime story with an apparently clean getaway, courtesy of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Both presidents proved unwilling to hold anyone to account—or even to launch meaningful investigations.

Leading bankers walked away with billions of dollars in unjustified compensation. The costs imposed on the rest of us can be measured in the trillions of dollars.

Predator Nation provides a roadmap for prosecution, systematically covering the banks involved, the names of culpable executives, the obvious crimes, the precise laws broken, and the evidence hiding in plain sight. No doubt it will be widely ignored by our legal officials.

Ferguson’s points are also intensely political. Reckless behavior by bankers can be traced back to the bipartisan consensus around deregulating finance in recent decades. This result is a socially destructive industry with immense political power—and capable of defeating all attempts at meaningful reform. The continued predominance of rogue finance is greatly facilitated by its effective corruption of American academia and many so-called “independent experts” (documented in Charles Ferguson’s Oscar-winning movie, Inside Job.)

Big banks hold American politics in a death grip. To understand this—and to start to think about how to break this grip—read Predator Nation and give a copy to everyone you know.


Praise for Predator Nation

"A tightly argued, profusely footnoted and deeply enraged castigation of everyone involved, Predator Nation isn’t just a factually unchallengeable account of how Wall Street blew up the global economy. It’s a denunciation, a call for justice and a warning."—Salon

“With Predator Nation, Charles Ferguson sets out to finish what he started with his Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job. This take-no-prisoners account of the financial crisis follows the money, connects the dots, names names, and asks the questions our leaders still refuse to answer: how have those responsible for the crisis not been held accountable, and how can we make sure it doesn’t happen again?” —Arianna Huffington, president and editor in chief of the Huffington Post Media Group
“There is fraud at the heart of Wall Street—deliberate intellectual, business, and political deception. Charles Ferguson is in hot pursuit. Inside Job shook up the cozy world of academic finance. Predator Nation should stir prosecutors into action. And if we fail to reform our political system, you can say goodbye to American democracy.” —Simon Johnson, coauthor of White House Burning and professor at MIT Sloan School of Management
“Ferguson presents a fierce indictment of predatory activities of parts of the financial system and of the corruption of democracy that ‘big money’ financial lobbying has caused. A book well worth reading regardless of whether you fully agree or not with all of its arguments.” —Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics and international business at Stern School of Business, New York University, and chairman of Roubini Global Economics
“The definitive financial crisis book has now been written. With an encyclopedic factual foundation to support his arguments, the ever-brilliant Charles Ferguson has given us Inside Job on steroids. The collusion between Wall Street and Washington that brought our economy to its knees is set out in a way that will have steam coming out of your ears in fury.” —Eliot Spitzer

“A deeply argued call to action from a lucid, impassioned polemicist.”—Kirkus (starred review)

“Charles Ferguson's Predator Nation is nothing less than a devastating narrative portrait of the many times Wall Street has made Main Street and others the victims of its predatory schemes. In his inimitable clear-headed style, Ferguson correctly asks, why do they keep getting away with it? Why indeed.”—William D. Cohan, author of House of Cards and Money and Power

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; First Edition edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030795255X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307952554
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

179 of 191 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The last time we saw Charles Ferguson, he was beginning his remarks on the occasion of his Academy Award for "Inside Job" with these blunt words: "Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong."

Now he's back with a book that --- big surprise --- documents the atrocities.

But that's the least of it.

The larger argument of "Predator Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America" is that "over the last thirty years the U.S. financial sector has become a rogue industry... Since the 1990s, its power has been sufficient to insulate bankers not only from effective regulation but even from criminal law enforcement. The financial sector is now a parasitic and destabilizing industry that constitutes a major drag on American economic growth....So one reason for writing this book is to lay out in painfully clear detail the case for criminal prosecutions."

Ferguson is far from the only writer to feel this way. I can name a dozen others --- but they are all bloggers. Ferguson, in contrast, sold a company for $100 million. Won an Academy Award. And --- this is telling --- he thinks Obama is just as much the bitch of Wall Street as Bush was. As Clinton was. As Reagan was.

Let's be clear: This is not a political book, not an election year screed teed up to help either candidate. It's a horror story: how you and I became second-class citizens in our own country, how most Americans have no idea how this happened, how very unlikely we can do much about it before Wall Street's stranglehold on Washington solidifies the dominance of an elite whose only allegiance is to its own money.
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93 of 100 people found the following review helpful By Walter J. Meldrich, Jr. on May 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has a little discussed aspect that is very important. The author is not afraid to bring into focus that most of our institutions have been taken over by the criminal class. This is a cultural issue that is not addressed by most other books on the great recession. I believe it is a very big deal to finally discuss the fact that today's business leaders are being paid massive, obscene salaries to game the system through criminal behavior instead of trying to compete on a level playing field. It is also useful in that it discusses how deep the infiltration is, in that it includes academia. Our business schools are becoming as corrupt as the CEO's. Be prepared for some shocking findings in this book and have the antacids ready.
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68 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy on May 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have read many of the recently published books on the financial crises over the past few years in an effort to better understand what happened. This book is by far the best that I have read to date. It details not only what happened and how the crisis was created but also who was behind it and how they benefited. The most interesting chapters discuss the many laws that were broken by the large financial institutions and complete absence of prosecution by any law enforcement agency in the US.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Hans G. Despain on May 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ferguson has an unambiguous purpose in this book. Namely, to document that the financial sector in the United States has become criminalized by perverse incentives of financial executives and for financial companies more generally. The governance of the industry is now oligarchic and the cultural of the industry is scandalous and promotes impropriety. In this sense it is a "who done it" story more than it is "how it was done" (Mark Zandi's Financial Shock (Updated Edition), (Paperback): Global Panic and Government Bailouts--How We Got Here and What Must Be Done to Fix It remains the best single short source for the specific definitions and details of the financial collapse [see my amazon review]; the best books on explaining the finanical collapse from a more theoretical perspective are Nouriel Roubini's Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance, Charles Morris' The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash, and Simon Johnson's 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown (Vintage). Foster and Magdoff impressively anticipate the financial collapse in their The Great Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences.Read more ›
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Keith A. Comess VINE VOICE on June 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
By now, just about everyone in the First, Second (the former states in the "socialist" ambit) and Third World is fully aware of the dire implications and catastrophic effects of the greatest economic debacle to strike since the Great Depression. This event, call it, "Great Depression-II: The Sequel" (GD2) has been accompanied by declining employment, gross disparities in income and accrued wealth, social polarization, ideological gridlock in government and mainstream acceptance of extremist ideas. Interesting times, indeed.

One of the few non-1% segments of American society that has clearly benefited from GD2 is the pundit class. This largely self-anointed group has spawned an entire shelf-full of books; filled the internet and print media with thousands of articles: some have made films. One such is Charles Ferguson, who won an Academy Award for his documentary "Inside Job". He follows that critically-acclaimed work with "Predator Nation", the finest and most incendiary, incisive, cogently argued work so far written on GD2. It is a compelling indictment of the entire rotting edifice. It's Ferguson's rage against the machine.

So, with legions of books and articles to choose from, why this one?
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