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Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Created the Worst Financial Crisis of Our Time Paperback – June 5, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250008794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250008794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (273 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gretchen Morgenson is a national treasure. Year after year, she has dragged Wall Street miscreants out of the shadows, exposing their dirty secrets to the public that they bamboozled with 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""Even before "Reckless Endangerment, "Gretchen Morgenson was my nominee for Reporter of the Decade for her for

About the Author

GRETCHEN MORGENSON  is a business reporter and writes the Fair Game column at The New York Times, where she also serves as assistant business and financial editor. 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 partner at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher and Co. and advises global policy-makers and institutional investors on housing and mortgage-finance issues. He was among the first analysts to identify operational and accounting problems at the GSEs (government-sponsored enterprises) and one of the earliest to identify the peak in the housing market, the likelihood of contagion in the credit rating agencies’ CDO assumptions. He lives with his son in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

This book is proof of that.
Mortgage Man
"Reckless Endangerment" centers more around the dealings of the GSEs, Fannie & Freddie, which read like a political thriller.
Tman
I commend the authors on a very well written and thought provoking book.
Kindle Dave

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

540 of 570 people found the following review helpful By Srikumar S. Rao VINE VOICE on May 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have long admired Gretchen Morgenson and cheered when she was awarded a Pulitzer. Perhaps this book in conjunction with her hard-hitting NY Times reporting will garner her another one. She deserves it. The authors echo my sentiments precisely in their introduction "...felt compelled to write this book because we are angry that the American economy was almost wrecked by a crowd of self-interested, politically influential and arrogant people who have not been held accountable for their actions." And the people who did it "...continue, even now, to hold sway in the corridors of Wall Street and Washington."

I have nothing against the vastly wealthy and sometimes - OK, frequently - dream wistfully of joining their ranks, but I do care about how this wealth is accumulated. Entrepreneurs who build companies, executives who take these companies to the next level and the one after that, highly talented and gifted persons - in arts and sports - who command premium remuneration all enrich society. Many financial titans, on the other hand, do not create wealth. They are unusually adept in extracting it for personal gain while simultaneously impoverishing society and holding it hostage. They operate on the principle that "My gain is mine and only mine. My loss is actually yours." And they know how to spread enough largesse that enablers like accountants, rating agencies and regulators fall into line and they buy off politicians with consummate skill. They try - increasingly ineffectively - to justify their existence by claiming that they perform crucial service by "allocating capital" and "increasing efficiency." They further claim that they should not be regulated because they can do a better job of regulating themselves. The fish is starting to stink pretty bad.
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219 of 231 people found the following review helpful By Laurence R. Bachmann VINE VOICE on May 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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.

In theory it all sounded perfect--who could object to people bettering themselves? The only problem was that to make the dream "accessible to all" generations of lending practices and protections would have to be dismantled. Safeguards would be gutted and due diligence would become a nuisance that is brushed aside. There are plenty of culprits here: the usual Wall Street money-mongers and in the 90s and early 00s a Republican Congress in their pocket. But Morgenson and Posner shine a powerfully bright light on the complicity of marquee Democrats such as Bill Clinton, Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank. Toss in Democrat insider Jim Johnson into the cauldron and it is a powerful witches brew.

Jim Johnson, quintessential DC insider used all of these connections in the 90s on behalf of empowering Fannie Mae and eviscerating sound financial practices. Greasing the wheels of powerful polls on banking and finance committees became standard procedure. Finding a sinecure for Barney Frank's boyfriend was a pleasure not a problem (if Frank isn't a criminal it is by a hair's breadth). Libeling the responsible, honest regulators and economists who tried to stop this train-wreck waiting to happen was all in a day's work, and a particular Johnson specialty.
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158 of 174 people found the following review helpful By Raven26 on May 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Morgenson and Rosner have done their homework and written an in depth and hard-hitting book that reveals with perfect clarity how this mess began. It's refreshing to read a book that doesn't rehash the Wall Street stories we've all heard over and over. I'm much more interested at this point in the characters in Washington who were championing home ownership and enriching themselves as they set the stage for disaster, and who really have remained blameless up to now. The sense of outrage the authors feel comes through on every page and the book is actually a page-turner in addition to being a real narrative, unlike some of the other books on the crisis, with a beginning and an end. Great storytelling and great reporting as well. Read it!!!
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69 of 75 people found the following review helpful By citizen fact checker VINE VOICE on June 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In many ways this is a well-written, informative and thought-provoking book. Despite the few errors of date and fact that some careful reviewers have noted here, IMO it should be read by every voter, homeowner, renter, investor -- every citizen -- who is determined no longer to be shafted by the powerful -- nor by the lawmakers' staffers who "earn" their money by burying loopholes in our laws such that even the most honest attorney general cannot prosecute perps who enrich themselves while they impoverish gullible voters, tax payers and their families.

There are some excellent reviews posted here, especially those by S. Rao, Raven 26, L. Bachmann, and many, many others, so I will make no effort to repeat their excellent work. I, however, am on my second reading of my hardcover copy of "Reckless." Taking notes this time inasmuch as I state in my title, above, from "Death of a Salesman," ATTENTION MUST BE PAID.

We must no longer be victimized by the powerful and their feckless, reckless, blind-eyed enablers: The true, accurate contents of this book -- despite the few errors that escaped the publisher's fact checkers -- may give you the impetus you need to get you moving.

The perps who brought about this mess while enriching themselves and impoverishing the public should no longer escape public scrutiny. ATTENTION MUST BE PAID!!

P.S. I have no hidden agenda. I do not work for the authors or publisher, or whatever.
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