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All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis Paperback – August 30, 2011
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Without taking anything away from any of those books, All the Devils are Here manages to cover every important financial aspect of the crisis. To be fair, it doesn't go into as much history or theory as Justin Fox, Michael Hirsh or Yago and Allen did, and it's not as great a story as Michael Lewis and Scott Patterson extracted.Read more ›
The story begins with the invention of mortgage-backed securities in the late 1970s and traces the founding and evolution of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. We learn about innovations in risk management and derivatives at JP Morgan and how they created the first credit default swaps and then later lured AIG into the game. Also covered are greed and mortgage fraud at Ameriquest and the failure of the ratings agencies to do anything close to an adequate job. There is also a lot of material on internal politics at Wall Street firms and especially how the risk management process at Merrill Lynch was undermined. Much of the story has been written about extensively elsewhere, for example how the Greenspan/Rubin/Summers trio pushed back against regulation of derivatives.
While "All the Devils are Here" offers one of the broadest takes on the financial crisis, I think it still fails to address one of the "devils" -- or perhaps even the elephant in the room. The book focuses entirely on the financial sector and misses the larger, structural shift that has occurred in the overall U.S. economy. That shift has been driven primarily by globalization and technology and the result has been stagnant incomes for the vast majority of people while a tiny few have seen their incomes explode. That left the middle class with little choice except to borrow in order to maintain their lifestyles.Read more ›
Loan standards were weakened until they were non-existent. Lenders, as well as the recipients of loans, were both drunk on the home-lending madness, which driven by Congress and Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae, became a national orgy. The ratings of the rating agencies were worthless primarily because they not only lagged the housing market but at the same time depended on and mimicked the very company and markets they were trying to rate? Rules regarding capital requirements became worthless, and thus increasingly were skirted - as was generally true with other aspects of the process. This continued throughout the evolution of the process.
The train of "packaged loans (virtually worthless paper)" were leveraged to the sky, without even a semblance of an institutional safety net. Insurance on the loan packages, and the CDOs, too were inherently worthless.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Informative and very well written. Gave a very good understanding of what brought about the crash of the housing marketPublished 2 months ago by jack weisberg
I did enjoy this book. It was an eye opening revelation of what the down fall of the housing market was really about. So many twist and turns it read like a suspense. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Anneliese Epps
Reqd. Reading for buyers, lenders, mortgage bankers, investors, regulators and the 5th. estate. But it won't be! Sorry author. We never learn.Published 3 months ago by RisingWolf
Eye opening and engaging. Writing style is entertaining, yet the authors take the time to go into the details and explain the financial machinations suficiently that a relative... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I hesitate to judge a book based on my expectations which may differ from what the author(s) intended to accomplish at the outset. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Seasoned investor