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Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud Hardcover – May 17, 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 126 ratings

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  • Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Chain of Title:
A Kirkus Best Book of 2016

Chain of Title is a careful documentation of the mortgage fraud at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis. . . If you’re looking for a book to read over Labor Day weekend – one that will that will get your heart pumping and your blood boiling and that will remind you why we’re in these fights – add this one to your list.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren

“Prepare to be surprised, and angry… the homeowners' stories are emotional roller coasters. Dayen skillfully narrates a slow reveal and sprinkles in some lively metaphors.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Enraging and enlightening.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“An inspiring, well-rendered, deeply reported, and often infuriating account.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Hitchcockian... Meticulously researched, enthralling, and educational, this addition to the literature of the Great Recession calls out for its own big-screen adaptation.”
Publishers Weekly

"Note: Dave Dayen's magnificent Chain of Title is essential to understanding how people became victims of the kind of rigged casino that made the Steve Mnuchins rich…”

"In the wake of the devastating 2008 financial crisis, David Dayen has become one of the nation’s most knowledgeable, astute and important voices in identifying the culprits and documenting the efforts to protect them. His new book is one of the most important yet written on the causes of that crisis, the abject failures of the political class to punish the wrongdoers, and the dangerous refusal on the part of the nation’s elite to safeguard against future and even worse meltdowns."
Glenn Greenwald

"This is the story, one of its characters tells us, of an unlikely ‘crime scene’: the real estate courts of Florida, where professional fraudsters greased the skids to kick people out of their houses in order to prop up Wall Street’s profits, while judges looked the other way. And, it is the story of a prairie fire—begun by ordinary Americans who brilliantly and courageously fought back when our leaders refused to do so. All in all, it is one of the best books about the law and American life that I ever have read."
Rick Perlstein, author of Nixonland and The Invisible Bridge

"Chain of Title is a sweeping work of investigative journalism that traces the arc of a criminally underreported story in America, the collapse of the rule of law in the home mortgage industry. By following three victims of illegal foreclosure practices, Dayen humanizes and brilliantly illuminates a vast scam unseen by the public because it’s been indecipherable to everyone but a few industrious housing lawyers—as he shows, even judges don’t understand it. The nightmare scavenger-hunt pursued by homeowners like Lisa Epstein leads to a horror-ending: behind the dream of home ownership lies a lawless jungle, owned and operated by banks, where there are no rules to protect families and their property."
Matt Taibbi, author of The Divide

"David Dayen first wrote about foreclosures as a scruffy blogger and consistently beat almost every established financial reporter to the story. Now he has written the best history of that shameful period. The mortgage industry spent untold millions to spread the story they created from whole cloth after the crisis hit: families who lost their homes were mostly undeserving spendthrifts trying to shirk just debts. Chain of Title tells the real story and the real story should offend the sense of justice of every American with a conscience."
Former congressman Brad Miller (D-NC), original co-author of the section of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

About the Author

David Dayen is a contributing writer to Salon and a weekly columnist for the Fiscal Times, and he writes for publications including the New Republic, the American Prospect, The Guardian, Vice, The Intercept, and the Huffington Post. He lives in Los Angeles. This is his first book.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2016
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