Reckless Endangerment

How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

By Gretchen Morgenson; Joshua Rosner
(Times Books, Hardcover, 9780805091205, 331pp.)

Publication Date: May 24, 2011

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Description

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011
One of The Economist’s 2011 Books of the Year

The New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist reveals how the financial meltdown emerged from the toxic interplay of Washington, Wall Street, and corrupt mortgage lenders

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.

Character-rich and definitive in its analysis, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must read.




About the Author
Gretchen Morgenson is an assistant business and financial editor and a columnist at the New York Times, where she has covered the world financial markets since 1998 and won the Pulitzer Prize for her "trenchant and incisive" coverage of Wall Street. Having worked as a stockbroker at Dean Witter Reynolds in the early 1980s, Morgenson lends her reporting a depth of knowledge and skepticism uncommon in financial journalism.

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.


NPR
Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011

It's been more than three years since the government bailed out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Gretchen Morgenson, of The New York Times, has co-authored a book about Fannie and Freddie called Reckless Endangerment. Morgenson talks to Linda Wertheimer about the taxpayer-owned entities. More at NPR.org

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