In Reckless Endangerment, Gretchen Morgenson 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, 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, and with a new afterword that brings the story up to date, this is the one account of the financial crisis you must read.
“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”