On Sale: November 16, 2010
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As soon as the financial crisis erupted, the finger-pointing
began. Should the blame fall on Wall Street, Main Street, or
Pennsylvania Avenue? On greedy traders, misguided
regulators, sleazy subprime companies, cowardly legislators,
or clueless home buyers?
According to Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, two of America's
most acclaimed business journalists, the real answer is all
of the above-and more. Many devils helped bring hell to the
economy. And the full story, in all of its complexity and
detail, is like the legend of the blind men and the
elephant. Almost everyone has missed the big picture. Almost
no one has put all the pieces together.
All the Devils Are Here goes back several decades to weave
the hidden history of the financial crisis in a way no
previous book has done. It explores the motivations of
everyone from famous CEOs, cabinet secretaries, and
politicians to anonymous lenders, borrowers, analysts, and
Wall Street traders. It delves into the powerful American
mythology of homeownership. And it proves that the crisis
ultimately wasn't about finance at all; it was about human
Among the devils you'll meet in vivid detail:
• Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, who dreamed of
spreading homeownership to the masses, only to succumb to
the peer pressure-and the outsized profits-of the sleaziest
• Roland Arnall, a respected philanthropist and diplomat,
who made his fortune building Ameriquest, a subprime lending
empire that relied on blatantly deceptive lending practices.
• Hank Greenberg, who built AIG into a Rube Goldberg
contraption with an undeserved triple-A rating, and who ran
it so tightly that he was the only one who knew where all
the bodies were buried.
• Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch, aloof and suspicious, who
suffered from "Goldman envy" and drove a proud old firm into
the ground by promoting cronies and pushing out his smartest
• Lloyd Blankfein, who helped turn Goldman Sachs from a
culture that famously put clients first to one that made
clients secondary to its own bottom line.
• Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae, who (like his predecessors)
bullied regulators into submission and let his firm drift
away from its original, noble mission.
• Brian Clarkson of Moody's, who aggressively pushed to
increase his rating agency's market share and stock price,
at the cost of its integrity.
• Alan Greenspan, the legendary maestro of the Federal
Reserve, who ignored the evidence of a growing housing
bubble and turned a blind eye to the lending practices that
ultimately brought down Wall Street-and inflicted enormous
pain on the country.
Just as McLean's The Smartest Guys in the Room was hailed as
the best Enron book on a crowded shelf, so will All the
Devils Are Here be remembered for finally making sense of
the meltdown and its consequences.
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