Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy

This is probably one of the most approachable, readable books about the subprime mortgage meltdown that I’ve read yet.  By Peter S. Goodman, it’s told through the narrative of the crash, and is illustrated by the stories of several everymen.  Examples of the credit crisis’ fallout abound.  There is the story of a woman who lost her job, then her house.  She fell to faking a drug addiction to secure a bed at a shelter for the addicted (the only bed available long enough to get on her feet).  Another man who kept sliding into poverty over and over again, despite trying to move from physical labor work to low-level skilled biotech labor. 

The culprits’ stories are also heard.  There’s a story of a couple who compounded their investments in the hot real estate market, and were left holding  a speculative house that had lost several hundred thousand dollars.  There are stories of injudicious house purchases that are made without regard to the volatile nature of work and earnings.

The book also goes into the economic factors and regulations that promoted the housing bubble, but in very understandable  language.  I especially liked his discussion on capital flows from China.

If I were to recommend one book that I’ve read about the credit crisis so far to a lay reader, this would be the one.

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