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A financial crisis bookshelf

This is overdue. I’ve been meaning to post a list of the best books I’ve read so far about the financial and economic meltdown. I’ve referred to most of them at one time or another already, so I won’t offer any annotation here.

It’s obviously far from an exhaustive list; I’m posting it now partly in the hope that you’ll append some recommendations of your own.

Roots of the current crisis:

Charles Kindleberger, Manias, Panics and Crashes
Paul Krugman, The Return of Depression Economics
Charles Morris, The Two Trillion Dollar Meltdown
Kevin Phillips, Bad Money
Robert Shiller, The Subprime Solution

Backstory (1990s and 2000s):

David Cay Johnston, Perfectly Legal
David Cay Johnston, Free Lunch
Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy
Robert Pollin, Contours of Descent

Backstory (1920s and 1930s):

Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday
J.K. Galbraith, The Great Crash of 1929

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Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Barry Schlottman on 03/25/2009 - 01:36 pm.

    Louis Brandeis, “Other People’s Money, and How the Bankers Use It” (1914), is freely available via GoogleBooks. It’s pretty sobering to see how little we’ve learned in the past hundred years about the predations of big banking.

    Well worth a look!

  2. Submitted by Todd Suomela on 03/25/2009 - 11:41 pm.

    Richard Bookstaber, “A Demon of Our Own Design”, (2007) is a good description of life on Wall Street as a risk manager and quant since the mid-80s. He’s been through a lot and covers a couple of early breakdowns, like the 1987 crash and LTCM, very well. He extends those examples to show how systemic risk has become inescapable.

    I second the recommendation for Only Yesterday, a very good first-hand draft of 1920s history. I’ve been reading more backstory in Arthur Schlesinger Jr. “The Crisis of the Old Order” which is well written and thoughtful.

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