July 8, 2011 10:07 pm

All the Devils are Here

All the Devils are Here: Unmasking the Men Who Bankrupted the World, by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera, Penguin, RRP£9.99, 380 pages

In their punchy analysis of the current financial crisis, McLean and Nocera suggest that president George W Bush associated home ownership with patriotic security. Coupled with lazy deregulation and greed-fuelled lobbying, this laisser faire approach allowed new, seemingly risk-free derivative securitisation to sweep through the global markets. Few voiced concern until big banks were scorched or burnt to a crisp in the ensuing financial firestorm.

Many have pondered the mechanics of the crisis; McLean and Nocera offer crisp reportage that begins to name the prime culprits. Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve during the boom time, comes in for some pretty blunt criticism, as do the financiers who made fortunes from products based on subprime clients.

Arrogant players, rapacious profiteering and the crucial importance of risk give the authors’ detailed commentary the air of a thriller.

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