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Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis

ISBN: 978-0-470-29277-8
352 pages
July 2008
Chain of Blame: How Wall Street Caused the Mortgage and Credit Crisis (0470292776) cover image


An updated and revised look at the truth behind America's housing and mortgage bubbles

In the summer of 2007, the subprime empire that Wall Street had built all came crashing down. On average, fifty lenders a month were going bust-and the people responsible for the crisis included not just unregulated loan brokers and con artists, but also investment bankers and home loan institutions traditionally perceived as completely trustworthy.

Chain of Blame chronicles this incredible disaster, with a specific focus on the players who participated in such a fundamentally flawed fiasco. In it, authors Paul Muolo and Mathew Padilla reveal the truth behind how this crisis occurred, including what individuals and institutions were doing during this critical time, and who is ultimately responsible for what happened.

  • Discusses the latest revelations in the housing and mortgage crisis, including the SEC's charging of Angelo Mozilo
  • Two well-regarded financial journalists familiar with the events that have taken place chronicle the crisis in detail, showing what happened as well as what lies ahead
  • Discusses how the world's largest investment banks, homeowners, lenders, credit rating agencies, underwriters, and investors all became entangled in the subprime mess

Intriguing and informative, Chain of Blame is a compelling story of greed and avarice, one in which many are responsible, but few are willing to admit their mistakes.

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Table of Contents



Cast of Characters.

Chapter 1. Angelo Speaks, the World Wide Contagion Begins.

Chapter 2. The Repo Man Meets the Bald Granny: A Short History of Subprime.

Chapter 3. The Death of the Bailey Building and Loan, the Rise of Millionaire Loan Brokers and Countrywide.

Chapter 4. The Beach Boys of B&C: How Roland Arnall Became the Johnny Appleseed of Subprime.

Chapter 5. Angelo Rising: The Son of a Bronx Butcher Makes Good.

Chapter 6. The Holy Roller of REITs.

Chapter 7. The End of the (New) Century.

Chapter 8. A Conspiracy by Merrill?

Chapter 9. A Warning from Lewie: CDOs, SIVs, and Other Things No One Understands.

Chapter 10. Deep in the Belly of the Bear.

Chapter 11. Armageddon Times: The Tan Man Departs, Bye-Bye Bear.

Chapter 12. What The Hell Happened? Ten Bad Years for Housing in America?

Afterword. We Buried (Some of) Our Garbage Overseas.

Source and Interview Notes.


About the Authors.


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Author Information

Paul Muolo is Executive Editor of National Mortgage News—which won a Polk Award in 1990 for its reporting on the S&L crisis—and is also coauthor of Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, which spent five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. His freelance work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Barron's. Muolo has been a guest financial expert on numerous media outlets, including CNN, CNBC, ABC, and Fox Business Network.

Mathew Padilla is a business reporter for the Orange County Register. His work, and that of two other colleagues, on the implosion of the Southern California subprime industry was selected by the paper's editors as a submission for the Pulitzer Prize and recognized by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

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"Chain of Blame is one of the first books to delve deeply into the central role that big banks played in the mess…for a juicy, name-dropping read, Muolo and Padilla’s book is hard to beat."--BusinessWeek

"Muolo and Padilla examine just who was to blame for the crisis and find that it is not just cowboy operators." (CEO Middle East, September 2008)

“…a level-headed book…the anecdotal style is easy-going...much the best book on the mortgage industry”.  Fund Strategy 1 September 2008

“…a ripping piece of reporting… The authors know their stuff.”Bloomberg News Monday 28 July 2008

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