Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants


Product Details

$12.99  $12.08
Columbia Global Reports
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.4 X 0.5 inches | 0.4 pounds

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About the Author

Bethany McLean is an investigative journalist known for her work on the Enron scandal and the 2008 financial crisis. In 2001 as a young reporter at Fortune magazine, where she eventually became an editor at large, she wrote "Is Enron Overpriced?," one of the first skeptical articles about Enron. After the company collapsed into bankruptcy, she coauthored the bestseller, The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron with her Fortune colleague Peter Elkin. A documentary based on the book was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006. Her most recent book, which she coauthored with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, is All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis. Prior to joining Fortune she had been an investment analyst at Goldman Sachs. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, a columnist for and a contributor to CNBC. A graduate of Williams College, she lives in Chicago.


Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of 2015
A Washington Post Bestseller

"Bethany McLean has written an insightful guide to one of the fascinating true-financial-crime cases of our time." --Simon Johnson, Washington Post

"Bethany McLean romps through the well-intentioned founding of Fannie and Freddie, via their gradual corruption to the current unhappy limbo, with the government and hedge funds fighting over the scraps in the courts.... McLean deftly steers a sensible course through the competing claims." --Tom Braithwaite, Financial Times

"An excellent new book that attempts to make sense of the senseless history of Fannie and Freddie." --Alan Murray, Fortune

"In a short, lucid paperback (or e-book) from a new publishing arm of Columbia University, McLean explains how the topsy-turvy world of Fannie and Freddie came to be and why government control of them likely will limp along indefinitely as the major unresolved issue of the financial crisis." --USA Today

"The latest very smart finance book by McLean...[who] found a very good [topic] in our deeply flawed home mortgage system." --The National Book Review

"Readers of this maddening, sharp report will rightly wonder why Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been allowed to survive and why we can't do better." --Kirkus Reviews

"McLean ably describes a situation where, seven years past the brink of economic collapse, Fannie and Freddie are severely undercapitalized, faced with investor lawsuits, and caught up in political infighting that prevents either comprehensive reform or their ultimate abolition." --Publishers Weekly

"Based on in-depth reporting and dozens of interviews with key players in Washington and Wall Street, Shaky Ground vividly describes how we got into this unsustainable situation--and why everyone should care. This is business journalism at its best and a must-read for anyone concerned about a full recovery from the financial crisis." --Porchlight