The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis (Paperback)
"Magnificently and heartbreakingly told. . . . [Hudson] shows vividly that really filthy, face-to-face fraud and hard-sell bullying . . . brought the economy down around our ears."—The Boston Globe
In this page-turning, true-crime exposé, award-winning reporter Michael W. Hudson reveals the story of the rise and fall of the biggest subprime lender and Wall Street's biggest patron of subprime: Ameriquest and Lehman Brothers. They did more than any other institutions to produce the biggest financial scandal in American history.
It's a tale populated by a remarkable cast of characters: a shadowy billionaire who created the subprime industry out of the ashes of the 1980s S&L scandal; insatiable Wall Street executives; ensnared home owners; investigators who tried to expose the fraud; politicians who turned a blind eye; and, most of all, the drug-snorting, high-living salesman who tell all about the money they made, the lies they told, the deals they closed.
Provocative and gripping, The Monster is a searing look at the bottom-feeding fraud and top-down greed that fueled the financial collapse.
About the Author
Michael W. Hudson is a staff writer at the Center for Public Integrity, and previously worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and as an investigator for the Center for Responsible Lending. The winner of a George Polk Award, Hudson has also written for Forbes, The Big Money, and the New York Times. He edited Merchants of Misery and appeared in the documentary Maxed Out. He lives in Brooklyn.
Praise for The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis…
#1 Book of the Year Baltimore City Paper
"Reads like chilling and compelling fiction. But the facts are true and the story is all too real." – Simon Johnson, coauthor of 13 Bankers
"Magnificently and heartbreakingly told. . . . This tremendous, well-documented book shows vividly that really filthy, face-to-face fraud and hard-sell bullying … brought the economy down."--The Boston Globe
"Remarkably comprehensive . . . a sweeping, detailed, and forceful account of the events, the people, and the policies that led to our current economic woes…. and the brave few who tried to stop it."--The New Republic
"Hudson has a talent for describing what was happening on the ground. He takes us on a tour of the financial carnival tent pitched by subprime factories like Ameriquest."—Time Magazine
"As engagingly written as Michael Lewis’ The Big Short (which chronicles the struggles the winners endured during the last bubble), as caustic and trenchant in its analysis of the dotty economic theories that underpin our bubble economy as Yves Smith’s ECONned; and at least as cogent of the big-picture power politics as Simon Johnson’s 13 Bankers, The Monster also does what those books don’t: It reveals the inner lives of both the victims and the perpetrators of predatory lending."—Baltimore City Paper
"Hudson’s book is a guide to the worst excesses of the mortgage business . . . [and offers] a deeper, truer understanding of the many-headed subprime monster. . . . [The Monster] succeeds by entertaining us with behind-the-scenes moments and personal stories from people trading their ethics for all-expenses-paid trips to Hawaii." —The Seattle Times
"Terrifically readable. . . . Hudson gives readers piercing insight into the booze, broads and cocaine that fueled the buccaneers in the mortgage game. . . . Though I thought myself too old to be shocked, the revelations here shocked me. Read it and weep."—Chico News & Review
"Michael W. Hudson’s book-length investigative journalism piece on the subprime meltdown, The Monster, is both a brilliant example of skeptical business journalism done right, and a brilliant example of the storyteller's art… Hudson’s book is a model for excellent investigative journalism. It’s a book that should be required reading for anyone who says that the economic crisis was caused by greedy mortgage-takers who spent too loosely with their credit cards."—BoingBoing.com
"Essential reading for anyone concerned with the mortgage crisis."—Library Journal
"A chilling account of the subprime-loan scandal. . . . As appalling as it is informative, Hudson’s tale, which hasn’t ended by a long shot, should find a large readership."—Booklist
"Hudson is a master of context, supplying the pre-1990s history within the mortgage-lending business, Wall Street and the government-regulation realm. A knowledgeable, clearly written exposé."—Kirkus Reviews
"Mike Hudson is a terrific journalist and an even more engaging writer. The Monster is as captivating as it is deep, not 5,000 feet but 10,000. The book is a down-to-the-bone account of the genesis of the financial crisis and paints a visceral picture of the structural deficiencies in our financial system. Lehman Brothers failure is 10x Enron and 100x Long Term Capital Management. We cannot afford not to learn from the valuable lessons in this book."--Lawrence G. McDonald, co-author of A Colossal Failure of Common Sense
Buy this book because Mike Hudson is a terrific reporter. Buy it because Hudson tells a vital and underreported story that somehow most every other journalist seemed to miss. But mainly you should buy and devour The Monster because it’s a great read, a page turner in the fashion of the best true-crime non-fiction.-- Gary Rivlin, author of The Plot to Get Bill Gates and Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc--How the Working Poor Became Big Business
"The Monster reads like chilling and compelling fiction. But the facts are true and the story is all too real. Millions of Americans were ripped off by devious people in pursuit of ever more profit, but that is not the biggest scandal. Amazingly, we have still not fixed the underlying problems of incentives, attitudes, and beliefs in our financial system. If we continue to shy away from real reform, American families are doomed to run repeatedly through some version of this awful cycle."—Simon Johnson, coauthor of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
"How did we get in this mess? Michael W. Hudson’s The Monster is a haunting, horrifying account of corporate skullduggery -- from the unregulated bucketshops of California to the hallowed halls of Lehman Brothers. No other book or article I have read so clearly identifies the human weaknesses and institutional frailties that created the worst financial scandal in American history. Hudson was one of the first investigative reporters on this story and he is still the best at tracking a nationwide collapse down to its first forged signature."—Elizabeth Mitchell, former executive editor of George Magazine and author of W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty