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The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis
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The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  89 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Who killed the economy?

A page-turning, true-crime exposé of the subprime salesmen and Wall Street alchemists who produced the biggest financial scandal in American history

"It's hard to have a guilty conscience if you don't have a conscience. Anything that benefited production - that benefited me and benefited my wallet - I'd do it."

The sales force at Ameriquest Mortgage...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Times Books (first published October 1010)
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Read this book. The only way that we are going to get out of the current economic crisis is for people to educate themselves about how we got into this mess: otherwise, we will keep repeating our failures. The story is incredibly complex, mainly focusing on Ameriquest Mortgage, but encompassing a massive number of other players.

The title comes from a script that Ameriquest salespeople were taught to use, where they talked people with bad credit into re-mortgaging their homes with a sales pitch...more
fantastic and heartbreaking. (though i mayyyy be predisposed to a book that stars prescient consumer rights lawyers, and presents the fight against predatory lending through the 90s and early 2000s as harbinger of everything that would emerge as deeply wrong with our housing markets...)
With regard to books on the sub-prime meltdown of 2008 and the damage it did to the American and global economy, I have previously read and reviewed Michael Lewis' The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. Lewis' book focused on the details and nature of the complex financial instruments being traded by high-level financial executives on Wall Street, and a small set of amoral entrepreneurs who clearly saw the coming disaster and took advantage of it to line their own pockets.

Michael Hudson, in...more
Elf M.
Michael W. Hudson's book The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America--and Spawned a Global Crisis has left me scared and paranoid. Every time the phone rings and I don't recognize the phone number, I start to sweat profusely. Is it... one of them?

Unfortunately, Hudson's book isn't a Stephen King (or even Stephen Coontz) work of fiction. It is horror, but it's not fiction. It's an investigation into the way mortgage-backed securitization, the mainstreamin...more
The Monster: How a Gang of Predatory Lenders and Wall Street Bankers Fleeced America - and Spawned a Global Crisis by Michael W. Hudson

"The Monster..." is the page-turning expose of the subprime mortgage business. Award-winning reporter Michael W. Hudson narrates a fascinating web of deception that was infuriatingly targeted against the most vulnerable of our society. It describes the scoundrels and their methods. This 384-page book is composed of the following fifteen chapters: 1. Godfather, 2...more
Nathan Willard
Hudson's book details the history of subprime lending in the United States, shows how deception played a key role in its boom years, and examines the ways in which major subprime players used their cash to extend their companies' existence for just long enough to get their cash out (before bankrupting the companies and walking away). It puts the lie to the "profligate borrower" narrative of the financial crisis and the idea that the mortgage volume done by the major subprime lenders could have b...more
Carl Brush
In The Monster by Michael W. Hudson we have, despite the fact that it’s a careful
ly researched piece of nonfiction, a true novel of corporate and political crime, crime that reaches to the highest and lowest levels. The book wins the Writer Working award for the longest and best subtitle of this or any other year [How a gang of predatory lenders and Wall Street bankers fleeced America--and spawned a global crisis.] The add-on was a great idea because the title tells nothing of what the book is r...more
Mar 05, 2011 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the financial crisis
This is an interesting book, but it shouldn't be the only one you read about the financial crisis. This book looks at the ground-level operations of subprime lenders - Ameriquest in particular - during the late 1990s and the housing boom of the 2000s. Lenders such as Ameriquest had a boiler room mentality, pushing through as many loans as possible which where then sold to major Wall Street banks, which packaged them into mortgage-backed securities, when were then stamped with AAA ratings by the...more
Jeremy Stephens
What I liked most about this book was how it helped put things in perspective- what really caused the 2008 recession and what illegal activities and irresponsible actions lead to so much suffering. Now that people are occupying Wall Street and so many people are unhappy with the government and economic system in the US, this book has taken on a new sense of relevance.
Written in simple language, one doesn't need to be a business or legal person to understand what the author is saying. I half ex...more
Michael W. Hudson spent the better part of two decades researching this book on Ameriquest and the subprime mortgage crisis and his effort shows, with an in depth understanding of the practices of these predatory lenders and the systemic breakdowns that allowed them to operate.

Paired with stories of victims, this forms a disturbing whole that will have you double checking your own agreement just to make sure you haven't been swindled like these borrowers were.

If you want to understand how the b...more
I confess, I am writing this review before finishing the book because I'm not entirely sure that I need to. The core of this book is informative and horrifying, and has instilled even more paranoia in me about signing any kind of loan or contract ever again. However, the book is repetitive and often the strength of the book (focusing on the stories of the individuals who perpetrated and were victimized by predatory lending) is also it's downfall: frankly, I am tired of reading two page vignettes...more
The Book : An Online Review at The New Republic
ON A RAINY NOVEMBER morning in 1990, an eighty-nine-year-old widower from Burbank, California named Anthony Elliott, after discovering that he had lost his life savings, climbed into his bathtub and slit his wrists with a straight razor. Three days earlier, on Thanksgiving Day, he had typed a suicide note. It read: “There is nothing left for me ... My government is supposed to serve and protect, but who? Those who can gather the most savings from retired people.” Read more...
Okay. Trying to read books about the collapse of America is hard asthis book to me weeks to finish this book. It read kind of like a suspense novel? So many characters and subplots. It saddens me to know the reach of corporate power once established and wary of any individuals that CLAIM they "are just trying to help you get a better rate". The national banks and lending companies shown in the book are now dead to me (if they can be). In the future, when I hopefully purchase a house, I am readin...more
So far, fantastic book...takes a different perspective from the voluminous selection of books available on the economic crisis. Exactly what I was looking for, "The Monster" focuses on the ground level of the subprime crisis - the subprime mortgage lenders, the "Cowboy Capitalist" mortgage brokers, and how the Wall Street firms became enablers of worst practices in the retail mortgage approval process.
Fascinating story of the subprime mortgage debacle. The author follows one of the main players, owner of several companies that targeted homeowners to become a billionare starting in the 90's. It's hard to believe that what these companies did was legal but until the bottom fell out of the market in 2007 they were able to perpetuate a pyramid scheme in conjunction with wall street.
This was a very entertaining and educating read. I don't know a lot about economy, but this book allows an almost casual access to the topic.
An insider might be annoyed by the repetition of names he already read several times, but for me it was good to be assured that I got the connections right and the (vast) amount of people mentioned was less confusing than it could have been.
An eye-opening indictment of predatory lending and the corporate greed that served as the engine for our Great Recession. While I enjoyed the book, and while it proved its' case magnificently, I can't help but feel that this should have been a long essay rather than a 302 page book.
The sub prime mortgage mess was way worse than you can imagine. It wrecked innocent people's lives and did spawn the global economic crisis. The book tended to be repetitive at times, but certainly raised my understanding of this issue.
He does a good job of bringing me into the offices of predatory lenders and getting a feel for the degenerative culture, but I think The Big Short was a better story of some of the causes of The Great Recession.
Could have been about 150 pages shorter. Too much repetition but good investigative writing.
These are the people who brought down the economy. Every one of them belongs in prison.
Yvonne Beltzer
Compelling reading!
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