The End of Wall Street
Roger Lowenstein (Penguin Press; 339 pages)
If a novelist lined up as many dramatic events as the author does here, his work would be blasted as contrived. Lowenstein, a magnificent business writer, creates an almost novelistic accounting of the all-too-real 2008 financial collapse. The book opens in late summer: Lehman Brothers is a hairbreadth away from collapse, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been taken over by the feds, and AIG is veering toward disaster. After several decades of laissez-faire regulation, Wall Street is crying out to be rescued by the government.
The irony is overpowering,...