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Publisher's Summary

In March 2008, Bear Stearns, a swashbuckling 84-year-old financial institution, was forced to sell itself to JPMorgan Chase for an outrageously low price in a deal brokered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who was desperately trying to prevent an impending catastrophic market crash. But mere months before, an industry-wide boom had "the Bear" clocking a record high stock price. How did a giant investment bank with $18 billion in cash on hand disappear in a mere 10 days? In this tour de force, Cohan provides a minute-by-minute account of the events that brought America's second Gilded Age to an end. Filled with intimate portraits of the major players, high-end gossip, and smart financial analysis, House of Cards recounts in delicious narrative form the dramatic events behind the fall of Bear Stearns and what it revealed about the financial world's progression from irrational boom to cataclysmic bust. House of Cards is the Rosetta Stone for understanding the dramatic and the unprecedented events that have reshaped Wall Street and global finance in the past two years.
©2009 William D. Cohen (P)2009 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By roberta Kane on 04-28-09

Riveting, interesting, learned alot

This is the story of Bear Stearns. The narrator has a "fly on the wall" approach. I felt like I was in the room and getting to know all the players. I know very little about Wall Street but in this economy my interest in how the economy works (or doesn't work) has become very interesting to me and this book is very timely. After listening to this book, almost non-stop, I am starting to understand what is going on. I am sure I have enough knowledge to "predict" as well as the "CNBC" talking heads what is going on.

Anyway I highly recommend. I love books that read like novels---this one.

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15 of 15 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Augustus T. White on 06-20-09

Not "Hubris and Wretched Excess"

If you're looking for tales million-dollar coat racks, this isn't the book for you. Cohan has a produced a well-written examination of the managers and management which preceded the Bear Sterns crash. He expected to to find the cause of the 2008 meltdown there. Cohan tries that idea on, but it doesn't really fit; and he's too good a reporter to stick to a script that doesn't begin to explain the facts.

On the other hand, twenty years ago, I had a front-row seat to a similar financial implosion. The cast of characters was very familiar. The elemental forces of contracting credit seem to force people into certain roles.

But the reader will have to decide. This is not a book which pretends to have all the explanations. It does have an important story to tell, and tells it well.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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