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'Endlessly witty, but the wit is underpinned by a tremendous, unembarrassed anger and moral lucidity. A superb guide which will turn any reader into an expert within the space of 200 pages' Jonathan Coe
There's probably a word in German for that feeling you get when you can understand something while it's being explained to you, but lose hold of the explanation as soon as it stops. A lot of writing about the credit crunch has that effect: you can grasp it while it's going on, and then as soon as it's over, you can no longer remember the difference between a CDO, a CDS, an MBS, and a toasted cheese sandwich. Whoops! makes it possible for all of us to grasp how we found ourselves in this predicament.
What went wrong? In 2000, the total GDP of Earth was $36 trillion. At the start of 2007 it was $70 trillion. Today that growth has gone suddenly and sharply into decline, with an effect roughly resembling that of putting a car into reverse while doing seventy down a motorway.
John Lanchester is a journalist, novelist and winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New Yorker, with a monthly column in Esquire. John's piece on our love affair with the City, 'Cityphilia', generated much response on its publication in January 2008 and indeed predicted a worldwide crash based on the misuse of financial derivatives. In October 2008 he charted the crisis as it had developed over the year in 'Cityphobia', which also attracted much attention as a piece that explained not only what had happened, but how we felt about it. John was raised in South-East Asia and now lives in London
John Lanchester travels with a cast of characters - including reckless banksters, snoozing regulators, complacent politicians, predatory lenders, credit-drunk spendthrifts, and innocent bystanders to understand deeply and genuinely what is happening and why we feel the way we do.