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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2009
  • ISBN: 9781847940094
  • Imprint: Random House Business
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $27.99

The Crunch

How Greed and Incompetence Sparked the Credit Crisis

Formats & editions

The first book to take the lid off the events surrounding the collapse of Northern Rock and the onset of the credit crisis – now specially updated for the new mass market edition

On 9 August 2007 France's largest bank announced that it had had to suspend trading in two huge investment funds it controlled. The same day three German banks revealed that they were close to collapse. A few days later came the first run on a British bank since the 1860s as vast queues of worried investors besieged Northern Rock. Within weeks, the Government were being forced to bail out this previously little-known bank to the tune of £30 billion, share prices in other mortgage lenders were plummeting, and alarming news about the state of several of the biggest US banks was crossing the Atlantic. What lay behind this series of crippling disasters?
n The Crunch, award-winning journalist Alex Brummer painstakingly traces the course of the crisis from its origins in the US 'subprime' market to its explosion on to the international scene. It's a story of greed, mismanagement and dithering in which bankers seeking to make a quick buck, regulators engaged in turf wars and blame-avoidance, and governments paralysed by the sheer scale of the problem all conspired to bring the banking system almost to its knees. It's also a story of victims: the millions of people in the US who have already been thrown out of their houses, the entire population of the UK who have been co-opted to guarantee Northern Rock with £30 billion of public money, borrowers everywhere who are now finding credit more expensive and harder to get. And, as Alex Brummer convincingly argues, now that recession looms, this is only the beginning.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2009
  • ISBN: 9781847940094
  • Imprint: Random House Business
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Alex Brummer

Alex Brummer is one of the UK's leading financial journalists and commentators. After a long and successful stint at the Guardian he moved to be City Editor at the Daily Mail in 2000. He has won prizes both as a foreign correspondent and economics writer. Awards received include Business Journalist of the Year 2006, Newspaper Journalist 2002 and Best City Journalist 2000. His books include Hanson: A Biography (Fourth Estate 1994), Weinstock: The Life and Times of Britain's Premier Industrialist (HarperCollins 1998), The Crunch (Random House 2008) and Britain for Sale (Random House 2012).

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Praise for The Crunch

“A compelling and clear narrative about the financial crisis and its implications.”

City AM

“Brummer builds a racy transatlantic narrative out of the crisis ...”


“... he brings a journalist's relish to his task of revealing everything you wanted to know about the credit crunch but were too affraid to ask ... reads like a thriller - except that order is not restored on the final page.”


“This is the roller-coaster version of events - and a surprisingly entertaining book about an otherwise dreary subject ... timely and interesting”

New Statesman

“... a handy first draft of history.”


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