Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Unlike other recent books dealing with the US and worldwide financial conditions, this book does not go to great lengths describing the problem, seeking out culprits, assigning blame, prescribing punishments, and then concluding with afterthought proposals to fix the situation. In this slim volume, Shiller (economics, Yale Univ.; best-selling author, e.g., Irrational Exuberance, CH, Jul'00, 37-6377; and one of the originators of the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices) not only describes the problem but also places equal emphasis on various proposals to correct it. Rather than viewing the subprime meltdown and credit contraction as a handwringing crisis, he sees it as an opportunity to initiate institutional reforms that will ensure against repeat failures and extend opportunities for home ownership. He divides his proposals into two categories: short and long term. Short-term corrective actions entail bailouts to ameliorate the damage and keep it from spreading--all at a cost to long-suffering taxpayers. Long-term solutions involve fundamental institutional reforms borrowed from lessons learned during the 1930s that make credit available to prospective home buyers, that use information technology, and that establish new financial surveillance mechanisms. An important, timely book. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduate through professional audiences. E. L. Whalen formerly, Clarke College