Books for Understanding the Economic Crisis

Well, on the news that European governments are jumping in to help their banks continue lending to each other, markets seem to be showing some signs of regaining confidence today. We’ll see how long it holds. For the past couple of weeks — and no doubt for some time still to come — we’ve seen what large scale economic crisis actually looks like.

The Association of American University Presses occasionally compiles lists of books published by member presses that offer insight into a particular moment in history as it’s happening. “Books for Understanding” lists have grown around topics such as global climate change, immigration, September 11, Iraq, and dozens of other news-making issues. The latest Books for Understanding list addresses the financial crisis.

Announcing this new list, the AAUP said:

As the extent of the financial crisis has grown clear, there have been several announcements of book proposals and forthcoming books that will look at current market events. For incisive, in-depth understanding of what has brought us to this point, however, there is no need to wait. The member publishers of the Association of American University Presses have in print scholarly works for both general and specialist audiences that illuminate the roots of the current situation, and offer potent analysis of regulatory and market solutions.

In “Books for Understanding: The Financial Crisis,” readers, journalists, librarians, policy makers, and teachers will find information and knowledge they can use today to help understand global financial events.

The New York Times has already posted a link to the AAUP list. One could spend all the money stuffed under one’s mattress to buy up all the books on the list, but they’ve broken the list into categories (Wall Street & Financial Markets, Financial Panics & Market Crises, Market Regulation, and Business Ethics) so you can sort through and find what interests you most.

UNC Press has a couple of books on the list. One is Panic!: Markets, Crises, and Crowds in American Fiction, by David A. Zimmerman, which I blogged about in July. The other UNCP book on the list is a history of the institution now known as Bank of America, which is currently in the position of acquiring other struggling institutions (Countrywide, Merrill Lynch). The Story of NationsBank: Changing the Face of American Banking, by Howard E. Covington Jr. and Marion A. Ellis, tells the history of the Charlotte-based bank whose leaders prioritized competition.