Witty, gritty and wise, a brilliant novelist takes on the world's economic meltdown in a book that will define the crisis. The wildest story in the world these days is not fiction, it's what's really happening all around us as the world's global economy has gone into freefall. How did we get here? What does it all mean? How could so many smart people be so dumb and believe their own hype? Accessibly, cleverly, and with mordant humour, Lanchester trots the globe in search of the answers to these questions — to Iceland, the scene of catastrophic bank collapse, to Hong Kong, the city of his birth built at the altar of free-market capitalism, to the high-stakes leveraging of Wall Street and to the tragedy of lost homes in small-town America. And in his capable hands, we see and understand what went wrong and why. Lanchester believes that this crisis gives us an opportunity to bring about much-needed change and that a stonger and more compassionate system can emerge from the wreckage. This is the book that people will still be reading a generation from now, as we read Galbraith's brilliant analysis of the Great Depression.