May 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm (By Maxwell James)

For those with time on their hands: the Edmund Andrews story, which I linked to a little over a week ago, has gotten even more interesting (hat tip to Randy). First, Megan McArdle noted an important omission from his story: his wife had filed for bankruptcy twice before, including as late as 2007. She also argued that his book, more so than the Times’ article I linked to, attempts to place the blame for their troubles more squarely on the shoulders of the mortgage industry.

Andrews and The New York Times ombudsman responded; you can read Brad DeLong and Maguire return the volley with a dose of invective. McArdle considers Andrews’ explanation here. Meanwhile, early reviews of his book at Amazon are pretty negative.

Also: for those still following the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, the head of the NCEO clarifies that the equity shares granted to UAW do not in fact constitute employee ownership. I’m glad for the clarification.

~ Maxwell


  1. amba12 said,

    Wow!! Go Megan! Just reading the “most informative negative review” at Amazon makes me go:

    “I married my dream girl/ I married my dream girl/ But she didn’t tell me/ Her credit was bad…”

    But that was a twentysomething!!

  2. amba12 said,

    Actually I’m in no position to throw stones: interlocking dysfunctions and weirdness in J’s and my relationship also resulted in our getting into a lot of debt, although not in that league.

    Wanna write a book about credit cards with me? You do the history, I’ll do the oral history? Here’s another story about the forthcoming law.

  3. Maxwell said,

    Sure, but only if we can sell it as a serial ;-)

    Ditto on McArdle, but I still have some sympathy for Andrews. It strikes me as likely that he intended the story to be mainly a portrait of his own mistakes, but his publisher convinced him to try and add some populist diatribe to the mix in the hope of increasing sales. The accusations that he’s just trying to cash in, a la Maguire, strike me as a rather cruel example of piling on. If that was all he really wanted to do, he could have admitted far less than was even included in the NYT article. His story is not that of an Everyman, but it is still valuable nonetheless.

  4. Ennui said,

    The view from the cheap(skate) seats: Based on the times article, I felt no sympathy whatsoever for this fellow and his new (“How dare you remind me that we’ve become desperate debtors – on my birthday!”) wife. The revelation of his wife’s previous bankruptcies (and the apparent failure to disclose them to either the mortgage companies or his readers) only hardens my heart the moreso.

    If he had tried to start a business and it failed, it’d be a different story for me. As it is, these people come across (between the lines) as clever, nasty children (clever enough to realize that going on the “Oprah Circuit” is comparatively easy way to go around what most people have to go through). He may as well have entitled his book “A Million Little Dollars.”

    This, as I say, is the view from the cheap seats where we screw up (early and often) in mute anonymity. There are stories of failure worth telling, but this guy aint Fitzcarraldo.

  5. Ron said,

    This is exactly the kind of story that fuels populism. It was the arrogance of their beliefs that’s worse than their bad financial management, which is bad enough!

  6. wj said,

    The next time I hear some politically-inclined person ranting about the perils of the “entitlement mentality,” I will have a whole different image in my head than what he will doubtless be intending.

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